Webb, Funkhouser finish 1-2 for Generals in regional meet
EARLYSVILLE — Stonewall Jackson cross country coach Mary Clanahan saw a nice sight as she watched the first runners finishing the race — Stonewall Jackson’s Brandy Webb and LuLu Funkhouser in a battle for first place.
Webb held off Funkhouser at the finish to win the Region 1A East girls cross country meet by four seconds on Tuesday at the Panorama Farms 5K course.
“It feels good,” Webb said. “Me and LuLu kept pace. I was like I’m going to set pace with her. We set a really good pace at (the) conference (44 meet last week). So we wanted to do that again to maximize our chances of doing good.”
The plan worked. Webb finished in a time of 20:39, while Funkhouser finished in 20:43.
The duo helped the Generals finish third as a team to qualify for next weekend’s Group 1A state meet at Great Meadows in The Plains.
Webb and Funkhouser were in third and fourth for a good bit of the race behind Rappahannock County’s Skylar Culbertson and Northumberland’s Rain Eguiguren. With a little over a half mile left the Stonewall pair passed them.
“Honestly, I didn’t think we were going to catch them at all,” Funkhouser said. “They were so far ahead of us at the front, and then slowly we got them. They came up that hill. We noticed they were going a little slower and that was our chance to pick them up.”
Webb and Funkhouser traded the lead over the last half mile before Webb was able to build a slight lead and hang on.
“There’s a hill back in the back and I passed her going up the hill, and I was like ‘come on girl, let’s go,'” Funkhouser said. “Then we started to go and I was like ‘oh she’s got me on this flat.’ Then slowly I was inching toward her I just wish the race was a little longer.”
Stonewall Jackson finished seventh in the boys meet, just one spot short of clinching a state berth. The top six teams and the top 10 individuals not on one of the six qualifying teams advance to the state meet.
Stonewall Jackson’s Kaelan Sorrells finished 20th in 18:12, and teammate Tristen Williams was 21st in 18:13 to qualify for the state meet. Teammate Mark Keith also qualified by placing 27th in 18:30.
“It was a pretty good course,” Sorrells said. “It started off pretty fast, and then you just go back like to your own pace. Once you get to the finish line stretch you sprint to see who wants it most.”
Sorrells just edged out Williams at the finish line. Williams, a freshman said his main goal was just to stay with Sorrells as much as possible.
“He started out in front of me for a while,” Williams said. “Then I saw that he was in front of me by a bit, so I told myself I needed to go catch him, get up with him because that’s what our team has to do.”
Williams said he will not be running in the state meet because he will be at a ski academy in New Hampshire for the next two or three months, starting next week.
Clanahan said even though the boys team didn’t qualify she was very happy with how the team did.
“We got two seniors going and what a way to end your senior year,” Clanahan said.
The boys race was won by Rappahannock County’s Gavin Jenkins in a time of 16:07. Luray won the boys meet as a team with 70 points, followed by Mathews (104) and Altavista (106). The Generals finished with 144 points.
Mathews won the girls meet as a team with 67 points, followed by Northumberland (73) and Stonewall Jackson (84).
Stonewall Jackson’s Susannah Garber was 21st in a time of 22:54 and teammate J.J. Dellinger was 26th in a time of 23:19.
Webb said it’s nice to be going as a team, where the Generals finished fifth in the state meet last year.
“That’s a good feeling,” Webb said. “I’ve been wanting to go as a team since freshman year. Got it last year, but I want to have it again.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org