Skyline girls, Central boys bring home invitational hardware
WOODSTOCK – Sometimes it seems like runners are almost falling out of the sky for Skyline High School coach Rodger Seemiller.
Seemiller helps out with coaching sprinters during spring outdoor track and this fall takes over as the head coach of the Hawks’ cross-country team.
And, yet, it seems like Seemiller is blessed with standout athletes who can race wherever he goes.
A couple of year ago, along came Olivia McGill, who as a youngster, sprinted onto the outdoor track in 2014 and started breaking records from almost the first time since she dipped her track cleats into the competitive pool.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, McGill has moved to Battlefield High School and no longer runs for Skyline.
But into her place come another couple of young women runners – this time on the cross-country side.
Sophomore Carrie Hotek took first place individually Saturday at the annual Central High School Cross-Country invitational at the three-mile North Street course.
Hotek, who had never run cross-country until this year, clipped along at a 19:25, clocking to finished six seconds ahead of Clarke County High School’s Madison Webster (19:31), who finished runnerup.
Meanwhile Hotek teammate and fellow neophyte-to-the-varsity-cross-country-game is Sabrina Wilkins. The Skyline freshman, something of a known quantity in local middle school competition, finished fifth overall among the girls. Her time was 20:48.
“I had played other sports before but I had never run until last spring.,” Hotek said.
Home-schooled, Hotek came out for spring track “because I’ve always liked to run,” she said.
She finished as a member of the school’s 4X100 relay team. She qualified for the Group 3A state meet in the relay and the 800.
“She ran No. 1 on the relay and her job was to hand over the baton to Olivia and then Olivia would zoom,” Seemiller said. “But Carrie did a good job of getting there first. She was good at that.”
“I was completely surprised by this meet,” she said.
Also jolted was Wilkins. “I thought maybe I could finish 20th,” she said. Wilkins was a middle-school distance phenomenon.
On the boy’s side, veteran David Ricks finished highest among the some-70 varsity competitors.
Ricks finished fourth with a time of 17:08.
“I didn’t feel so well out there. It was hot,” said Ricks.
Temperatures hovered in the 90s throughout the four-hour event, which was organized by Central boys and girls cross-country coach Melissa Wright and prominent members of the school’s administration, parents and volunteers. The races started at 9:30 a.m.
There was a breeze and also cool spots along the trek because of shade.
Ricks crossed the line just ahead of Central’s Thomas Gilmore and Gus Wightman.
Gilmore finished fifth at 17:36 and Wightman came in sixth with a time of 17:38.
Central’s boys team finished second overall at last fall’s Group 2A state track meet and Gilmore said he welcomed the challenge.
“Last year when we all went to states it was the first time and everything. I think now we know a little more, so we’ll be ready for the competition,” Gilmore said.
Central’s boys’ team and Stonewall Jackson’s girls’ teams were performing without certain individuals for a variety of reasons. The Generals’ team only ran individually.
Hayden Kennedy was the first Stoneway boy to cross the finish line with a time of 19:42, good enough for 39th place. The top-finishing girl was Susannah Garber (23: 46), which would have placed her at 40th had the team competed for a group score.
Warren County boys’ team finished sixth as a group. The girls’ team finished fifth.
“I thought the boys really performed well. I’m proud of them,” said Wright.
Riverside won the boys’ side of the invitational with 27 points; Harrisonburg was next with 31 points, then came Central (42), Strasburg (52), Skyline (57) and Clarke County (58).
Riverside also claimed the girls’ race with a low total of 23 points. Clarke was second with 31 tallies; Harrisonburg came in third (32). Then came Kettle Run (33) Warren County (41), Skyline (47) and Strasburg. The Rams’ 51 scores put them ahead of Central (44), which finished eighth.
Leading the Rams’ girls’ contingent was Rachel Palmer (21:51, 17th).
Other local individuals who fared well were Jacqui Ris of Warren County – who timed out in 20:53 good enough for seventh place among the girls, and Kiersten Tanner, also of Warren, who finished 11th with a count of 21:09.72.
On the boys’ side, Warren County’s D.J. Staton finished ninth overall with a time of 17:46.84. Strasburg’s Ryan Davis finished 12th at 17:54; Falcon Ivan Alvarado, 14th, 18:03.28. Ram Logan Smalls finished 15th (18:03.28).
The first 15 individuals in each gender race were announced, along with the team awards. Trophies and medals were handed out.
Jim Laise may be contacted at email@example.com.