Siblings shine at Central meet
WOODSTOCK – When it comes to Centrals’ boys’ and girls’ cross-country, it really is a family affair.
Central freshman girls’ runner Olivia Wightman won Wednesday’s seven-team meet at the 3-mile Wetzel Farm course off North Street in Woodstock.
With a time of 22:40, the Central standout ran with the girls group which started things off at 5 p.m. Wednesday, amid 90-degree temperatures, without much humidity.
The Falcon girls (51 points) finished in second place behind Luray (40) in the girls race, despite missing several finishers for training reasons.
However, Olivia Wightman was all too happy to root for her older brother, junior Gus Wightman, who finished fifth (17:39) in the boys’ race that followed.
Mason Lucy-Speidel, a former Falcon footballer, finished second in the boys’ race with a time of 17:15; Gus Wightman was fifth; Lucy-Speidel’s twin brother, Sawyer, claimed seventh (18:08). Then came Chase Rimel (8th, 18:17), Thomas Gilmore (10th overall) with a 18:45 clocking and Ivan Alvarado (12th, 18:50.18).
The Falcon boys finished first overall with 32 points; Luray (71) trailed second, followed by Madison County (78) and Rappahannock County (90).
Members of Massanutten Military Academy and Shenandoah Valley Academy’s young programs also participated.
“We really do like to promote our team as a family,” said coach Melissa Wright.
In more ways than one. Not only do several of the Falcons have sibling relationships, the boys team, at least, likes to run in packs. It promotes communication and lowers point totals (in cross-country low score) due to depth.
Olivia Wightman said she knew her brother would be just as excited as she was about her victory.
“He came up to me last night and said I could win,” she said.
Her brother said he looked up Mile-Stat, a website devoted to high-school running events, to size up his little sister’s competition on Wednesday.
“I told her there were like two or three girls listed who may run against her, but that I thought she had a pretty good chance against each one,” he said.
His sister had the Central girls’ best time at its invitational in late August, when she paced herself to a 22:27.01 on the North Street course.
At a recent meet at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, she finished 15th, but Wednesday was her first victory.
“I would think this would mean something for her confidence,” said Wright, “but she’s been running hard all along.”
Actually Wright and longtime assistant coach, Larry Bullock, introduced the Wightman siblings to a training regimen this summer which they both followed closely.
“She ran the course that our coaches provided,” Gus Wightman said. “It wasn’t as hard as the boys’ but it was plenty hard enough.”
Central’s Cameron Baker finished fourth in the girls’ race with a time of 24:12. Sasha Hoover was 10th at 25-minutes flat; Lander Barbour (26:29) came in 16th and Jennifer Moore finished 20th 26:54.85) on the girls’ side.
On the Falcons’ boys side, Mason Lucy-Speidel admitted that he and his brother run about anytime, anywhere, and have for a long time.
Officially, Mason Lucy-Speidel, who showed a sprinter’s kick on the final mile of the course, joined the boys’ track-and-field team in the spring of 2015.
According to Wright, Mason Lucy-Speidel started off in the sprints, but gradually expanded his role in the mile. He also ran a leg of the Falcons’ all-star boys 4X100 relay team.
“It feels good to be out for cross-country, I think I can help the team,” said Mason Lucy-Speidel, a junior at the Woodstock school.
Wright and Bullock preach togetherness and so the Falcon boys’ runners like to run in a clump.
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t break out,” said Gus Wightman, “look at Mason.”
While Mason Lucy-Speidel was 18 seconds off the winning pace-set by Gavin Jenkins of Rappahannock County High School (16:57)–Mason also finished some 11 seconds of third-place finisher Derrick Wood of Luray. He ran a 17:26 for third place.
Gus Wightman, at 5th, and Alvarado, at 12th, were just 11 seconds apart.
“I tried to push myself there at the end,” said Mason Lucy-Speidel.
Massanutten Military Academy and Shenandoah Valley Academy-both from the Woodstock area-are in the early stages of establishing their programs.
MMA coach Dave Strong saw three MMA girls finish between 21st (Heidi Davis, 27:01) and 36th (Valerie Pichot, 30:32.98.)
The Colonels’ boys were led by Gavin Gorecki, Christopher Lezoff, Christopher Kadon and Y. Yang, who finished 68th through 72nd respectively.
SVA coach Azariah Anderson saw boys Trystan Gammon (16th, 19:19), Eliezer Melendez (29th, 20:56) and 30th (Asher Ardron, 20:57) cross the finish line.
The Stars’ girls were led by Heidi Davis (21st, 27:01), Miranda Benton (35th, 30:32.79) and Valerie Pichot (37th, 30:32.98)