Skyline’s Wilkins takes fourth place in Judges Classic

Sherando sophomore James Harris placed seventh in 16:55 at the 44th annual Judges Classic on Saturday at Kernstown Battlefield. Robert Niedzwiecki/For the Northern Virginia Daily

WINCHESTER – Preparation definitely paid off for Skyline’s Sabrina Wilkins on Saturday.

One year after the hills of Kernstown Battlefield slowed the junior down more than she wanted, Wilkins attacked them with confidence on Saturday to take fourth place at the 44th annual Judges Classic.

On a course that was harder to navigate than usual because of the rain that doused the course Friday night and the light rain that fell Saturday, Wilkins’ time of 20 minutes and 24 seconds over 3.1 miles was 34 seconds faster than she recorded last year when she took 13th.

“Last year was more difficult because I don’t think I was prepared as I was this year,” Wilkins said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of hill work, so the hills this year were less difficult.

“My strategy coming in was conquering the hills, and the rest of the race was going to be easy. The faster you get up a hill, the less it hurts. My time was a lot faster than last year, so I was very proud of myself.”

Wilkins said trying to catch up with senior teammate Carrie Hotek helped spur her as well. Wilkins said she passed her right before the second-mile marker. Hotek wasn’t able to stay with Wilkins, but she still had a strong day by placing ninth in 20:48 to earn a medal.

The duo paced Skyline to 10th place out of 16 teams.

“Sabrina looked good,” Skyline coach Rodger Seemiller said. “She comes on. She stays back a little bit, then brings it toward the end. Carrie Hotek was way up near the front, but the last mile did her in. That’s atypical for her.”

Senior Emily Arp (67th in 24:45), senior Kelsie Keene (68th in 24:53) and junior Lindsey Ritenour (74th in 25:17) rounded out Skyline’s scoring runners.

“The girls team, everybody improved their times,” Seemiller said. “We still need some work to do there. They’re bunching together better and moving towards the front.”

Defending champion Millbrook won the girls meet with 50 points. Briar Woods was second with 114 and Sherando was ninth with 207.

Scoring runners for the Warrior girls were sophomore Molly Robinson (13th in 21:08), junior Leah Wernecke (32nd in 22:08), senior Emily Petsko (46th in 22:45), sophomore Daisy Conde (56th in 23:09.2) and senior Camryn Ubert (60th in 23:38.8).

Stella Williams had to drop out of Saturday’s race after rolling an ankle, and Ellen Lunde couldn’t finish due to an injury she was already dealing with. Olivia Couillard didn’t run because she was sick.

“I think once we have all seven people running at 100 percent, you’re going to see a completely different team,” Sherando coach Megan Roberts said.

In the boys’ meet, Sherando sophomore James Harris (seventh in 17:06.7) and junior Ty Waits (12th in 17:28.4) each placed in the top 15 to earn medals.

Harris said his time of 16:55 was about 20 seconds faster than his previous best time of Kernstown.

“I knew Dominion was going to be here, and last year at states, I kept up with some of their dudes there,” Harris said. “They went out hard when they were here at regionals here last year, so I went out a little too fast in the beginning. They passed me around the mile mark, so after that, I just set up with their group and looked to break [17 minutes]. They were running at a great pace, and I broke 17. Overall, I feel like it was a good day today.”

“I was happy with his final time,” said Roberts of Harris. “I think he could have gone out a little more conservatively and then run a little faster toward the end, but I think it was still a good race for him. Even once he was tired and hitting the hills there at the end, he was still fighting. He’s a tough racer.”

Harris and Waits led Sherando to sixth with 162 points. Dominion repeated as champion with 60 points; Briar Woods was second with 72 and Skyline was 14th out of 15 teams with 361.

For the Warriors, freshman Graham Schultz (32nd in 18:21), sophomore Jonathan Gates (50th in 19:00) and junior Lucas Williams (162nd in 19:24.8) also scored.

Roberts said Waits and Williams have been battling injuries, so she’s interested to see how the boys do when they’re fully healthy as well.

Skyline was led by senior Micha Winningham (55th in 19:06) and junior Jordan Price (66th in 19:50).

– Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at rniedzwiecki@winchesterstar.com

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