A cold, driving rain poured during the boys' race at the AA Region II cross-country championship Thursday afternoon, and the Brentsville team tent was littered with wet shoes and clothes. Not a single person, however, was inside the tent.
Instead of taking refuge from the weather, members of the Tigers girls' team, moments removed from a second-place finish in their race, stood in the rain and mud to cheer on their male counterparts.
Such team unity is not surprising, considering the success enjoyed by both squads this season. The Tigers captured the boys' and girls' Northwestern District titles last month, and the boys easily won the regional championship Thursday at the Virginia Horse Center by sweeping the top four spots.
"Both [regional] races on the girls' and guys' side were the best races we've run all season long," Brentsville Coach Rob Dulin said. "You can't ask them for more than that, so I was thrilled for them."
Part of the reason both Tigers teams have excelled this fall, Dulin said, is that the boys' and girls' teams feed off each other.
"I really think there is some momentum coming into it," Dulin said. "Let's say our girls went out there and had a very strong race today, and the guys see that. Now they're like, 'You know, we've been doing the same training and workout as the girls, and we have a similar strategy as the girls.' "
Looking ahead to the state championship race Saturday at Great Meadow, dual state championships are not out of the question.
Brentsville's boys are the clear favorite after winning the state's toughest region with 26 points, well ahead of runner-up Fort Defiance's 95. On a difficult, hilly course, Tigers senior Pat Eggleston won the individual boys' regional title with a time of 17 minutes 4.92 seconds. Junior Nick Gehlsen placed second less than 15 seconds later. Senior Jacob Watts and sophomore Henry Melius took third and fourth, respectively.
"States is a whole different race," Eggleston said. "We're just going to have to concentrate and not let our heads get too big."
Brentsville's girls finished second at the regional with 76 points, behind Western Albemarle's 50. Dulin said overtaking Western Albemarle at states will be an uphill battle, but sophomore Becky Stewart, who placed fifth, said it could be done.
"If we go to states and run a really good race, one of our best of the season, I think we have a chance," she said.
Virginia Horse Center, Lexington
1, Brentsville, 26; 2, Fort Defiance, 95; 3, Spotswood, 130; 4, Potomac Falls, 131.
1, Pat Eggleston, Brentsville, 17 minutes 4.92 seconds; 2, Nick Gehlsen, Brentsville, 17:19.21; 3, Jacob Watts, Brentsville, 17:29.59; 4, Henry Melius, Brentsville, 17:31.55; 5, Matt Bailey, Fort Defiance, 17:31.90; 6, Robert Heitz, Spotswood, 17:32.21; 7, Ben King, Monticello, 17:32.40; 8, Kyle Kinnally, Stone Bridge, 17:40.65; 9, Kevin Pugh, James Wood, 17:43.85; 10, Sean Bernett, Heritage, 17:43.91; 11, Bryant Clopper, Harrisonburg, 17:45.94; 12, Nathan Marsh, Handley, 17:46.41; 13, Jordan Jarrels, Spotswood, 17:46.42; 14, Daniel Alonso, Fort Defiance, 17:47.05; 15, Clint Schiavone, Handley, 17:47.30.
16, Adam Henken, Brentsville, 17:49.01; 20, Ray Delgado, Brentsville, 18:02.46; 29, Eric Truschel, Brentsville, 18:12.29.
1, Western Albemarle, 50; 2, Brentsville, 76; 3, Broadway, 104; 4, Handley, 128.
1, Tasmin Fanning, Western Albemarle, 19:26.34; 2, Samantha Stafford, Western Albemarle, 20:07.19; 3, Stephanie Garcia, Broad Run, 20:23.62; 4, Jillian Pollack, Millbrook, 20:24.80; 5, Becky Stewart, Brentsville, 20:30.26; 6, Erin Bender, Handley, 20:32.20; 7, Elizabeth Reeves, Broadway, 20:35.25; 8, Catherine McGowan, Harrisonburg, 20:38.77; 9, Lida Wise, Rockbridge, 20:55.67; 10, Anna Cole, Handley, 20:59.65; 11, Julia Mitchell, Brentsville, 21:01.21; 12, Diana Vanvleet, Loudoun Valley, 21:07.34; 13, Rachel Hyde, Western Albemarle, 21:11.18; 14, Kelsey Stafford, Western Albemarle, 21:14.53; 15, Kelly Dunn, Stone Bridge, 21:15.56.
18, Alex Kulifay, Brentsville, 21:23.44; 21, Wendy Stober, Brentsville, 21:28.29; 31, Rachel Hamilton, Brentsville, 21:51.61; 36, Amelia Emerson, Brentsville, 21:59.27.
Note: Top four teams and top 15 individuals advance to Saturday's state meet at Great Meadow.