Local teams, individuals excited for state cross country meet

Madison's Zach McLearen edges out Central's Chase Rimel at the finish line by one second placing 13th and 14th respectively during the Bull Run District Cross Country meet on Oct. 12 in Woodstock. The Falcons will be running in the state cross country meet today at Great Meadow in The Plains. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Central and Stonewall Jackson have high hopes for their teams in today’s Cross Country State Championships held at the Great Meadow course in The Plains.

Central’s boys team is trying to duplicate what it accomplished last year when it finished second in the Group 2A boys race. The Falcons finished second last week in the Region 2A East meet to defending state champion Maggie Walker Governor’s School. The Falcons topped rival Wilson Memorial by 17 points for second last week.

“Maggie Walker certainly probably has themselves set in first place there,” Central coach Melissa Wright said. “So I think there’s definitely some teams coming out of the west that we have our eye on as well as Wilson Memorial. I’m sure they’ve been watching us all year and wouldn’t mind beating us here at the end. I feel pretty confident with our boys. They’re strong and it seems like they have their head in the game here.”

Stonewall Jackson’s girls team finished third in the Region 1A East meet last week, led by the top two finishers in the race senior Brandy Webb and junior LuLu Funkhouser.

The Generals placed fifth in the state meet last year, and coach Mary Clanahan said that she feels good about what they can do today.

“I would expect that if the fans are coming to our meet they should expect to see something good happen,” Clanahan said. “I would expect something good, and if it finishes the way it has the past couple weeks good things are going to happen for our young ladies.”

Central’s boys and Stonewall’s girls teams are the only local teams in the state meet, but there will be plenty of individuals racing.

Skyline’s tandem of sophomore Carrie Hotek and freshman Sabrina Wilkins will be racing in the Group 3A girls race, which starts things off at 10:30 a.m. Hotek was third in the Region 3A East meet, while Wilkins was 10th.

Warren County’s Bailey Grant will be running in the Group 3A boys race. He finished 16th in the Region 3A East boys race. The Group 3A boys race will start at 11:15 a.m.

The Group 2A girls race will start at 11:45 a.m. Strasburg’s trio of Rachel Palmer and sisters Grace and Hannah Dellinger and Central’s Olivia Wightman will all be running in the race.

The quartet all finished close together in the Region 2A East meet with Grace Dellinger placing 21st, followed by Palmer (25th), Hannah Dellinger (26th) and Wightman (30th).

Central’s boys team will be joined by Strasburg’s Ryan Davis in the Group 2A boys race, which starts at 12:30 p.m. Davis finished 30th in the Region 2A boys meet.

The Group 1A girls race will start at 1 p.m., followed by the Group 1A boys race at 1:45 p.m. Stonewall Jackson seniors Kaelan Sorrells and Mark Keith will race in the Group 1A boys race. Sorrells finished 20th in the Region 1A East meet, while Keith was 27th.

The top 15 runners in each race earn all-state honors and receive a medal.

Clanahan said she feels good not only about how the team will do but also Webb and Funkhouser individually.

“Brandy every year has improved on her mark of finish, and I know what her goal is this year,” Clanahan said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be No. 1 but it’s to be up on that platform. And when you look at the stats I think the general public will see Brandy Webb up on that platform this year.”

Central’s top three boys runners, Mason Lucy-Speidel, Gus Wightman and Sawyer Lucy-Speidel all earned all-region honors, and Wright said she thinks they all have a shot at make all-state as well.

“I’d like to see all three of them standing up there at the end of the day, and I think it’s very possible,” Wright said. “Last year (Central graduate) Lexi (Keller) was 14th in our region and ended up 12th in the state.”

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