THE PLAINS, Va. — Loudoun Valley’s Sam Affolder came into the Virginia High School League cross-country championships with one goal in mind: “Keep the streak in the family.” That was the text message Affolder’s older brother sent him Saturday morning.
Affolder did just that. In Class 4, the senior won the state title for the second year in a row, finishing in 15 minutes 30 seconds. With his win, a Vikings runner claimed an individual state title for the fifth straight year, and he helped Loudoun Valley grab the team championship for the fourth year in a row.
The Vikings’ boys, the defending national champions, came into the meet with high expectations. They made history last year as the first team to score a perfect 15 at the state championship. This year, they posted a near-perfect 16; their score was disrupted by Woodgrove’s Rylan Pettit, who came in fourth in 16:00.
Given scheduling issues because of college visits, Saturday’s meet was only the fourth time this season that Affolder had raced with the Vikings. Now that he is committed to the University of Washington, Affolder said he expects to dedicate his time training for Nike Cross Nationals with his team.
“Luckily [our preparations have] all been done for us before, and we were very successful last year,” Affolder said. “I know what training is going to be like going forward. We’re doing what works, and I have a lot of confidence in the system.”
Joan Hunter, Loudoun Valley’s co-head coach, described preparations for nationals next month as “business as usual.”
“Having the experience and returning and still being the same goofy kids they were last year is going to help them,” she said.
Loudoun Valley’s success continued with its girls, who snapped a four-year streak of finishing as the state runners-up by edging Blacksburg, which was going for a record eighth title in a row. The title came down to the wire: Loudoun Valley’s Ricky Fetterolf (18:23) finished first, teammate Elise Abbe (18:40) was third, and three other Vikings placed in the top 25 for a total of 44 points. Blacksburg’s Kaitlynn Wolfe (18:36) finished second, with three of her teammates placing in the top 15 for a score of 48.
In the Class 6 boys’ race, W.T. Woodson (72), West Springfield (78) and Oakton (103) were the top three. For the Class 6 girls, West Springfield (54) ran away with the title, and Colonial Forge (104) was second.