Warriors sweep Stonewall Invitational

NEW MARKET –Sherando senior Trevor Whiteside won his first cross country championship Saturday at the 18th annual Stonewall Jackson High School Invitational cross country meet at the New Market Battlefield course. He did so with a record-setting time of 16:55.53, which topped the previous mark of 17:18 set in 2007

That clocking put him ahead of the next runner by about 12 seconds, but it was the team which helped him get there.

“Thomas Shea and Tom Powars ran with me for the first mile or so. That’s not something (they) often do, but it helped today. They kept pushing me for the first mile,” said Whiteside after he had embraced his father after finishing the race.

Then it was a one-on-one competition with Harrisonburg’s Abrham Amine (17:07.93) who won the race in 2014.

“My coach told me to head out in the first mile and see where everyone was. After that he told me to just starting picking people off. I passed him in the woods on our last time around and then I had plenty left to finish,” said Whiteside.

“He’s an 800-meter man so we know he has a kick, but the idea is to run the race quickly the whole way,” said Sherando coach Jamie McCarty. “Even after he left Shea and Powars, the remainder of the Sherando team heralded his close.

“They’re great about that, they’ll say somebody is closing whether they are or not,” said Whiteside.

It’s all part of McCarty’s plan.

“Competition is built within the team. We have girls and guys switching in and switching out. Sometimes you’ll be a four, then a two, then a four (in order of starting). It doesn’t matter. So when we get out here, it’s not a matter of ‘you did better than me or ‘I did better than you,’ it’s all for the team,” said the Sherando coach.

Shea finished fourth in a time of 17:36.67, while Powars was fifth in 17:45.03.

The Warriors won the overall team trophy in boys and girls races, both teams defending their crowns from 2014. Five of the top 11 Blue Division (big school) boys’ participants were Warriors.

On the girls’ side, a freshman was drawing attention for Sherando.

Camryn Ubert, who also won her first race (20:14.16). Unlike Whiteside, Powers and Shea, who have run together for three years, this was just Ubert’s third varsity race in her lifetime.

The freshman also won her race by about 17 seconds.

“I went out as strong as I could and then just tried to continue the pace,” said Ubert.

Other Sherando girls to finish highly were Victoria Reese (3rd, 21:07.51), freshman Olivia Couillard (4th, 21:12.34) Paige Conner (6th, 21:25.98) and Gillian Liedke (9th, 22:20.67). That meant five of the top 11 “Blue” girls were from the Stephens City school.

McCarty has a good blend of youth and experience on his girls’ team.

“All the girls have taken in our freshmen. It’s part of our team thing. We have long range goals, but it will take everybody to accomplish them. Our girls — and boys–know that,” said McCarty.

The race, under cloudy skies, was divided among the some 30 participating schools between Blue and Grey Divisions. The Blues came from the larger schools such as 4A Sherando; the “Greys” represented smaller schools such as Strasburg, Central and host Stonewall Jackson.

The Falcons’ boys finished first in the Grey section with Wyatt Robinson ending in 5th place (18:24). Central has finished first in the Eastern Mennonite and its own invitational thus far.

In the girls Grey race, Stonewall Jackson finished fourth (123) behind Brandy Webb’s 22:46.96 clocking (13th). Two-time state qualifier Lexi Keller (10th) led the Falcon girls to fifth place with a 22:31.72 time.

Strasburg (6th, 163) and Stonewall (8th, 203) also competed in the boys’ Grey Division. The Rams’ Ryan Davis finished 8th (18:35.62). Kaelen Sorrells was 27th among the Greys (19:36.39) for the Generals.

“It’s good for our runners to host this meet on their home course. It gives them a good feeling about where they run,” said Stonewall Jackson coach Mary Clanahan.