Central’s Lucy-Speidel runs for a win

Central's Sawyer Lucy-Speidel takes the lead during the Conference 35 cross country meet at Woodstock on Thursday. Lucy-Spiedel won the meet and led the Central team with the win. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Another race, a different Central runner at the front.

That’s the way it’s gone this year for the Falcons. Central sophomore Sawyer Lucy-Speidel took his turn at the top for the Falcons on Thursday as he won the Conference 35 boys cross country meet held at Central’s North Street Course.

Lucy-Speidel helped lead the Falcons to a dominating team win with 27 points, 33 points ahead of second-place Clarke County.

“At the beginning I had my teammates around me – Wyatt (Robinson), Thomas (Gilmore), Gus (Wightman), Ivan (Alvarado) and that really helped me at the beginning of the race,” Lucy-Speidel said. “I just tried to stick with the top two guys, and at the end I guess I got it.”

Lucy-Speidel said his goal at the beginning of the season was to break 17 minutes and he did that on Thursday with a time of 16:31.

Central's Lexi Keller runs along this section of the Conference 35 cross country meet Thursday afternoon in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

Just two weeks ago in the Bull Run District meet it was Robinson leading the way for the Falcons, and for most of the regular season it’s been freshman Gilmore at the front.

Lucy-Speidel said that the team really pushes each other and that helps make everyone better. He said it felt great to win the conference title.

“I feel like we definitely deserved this,” Lucy-Speidel said. “We definitely worked hard as a team. Our goal is to keep getting better and better together as a team.”

Robinson finished fifth in a time of 16:56, while Gilmore was sixth in 17:01, Wightman was seventh in 17:02 and Alvarado was eighth in 17:04. The top five were separated by only 33 seconds and only seven spots.

“At the beginning of the year just looking at all of our runners we knew we were going to be great,” Robinson said. “But looking at our placing and what we just got today – it’s great. We never thought we would be this strong.”

Central's Thomas Gilmore, left, Gus Wightman, center, and Ivan Alvarado, right, approach the finish line during the Conference 35 cross country meet last year. The Falcons finished second in the Group 2A state meet last year, and return four of their top five runners. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Strasburg finished fourth as a team with 83 points. Junior Logan Smalls led the way with a ninth-place finish in a time of 17:07. His teammate Ryan Davis was 10th with a time of 17:18. Strasburg’s Kyle Tiemeyer placed 13th in a time of 17:35.

“It’s only a three mile course, but this is our third time running it,” Smalls said. “We knew all the turns and hills. We wanted to come out here and beat Central, but they are a good team. My goal was to beat Ryan (Davis). It took a lot out of me. … I just want to go to regionals.”

The top four teams and top 15 overall individuals advance to next week’s Region 2A East meet held at Panorama Farms in Earlysville.

Both Central and Strasburg advanced in the girls meet as well. Central placed third with 88 points, while Strasburg was fourth with 103 points.

Central senior Lexi Keller placed seventh overall with a time of 20:00.

Central's Wyatt Robinson heads to the finish line during the Conference 35 cross country meet last week in Woodstock. The Falcons won the meet, and will be one of the many area teams vying for a state berth in regionals this week. Rich Cooley/Daily file

“It was definitely perfect weather to be running my last home race,” Keller said. “It’s hard to think that this is my last home race. I think I finished in a good place. I’m happy with my time, and I’m happy with how my team did.”

Strasburg was led by the trio of Caroline Miller (13th, 20:47), Grace Dellinger (14th, 20:48) and Rachel Palmer (15th, 20:48).

“Those three girls train together,” Strasburg assistant coach Alicia Smith said. “They all run together. They all do everything together. So we expected the three of them to kind of battle it out. I think it’s really good to work together just as a team. They did really well.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

Strasburg's Logan Smalls and teammate Ryan Davis run along this stretch of the Conference 35 cross country meet Thursday in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg's Rachel Palmer, left, and Grace Dellinger, right, run to the finish line during the Conference 35 cross country meet in Woodstock on Thursday. Miller placed 13th and Dellinger 14th. Rich Cooley/Daily