As if the course and competition weren’t going to be tough enough, runners taking part in the Class 3 state cross country meet on Wednesday afternoon were met with gusty winds and dropping temperatures at Green Hill Park.
At the end of the day Western Albemarle's teams did the best handling the rough conditions as they swept the team titles on the Roanoke County course.
In the first race of the day, Western Albemarle’s girls compiled a score of 63 to edge out runner-up Hidden Valley by six points for the team title.
“We knew that it would be a dogfight,” Hidden Valley coach Dan King said. “I couldn’t have asked for anymore from my team especially on a day like this. They were real competitors today.”
Freshman Reese Bradbury, who won the individual title at the Region 3D girls meet, was the Titans’ top finisher on Wednesday in 10th place with a time of 19:55. Teammate Elle Anderson came in right behind Bradbury in 11th at 19:58.
King added that his squad was not caught off guard by the unseasonable weather conditions.
“I’m from southeast Ohio and they had 5 inches of snow on the ground this morning,” King said. “We knew that this front was coming.”
Western Albemarle senior Jenna Stutzman passed Skyline’s Ava Bordner in the closing moments of the race to claim the individual title in 19:04.
“Honestly I was just focused on staying with the people in the front, but in the end I decided to go for it and I ended up overtaking" Stutzman said.
Christiansburg’s Hannah Parker placed 15th in 20:35 to lead the Blue Demons, who finished sixth in the team standings.
Christiansburg had a strong performance on the boys side, but it wasn’t quite enough to claim the team title.
The Blue Demons’ Lawson Mecom, the Region 3D runner-up, finished eighth in 16:37 to help lead Christiansburg to a second-place finish with 63 points. Western Albemarle, though, claimed the top spot with 47 points as the Warriors’ Owen Shifflet took top individual honors by winning in 16:00.
Lord Botetourt’s Evan Gates (12th), Bryson Cook (13th) and Northside’s Ryan Connelly (14th) also placed in the top 15 representing Timesland.
For the first time this season runners in each race were allowed to run in one pack instead of in “waves” due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Class 2 state meet will take place Thursday at Green Hill Park, with the girls race scheduled for 1 p.m. and the boys race to follow at 3:30 p.m. The Class 1 race will be held on the course Friday.