Two more individual championships and a leg in a record-setting 4x400 propelled Patrick Joseph and the Loudoun County boys’ track team to their second straight Virginia AA Region II outdoor track & field championship on Wednesday at Fluvanna County High School.
More significantly, it pumped them up even more for their bid at the Virginia state championship next week.
Joseph just missed out on a meet record in the 800 (1:52.90), took care of business in the 1,600 (4:22.18) and, along with Steven Graham, the other half of what coach Courtney Campbell calls his “dynamic duo,” Michael Durrer and Nolan Graves, closed out a dominant 4x400 (3:20.93). The Raiders finished with 51 points to edge runner-up Louisa County (46).
Party time? Not exactly.
“As a team, celebrating for this, we’re going to do some hard workouts to try and win state,” said Joseph, a cross-country All-Met in the fall. “To win the region meet, it’s awesome. As a team, winning two in a row, it helps with our confidence going in, that we can be best in the state, too. I’m pretty excited about it. “
Campbell, watching his son at another meet, had to wait for news of the team’s performances via text, but he still could marvel at his star senior.
“It was nice but definitely stressful,” he said, laughing. “There was a delay, you know, ‘Why is no one texting me?’ . . . [Patrick’s] had the most incredible season of any Loudoun County athlete in history. Everything he does is wonderful.”
It was a great day for his squad, Campbell said. The sprinters were the difference, as Graham won the 400 (48.84) and finished runner-up in the 200 (21.81) to help beat Louisa.
Briar Woods sophomore Brandon Polk, a budding football recruit, won titles in the 100 (10.65) and 200 (21.74), setting region records in both, and Chris Schopper’s runner-up showing in the 3,200 (9:38.15) helped the Falcons finish in third place (44).
Potomac Falls’ Tommy Fort also claimed a championship, weathering windy conditions to win the 300 hurdles (40.35) and also setting himself up for well for state.
“In a day like today, you want to win and that’s what I try to tell them,” Panthers Coach Courtney Cornwall said. “You want to go into the state meet with confidence. Everybody’s running fast now. It’s really about establishing yourself.”
On the girls’ side, Heritage’s Alayna Bigalbal claimed the 3,200-meter championship (11:44.34), just 0.13 seconds ahead of Loudoun County’s Ana Valdez (11:44.47), to lead the Pride to a seventh-place overall finish (27 points)
Fort’s teammate and fellow hurdling standout Eileen Fauteux, a two-time state champion, placed second in the 300 hurdles (45.47).
The Woodgrove 4x400 relay team of Emma Gillies, Samantha Purnell, Gaynor Houghton and Kate Parker (4:09.64) finished second behind Handley (4:05.83), and Heritage’s 4x800 squad of Marisa Ohngemach, Georgie Mackenzie, Mackenzie Scanlon and Laila Howar (9:59.61) also placed runner-up.
Other individual highlights included Gillies finishing second in the 800 (2:20.71), with Tuscarora’s Anna Wasko (2:21.27) just behind in third.
Loudoun Valley’s Alexis Randall (1:02.48) was third in the 400, while Briar Woods’ Kayla Smith (1:03.11) took fifth.
Loudoun County’s Shanice Galvin (12.64) took fourth in the 100, and Briar Woods’ Cameryn Hunter placed fifth in the 200 (26.86).