Clarke County boys breeze to state crown at Virginia cross-country championships
A storm was brewing on Saturday that had nothing to do with the rain clouds that were blackening the sky. It was happening at eye level, on top of the hills in the distance on the five-kilometer cross-country course at Great Meadow in The Plains, and the boys from Clarke County were the source.
Clarke County gathered strength in an instant, then tore through its competition at the Virginia championships. The Eagles left the rest of the field in shambles on their way to their fifth state title in six years.
Clarke County defeated Floyd County by 72 points for the Group A title and Radford was third. The top three teams reached the podium and the top 15 individuals earned all-state honors.
Led by individual champion Adam Owens, Clarke County put its five scorers among the top 13. Owens won in 16 minutes 32 seconds. He is the third individual champion in Clarke County's history.
"I'm really excited to be part of a dynasty," Owens said.
While Clarke County's program is well established, the girls from George Mason are just starting a championship reign of their own. After not having won any postseason titles before last year, the Mustangs captured their second straight Group A championship.
They were without their top runner in Natalie Young, but still outpaced Strasburg and Radford. Sophomore Eva Estrada (20:09) led George Mason and finished third overall; Strasburg sophomore Katlyn Ayers won in 19:03.
Mountain View, which hosted the meet, had an exceptional day. The five-year-old Stafford school won its first boys' AAA championship ahead of 2008 champion Oakton and Midlothian.
In the girls' AAA race, Mountain View senior Kaitlyn Davis chased down senior Katherine Walker (Brooke Point) over the final 150 meters and picked up her first individual title in 18:21. Walker was runner-up in 18:24.
The girls from Midlothian were going for a record fifth straight AAA title, but Lake Braddock put an end to that. Behind a gutsy effort by freshman Sophie Chase, who was third in 18:28, the Bruins won their first state title since 2006. Midlothian had to settle for second and West Springfield was third.
But the day belonged to Davis.
"With all the preparation that I put in for this once race, it's an awesome feeling to be able to wrap it up like this," Davis said. "It's the ribbon on top of the present."