Cross country teams vying for state berths at regionals

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

Area cross country teams will be gunning for state berths this week as they participate in regional meets, and many of them have good reason to be optimistic about their chances.

The top six teams in each region qualify for next weekend’s state meets. There will be region meets held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Stonewall Jackson’s girls know all too well how tough it can be to come up short of a state berth. The Generals came up two points short of a group 2A berth last year. This year they are in Group 1A and will be running Tuesday in the Region 1A East meet at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, the same course they ran regionals at last year.

“They’re going to go in and they’re going to do what they have to do,” Stonewall Jackson coach Mary Clanahan said. “We have looked at things on paper, and we know that Mathews is coming in from across the state. Mathews is a very fast team, but its Panorama and anything can happen at Panorama just like it can at Great Meadows.”

Stonewall Jackson won the Conference 44 meet on the girls side and Brandy Webb won the meet individually with a time of 22:53. The Generals placed third in the boys meet last week led by Kaelan Sorrells (Eighth, 19:32).

The Generals haven’t advanced to states as a team on the girls side since 2005, and it’s been since 1994 since the boys have made it to states.

Warren County’s girls will also be running on Tuesday in the Region 3A East meet held at Culpeper High School.

Warren County’s girls finished second in the Conference 28 meet. Sophomore Jacqui Ris placed fifth (20:54) while senior Claire Morrow was 12th (21:48) and freshman Rebecca Ranney 14th (21:58). Skyline junior David Ricks was eighth (17:57) in the boys race.

On Wednesday, Strasburg and Central will run in the Region 2A East meet. Central’s boys won the Conference 35 meet last week, and have looked strong all season.

However, the Falcons will have tough competition on Wednesday at Panorama Farms against defending state champion Maggie Walker.

“Regionals were aiming for first. You’re always aiming for first,” Central senior Wyatt Robinson said. “Maggie Walker’s going to be there, so it’s going to push us.”

Sophomore Sawyer Lucy-Speidel won the Conference 35 meet individually with a time of 16:31. The Falcons top five of Lucy-Speidel, Robinson (fifth, 16:56), Thomas Gilmore (sixth, 17:01), Gus Wightman (seventh, 17:02) and Ivan Alvarado (eighth, 17:04) were separated by only 33 seconds. On any given day any of the top five can lead the way for Central, which is part of what has made the Falcons such a strong team.

Central’s girls placed third in the Conference 35 meet, led by senior Lexi Keller (seventh, 20:00).

Strasburg was fourth in both the boys and girls meet. Each team had a strong trio, which finished in the top 15. Logan Smalls (ninth, 17:07) led the boys team along with Ryan Davis (10th, 17:18) and Kyle Tiemeyer (13th, 17:35). Caroline Miller led the girls (13th, 20:47), followed by Grace Dellinger (14th, 20:48) and Rachel Palmer (15th, 20:48).

Sherando will compete in the Region 4A West meet on Thursday in Bassett. The Warriors won the boys meet in Conference 21A West last week. Trevor Whiteside led the way by placing third in the meet with a time of 16:38. Thomas Shea (ninth, 17:10) and Hayden Williams (11th, 17:20) also placed in the top 15.

“We were very pleased to be able to win the Conference 21A West meet, but we know that our performance in some areas was a little off,” Sherando coach Jamie McCarty said. “We know going forward that we are going to have to be much better, and pick off a few people that beat us last week, and have a few people that were not at their best be much better this week.”

Sherando was third in the girls meet with three freshman and one sophomore leading the way. Freshmen Olivia Couillard and Camryn Ubert placed seventh (20:31) and 11th (20:34), respectively.

“We didn’t race as well as we would have hoped, but your going to get that with a young team,” McCarty said. “We know that the girls are very talented, and we have set a goal of making the top six. But also know that we are going to have to bring a much more complete race than we did last week. The team battle from fifth to eighth will be very tight.”

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