Falcons finish second in boys 2A state meet
THE PLAINS — Central did not have any all-state runners to stand on the podium Saturday for the boys Group 2A cross country awards. However, they did step up on the podium to accept a second-place team trophy.
As has been the case all season Central’s depth led the way, as the Falcons finished second (97 points) to Maggie Walker (39).
“It’s the pack and it’s the team,” Central coach Melissa Wright said. “What’s unbelievable is not to have one kid all-state standing up there and come in second in the state. Truly a team effort today. That’s all you want and hope for as a coach.”
Central has been led at different times throughout the season by different runners throughout its top five, and it was no different in the state meet. Ivan Alvarado and Gus Wightman led the way on Saturday for the first time this season.
Wightman started off strong, and was the top runner for the Falcons for much of the race, but Alvarado eventually passed him and finished 18th (17:14).
“I knew this is the last race, so I pushed it really hard,” Alvarado said.
Wightman was not far behind in 24th (17:23).
“When I was running out there, the first mile, I got a little scared,” Wightman said. “I was telling myself I went out too hard, but I kept the pace going. I knew we’d all go hard because we were striving for that second place. I knew I needed to stay up there in the top group.”
Central’s top five runners were separated by only 14 seconds. Sophomores Sawyer Lucy-Speidel (27th, 17:26) and Thomas Gilmore (17:26) and senior Wyatt Robinson (29th, 17:28) finished off Central’s pack just two seconds apart.
“Our pack is so strong that when we look up we always see one another,” Robinson said. “It helps us so much just being that far up and so close together — it’s great.”
It was Central’s first state appearance as a team since 2012, and the Falcons made the most of their opportunity.
“We just all worked together and that’s one of the reasons why we’re so successful.” Wightman said. “We’re all proud of each other. We’re all family. This is just a great experience, something I’ll never forget. Hopefully, in the years to come, we improve that runner-up to a win.”
The Falcons will certainly have a chance to have more strong teams over the next few years as they have only one senior in the top five.
“I still believe that we can beat (Maggie Walker) in year to come, even though I’m a senior,” Robinson said.
Strasburg’s Ryan Davis placed 23rd (17:22) and his teammate Logan Smalls was 35th (17:42) in the 2A race.
Maggie Walker’s Ryan Buscaglia won the 2A boys individual title in a time of 16:21.
Stonewall Jackson’s boys team finished eighth with 211 points in the Group 1A meet.
The Generals were led by Kaelan Sorrells with a 38th-place finish (18:17).
Issac Blank (42nd, 18:21), Mark Keith (56th, 18:53), Hayden Kennedy (67th, 19:15) and Juan Jacuinde (76th, 19:38) were the rest of Stonewall’s top five.
It was the first time in 21 years Stonewall Jackson had qualified a team to the state meet, and coach Mary Clanahan said it was a great experience for her young team.
“They’re all young,” Clanahan said. “We had two seniors, one of them was our sixth man and the other was our No. 2 man. But the other ones were so young, and we know there’s some young guys coming in this coming fall.”
Auburn won the 1A team title with 49 points, while Auburn’s Trevor Dominy took the individual title with a time of 16:20.
Western Albemarle won the Group 3A boys state meet with 60 points, while Western Albemarle’s Gannon Willcutts won the individual title in a time of 15:35.
Skyline’s David Ricks placed 81st (18:02) in the Group 3A meet.
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org