RICHMOND — Lake Braddock won the girls’ 4x800-meter relay for the second year in a row and Westfield capped an undefeated season in winning the boys’ race at the Virginia AAA track and field championships on Friday.
Lake Braddock’s win in the girls’ relay was a bit of a wacky race — the competition wasn’t nearly as fast as the seed times indicated, and a couple of runners were inadvertently tripped and fell before the completion of the first lap.
But Ally Robinson, Sophie Chase, Maddie Manhertz and Hannah Christen steered clear of trouble and brought the baton around in 9 minutes 20.90 seconds in winning by a comfortable margin over West Springfield (9:26.10) at Sports Backers Stadium.
Things got wild before the race even started. No sooner had the athletes from across the state arrived for Day 1 of the two-day meet when they were sent running back to their buses and cars as a hammering downpour soaked the area. The start time was delayed by 30 minutes as officials swept water out of the infield, throwing circles and jumping pits.
More nasty weather about two hours later forced officials to suspend the meet and scramble to reorganize in hopes of getting everything in on Saturday.
The Westfield boys won by their thinnest margin of victory this season. But Steven Mitchell, Max Chambers, Nathan Kiley and Tyrone Walker kept the Chantilly school undefeated by beating Oakton to the line in the boys’ 4x800 in 7:49.41.
The Cougars were runners-up in 7:49.92.
Yet another delayed start made the runners start to feel restless and tight — this time it was an equipment malfunction — but, just as they did to win the Penn Relays 4x800 Championship of America, Kiley handed off to Walker with a slight lead and Walker did what it took to hold off Michael McNamee of Northern Region rival Oakton and deliver the victory.
“It’s been close with them [Oakton] at districts and regionals,” Walker said. “I felt pretty confident we’d win.”
Christen wasn’t as self-assured while carrying on anchor for Lake Braddock. The sophomore had the lead going into the final lap, but Cosby senior standout Megan Moye, one of the fastest distance runners in the state, had rallied her team out of last place and into third — and she was coming for Christen.
The crowd howled and cheered as Moye picked off one runner after another, but with about 200 meters to go, Christen, who had the strength and speed to finish third in the 3K at Penn Relays last month, dropped her head and produced a final burst home.
“My body’s numb,” Christen said. “I just told myself to keep going. Do not let go.”
In the field, McLean senior Scott Lafoon earned all-state honors in the discus, finishing fifth with 154 feet. Chantilly senior Arthur McDuffy was fifth in the long jump (22-8).