Area teams ready for state cross country meet

Four local teams finished in the top three at regionals last week, giving them plenty of reasons to feel good about this weekend’s state cross country meets at Great Meadows in The Plains.

One of those teams is Stonewall Jackson. The Generals are sending both the boys and the girls to the state meet and will race in the Group 1A meet at 10:30 (girls) and 11:15 (boys). Stonewall Jackson’s girls team placed second in the Region 1A East meet last week, while the boys were fourth. It’s the first time in 21 years the boys have qualified and the first time in 10 years for the girls.

“This is an extremely exciting time for the Stonewall community,” Stonewall Jackson coach Mary Clanahan said. “… This group of student-athletes set out together to achieve a goal. After the girls missed making the state meet by two points and we only sent three individuals, Brandy Webb, Lulu Funkhouser and Pedro Jacuinde to the state meet in 2014. They expressed to the coaching staff and their teammates that the ride is no fun without the rest of the team, and they didn’t want to return to Great Meadows again without them. Words were not taken lightly, and results have happened.”

The girls team, which finished second behind Mathews, was led by two top-10 finishes at regionals. Webb placed second in a time of 22:00, while Funkhouser was eighth in a time of 22:44. Isaac Blank led the boys team with a 14th-place finish (18:28).

Central’s boys team has been dominant all season, but came up short to defending state champion Maggie Walker in last week’s Region 2A East meet. Sophomore Thomas Gilmore led the way, finishing 13th in a time of 17:49.

“Our hope is that the boys will run their best race of the year,” Central coach Melissa Wright said of the state meet. “They should run well on the state course. It is well suited for our team. Currently we are ranked third behind Maggie Walker and Floyd. I believe they can run better than we did at the Regional meet, and have a good chance to beat Floyd and close the gap on Maggie Walker.”

Central’s girls finished sixth in the region, and were led by senior Lexi Keller. She finished 14th in a time of 20:49.

The girls Group 2A race will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the boys at 1:45 p.m.

Sherando’s boys team placed second in the Region 4A East meet last week, behind powerhouse Loudoun Valley. Sherando was led by senior Trevor Whiteside, who finished eighth in a time of 16:43.

Sherando coach Jamie McCarty said there will be lots of competition out of Loudoun Valley in the Group 4A state meet.

“Second to fifth – it’s going to be a long jam. There’s Midlothian and Grafton out of the East are really strong,” McCarty said. “We finished second, but we had Fauquier and Freedom right on our heels. It’s that thing where one good race by one of their guys and one bad race by somebody and you could go from second to fourth in the blink of an eye, especially on that last straightaway.”

Sherando’s girls squad also qualified for the state meet by placing sixth in the regional meet. The Warriors were led by sophomore Paige Conner, who placed 21st in a time of 20:38.

The Group 4A state meet will be held Friday with the girls race at 10:30 a.m. and the boys race at 11:15 a.m.

Warren County’s girls team qualified for the Group 3A state meet by placing third in the Region 3A East meet last week. The Wildcats finished behind Brentsville and Tabb.

The Wildcats were led by sophomore Jacqui Ris, who placed seventh in a time of 21:21, freshman Carlene Viers (13th, 22:14) and senior Claire Morrow (15th, 22:23).

The Group 3A girls meet will be held Saturday at 11:45 a.m., followed by the boys meet at 12:15 p.m.

Skyline’s David Ricks will be the lone local participant in the Group 3A boys race.

Strasburg didn’t qualify for either team this season, but the Rams will have four individuals running in the Group 2A races.

Junior Ryan Davis placed seventh in the regional meet in a time of 17:22, and he will be joined at the state meet by teammate Logan Smalls. On the girls side, senior Caroline Miller and sophomore Grace Dellinger qualified for the state meet.

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