Athlete of the Week: Stonewall Jackson’s Funkhouser having strong senior year

LuLu Funkhouser

QUICKSBURG — LuLu Funkhouser is trying to finish her standout girls cross country career in style.

The Stonewall Jackson senior had one of her best performances of the year last week as she finished second in the Region 1B championships held at Panorama Farms in Earlysville.

“What else would you expect out of LuLu Funkhouser? Stonewall Jackson coach Mary Clanahan said. “We don’t expect anything but a Funkhouser performance and she did exactly that.”

Funkhouser, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 30-Nov. 5, said she started off slower than she would have liked, but by the start of the third mile had moved into second place.

Funkhouser finished second in the three-mile race with a time of 21:21.

It was the second straight year she finished second in the region. Funkhouser said she really likes the course at Panorama Farms, which she said is similar to Stonewall Jackson’s home course at New Market Battlefield.

“It’s great,” Funkhouser said. “It’s exactly like our battlefield (course). We have our hills. We have a rolling field. It’s identical almost — such an advantage.”

Not only did Funkhouser finish second in the Region 1B championships, but the team won the regional title. The Generals finished with 47 points, topping Rappahannock County by 15 points.

It was the first time in numerous years that the Generals had won a regional girls title. Funkhouser said it was a good feeling.

“We were talking about where the girls had placed,” Funkhouser said. “We were adding up the numbers like ‘oh my gosh, we could have won this. Our score’s so low.’ Going in we were ranked pretty high, but I didn’t think we were going to pull it off, to tell you the truth.”

Funkhouser said it was great seeing all the girls on the team put together some of their top performances of the season.

She said that the team didn’t start out great this season, but is peaking at the right time.

“We were not always great at the beginning,” Funkhouser said. “Invitationals, we were struggling. Not everyone was placing where we thought they should be, like I wasn’t either. Our times weren’t perfect. But now we’re starting to get our acts together. Starting to run as a team and place, which makes everything better. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Last year, Funkhouser had Brandy Webb, who graduated in June, to run with her and push her. Webb won the region meet last year and finished third in the Class 1 state championships, while Funkhouser placed fourth.

Funkhouser said it felt strange not having Webb running with her this year, but she found a new person to run with and push her — freshman Eli Dellinger. The freshman placed sixth in last week’s regional meet.

Being a senior, Funkhouser said she knows it’s even more important to be a leader for the team.

“My whole sports career I always felt like I was a leader,” Funkhouser said. “But this year it’s like I’m going to be gone next year, I need someone else to lead. I just need to be that role model.”

Funkhouser, a three-sport standout at Stonewall Jackson, has one last race in her high school career on Saturday in the Class 1 state championships at Great Meadow in The Plains.

Funkhouser said it’s not her favorite course, but she just wants the team to do its best in the final race of the season.

“Like I said going into regionals, I just want us to do the best that we can,” Funkhouser said. “And if that’s how we feel at the end of the day that’s all I can ask for.”