Four area girls runners earn all-state honors
THE PLAINS — LuLu Funkhouser capped off her high school cross country career with her second straight all-state performance.
The Stonewall Jackson senior was one of four area girls runners to earn all-state honors in the cross country state championships on Saturday at the Great Meadow course in very cool conditions. Central freshmen Jaclyn Cardoso and Aliyah Kibler and Skyline’s Sabrina Wilkins also made all-state honors.
Funkhouser, who finished fourth in the meet last year, placed eighth in a time of 21 minutes and helped lead the Generals to a fifth-place team finish in the Class 1 girls state championships.
“It’s a good feeling,” Funkhouser said of her finish. “I had no idea what to expect, because I knew there was a bunch of new girls that had great times. I think I gave it my all today and that’s all I could wish for.”
Stonewall Jackson freshman Eli Dellinger was 19th in a time of 21:37, followed by teammates Eli Dellinger (19th, 21:37), Susannah Garber (47th, 23:31), Melissa Oczkowski (59th, 24:10), Ella Hervo-Smith (61st, 24:16), J.J. Dellinger (65th, 24:34) and Isabell Dellinger (76th, 25:17).
The Generals finished with 137 points, just 4 points out of third place. Auburn won the Class 1 girls team championship with 58 points, followed by Mathews (110), Northumberland (133) and Rappahanock County (136).
“We’re happy. The kids are happy,” Stonewall Jackson coach Mary Clananhan said. “The three senior girls they put it all out there and they’re happy.”
Rappahannock County’s Rachel Weghorst won the Class 1 girls race with a time of 19:49.
Central’s freshman duo of Cardoso and Kibler had an impressive showing for their first time at the Class 2 state meet.
Cardoso placed 10th in a time of 19:57, while Kibler was 15th in a time of 20:22.
“I’m proud of myself for staying up there with all the girls,” Cardoso said. “It’s just an amazing experience.”
Kibler said she was happy that both her and Cardoso were able to perform so well in such a big meet.
“It’s really cool, because we didn’t really know what we were going into because we were freshmen,” Kibler said. “But as freshmen I think its cool that we both got all state.”
Cardoso and Kibler said they wanted to thank their coaches, friends, family and parents for helping them during the season and giving them support during their freshmen season.
Strasburg senior Rachel Palmer capped off her cross country career with a 39th place finish in the Class 2 race in a time of 21:46.
Maggie Walker won the Class 2 girls team title, for the fifth straight year, with 48 points. Maggie Walker’s Mary Caroline Heinen won the Class 2 girls race with a time of 18:41.
Wilkins, a sophomore, placed 10th in the Class 3 girls state meet. She finished in a time of 19:26.
Wilkins, who said she set a new personal record with her time, said the toughest part of the race was dealing with the cold.
“In the beginning of the race I felt the cold — immediately the cold hit me,” Wilkins said. “And so I just had to run through it, deal with it. But it actually kind of helped in a way, because I didn’t feel anything because everything got numb.”
Wilkins said the closer she got to the finish line, the more getting out of the cold served as motivation.
Last year Wilkins finished 18th in the state meet, so she said she was very happy with this year’s performance.
“It’s eight places up — it’s an improvement,” Wilkins said. “I’m proud of myself.”
Wilkins’ teammate Carrie Hotek finished 23rd in a time of 20:16. Warren County’s Jacqui Ris was 27th (20:23) and Kiersten Tanner was 53rd (20:23).
Western Albemarle won the Class 3 girls team championship with 55 points. Cave Spring’s Parker Albright won the Class 3 girls race in a time of 18:25.