Falcons place second in Group 2A cross country state meet

Gus Wightman

THE PLAINS – Central did it again.

For the second straight year the Central boys cross country team placed second in the Group 2A State Cross Country Championships on Friday at the Great Meadow 5K course.

“We are so proud of these young men,” Central coach Melissa Wright said. “They have continued to do well. They’re outstanding runners, but more important they’re outstanding young men and we’re very proud to be associated with them. They had a great day, and it’s what we hoped for. I think coming into it we knew we had a very strong possibility of being second. I don’t think they took it lightly during the week. They knew it was not a given. They had to earn it and respect the teams around them and try to make sure we beat the key people when we could.”

The Falcons finished second with 116 points, while Maggie Walker Governor’s School finished first with 82. Maggie Walker defeated Central last year as well, and has won four Group 2A boys state titles in a row. Central lost to Maggie Walker last year by 58 points and was able to close the gap this year to 34 points.

Central junior Gus Wightman led the way with an 11th-place finish in a time of 16:57.

Mason Lucy-Speidel

“I felt really good the whole entire race and just kept on moving up as the race went on,” Wightman said. “This is the best I’ve ever felt in a race.”

Wightman said that he got stronger as the race went on, and was able to pass some other runners. Going into the meet, one of his big goals was to make all-state, which is for the top 15 runners.

Wightman and Central junior Mason Lucy-Speidel (14th, 17:03) were both able to make all-state.

“It was a goal all season long, and I knew it was going to be hard to do,” Wightman said of making all-state. “That’s really satisfying to know that my hard work paid off this year and I got it.”

It was the first year running cross country for Lucy-Speidel, and he said he was very happy with how he performed at his first state meet.

“I was a little nervous, but that’s expected,” Lucy-Speidel said. “My goal was to make all-state. Two of the three guys that wanted to make all state did it, so we’re happy about that. It shows we’re strong overall as a team and some of us made it.”

Mason’s twin brother, Sawyer Lucy-Speidel was 28th in a time of 17:37. Strasburg’s Ryan Davis was 30th in a time of 17:45.

Central’s Jonathan Baker was 46th in a time of 18:15, while teammates Ivan Alvarado was 48th in 18:19, Chase Rimel was 52nd in 18:23 and Colin Bradley-Connolly was 71st in 18:56.

The Group 3A and 1A state meets were also held Friday at Great Meadow. Warren County’s Bailey Grant was 87th in a time of 18:27 in the boys 3A race.

Stonewall Jackson’s Kaelan Sorrells was 31st in a time of 18:06 and teammate Mark Keith was 77th in 19:46 in the boys 1A race.

James River’s William Miller won the Group 2A boys race in a time of 16:11.

Blacksburg won the 3A boys team title with 43 points. Abingdon’s Karl Thiessen won the individual 3A boys title in a time of 15:58.

Auburn won the 1A boys team championship with 37 points. Rappahannock County’s Gavin Jenkins won the 1A boys race crossing the finish line in 16:26

The Falcons had most of their runners back from last year and should return most of the team again next season. Sawyer Lucy-Speidel said that finishing second was a great accomplishment that the team is very proud of.

“That was really big for us, because coming into this meet we were worried about some of the other competition, especially Maggie Walker,” Sawyer Lucy-Speidel said. “We weren’t sure if we were going to get second again like we did last year, but this really showed us that all of the work that we put in was worth it in the end.”

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