The Brentsville cross-country team is doing what it did not too long ago against smaller schools. And if history is any indication, the Tigers might not stop.
Brentsville won the boys' and girls' Virginia AA races at yesterday's state cross-country championships at Great Meadow in The Plains. It marked the first time an AA team had swept both races since Blacksburg did so in 1986.
Brentsville forged a dynasty of sorts in Virginia A, winning a combined nine team titles from 1995 to 2002. The school moved to AA in 2003 and by last season, the boys had won the state title and the girls finished second.
After a commanding sweep of the Region II meet last week, Brentsville's performance yesterday was more a matter of maintenance than anything.
"I think the thing we talked about all week long was don't do anything different," Coach Rob Dulin said. "No reason to get to the state meet and race any differently. Just be patient and trust your training and your body."
Becky Stewart was Brentsville's top finisher in the girls' race, and her time of 18 minutes 32 seconds was good for second behind defending champion Catherine White of Northside (17:49). Amelia Emerson (19:14) finished ninth and Lauren Bussian (19:28) placed 16th for Brentsville, which scored 48 points to beat runner-up Blacksburg (73).
"Between the last two seasons we've just picked up how hard we've worked so much," Stewart said. "It had been building up, and this year we just went at it."
The race unfolded similarly on the boys' side, where the Tigers (63 points) finished ahead of Western Albemarle (102). Henry Melius (16:05) finished third, Adam Henken (16:10) finished fourth and Nick Gehlsen (16:23) placed 14th for Brentsville.
"It's really important for us to uphold that tradition," Henken said. "Each year we try and raise our goals a little more."
Clarke County swept the Virginia A championships for the second straight season. Behind champion Simon Biddle-Snead, and four other top 10 finishers, the boys' team won with a remarkable 20 points, finishing well ahead of second-place Patrick Henry-Glade Spring (90)
"One of the big motivations for us is being able to compare your times with [AA and AAA teams]," said Biddle-Snead, who finished in 16:09 and won for the second year in a row. "Just because we're in [Virginia] A doesn't mean we can't try and compete with those teams."