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Cross country was the final fall sport to begin season competition, and area teams got into full swing this past weekend. Lee-Davis and Hanover stayed home to participate in the Pole Green Classic, while Atlee traveled to Orange for the Woodberry Forest Classic.
Saturday morning at Pole Green, 91 boys and 67 girls competed in the championship division alone. On the boys side, while it was a great day for nearby Glen Allen High, who won the team competition, the Confederates and Hawks each found bright spots in their eighth and ninth place team finishes, respectively.
Caleb Haneline of Hanover placed 16th in a time of 17:13.64, just 10 seconds out of the top 10. Paul Adam (32nd) led the Lee-Davis contingent with a time of 17:42.99, with teammates Grayson Morgan (34th), Josh Grant (35th), and Sheldon Harris (37th) just behind him. Freshman Will Chesley was the runner-up finisher for the Hawks in 48th place.
“Our varsity teams ran a bit tired from a tough training week, and it showed,” said Neil Mathews, head coach for Lee-Davis. “Many of our top runners ran in training shoes and worked on pack running. I expect we will be better on our home course later in the season.”
Mathews also noted the absence of several runners from Saturday’s race due to what he called “minor setbacks,” adding they are training and “hungry to mix it up.”
On the girls side, three Confederates placed in the top 20: Lauren Lewis (21:18.34), Maggie Morgan (21:25.18), and Megan Paul (21:34.65). The top county finisher was from Hanover, senior Annie Sadler, who placed fifth overall in 20:35.06. The Lee-Davis girls team finished fourth in team standings with an average time of 21:46, while the Hawks were just behind in fifth, their average time at just under 21:56.
Mathews said the Confederates used this meet to learn about many competitors they will face later in the season.
“We learned a lot about how good the rest of the area teams are, and how our effort needs to get better both in workouts and races. We’ll continue to work on racing and competing when we run versus paying attention to paces and stop watches,” Mathews noted.
Lee-Davis and Hanover will both travel to Cary, N.C. outside Raleigh for the 20th annual Adidas XC Challenge on Saturday.
The Confederates and Hawks joined Atlee in facing Glen Allen on Wednesday in a meet at RF&P Park after press deadline, an important meet for Hanover as the Jaguars are foes in the new Conference 20 of Class 4A, while Lee-Davis and Atlee are in Class 5A.
The Raiders captured some top honors at the Woodberry Forest Invitational, as Nathaniel Hall ran away with the boys individual title, winning by a full 40 seconds over the runner-up, in a time of 16:33.03. Teammate Dylan Richeson was eighth at 17:52.25. With five runners in the top 26 overall, Atlee won the boys team title at 77 points, besting runner-up Paul VI by 11 points.
The Atlee girls team stormed to victory as well with a 50-point performance, beating runner-up St. Catherine’s by 13 points. Leading the way was Katt Grasberger, who was second in individual competition with a time of 20:12.55. Chloe and Scarlett Bavin both placed in the top 10; Chloe fifth in 20:26.56, Scarlett just behind in eighth at 21:06.06. Add in Katie Gardner’s 14th place showing, and the Raiders would not be denied.
Coach Jim Triemplar said running in the Woodberry Forest Invitational gives his team exposure to new and different types of competition early in the season. He hopes that will pay off for his runners come conference tournament time, and beyond.
The Raiders’ next tournament is Saturday when they, along with Patrick Henry, compete against 89 other schools from across the Mid-Atlantic region in the Oatlands Invitational in Leesburg.
This will be the first major test for the Patriots, after competing in a tri-meet with Caroline and Spotsylvania Sept. 4, and against Collegiate School last week. Patrick Henry is led by returnees Amy Dunham, Makayla Peterson, Kanani Collins and Ashli Cole on the girls side, Ed Pemberton and Ben Humphries on the boys.
Head Coach Jeremy Dobrinski singles out pack running as being key to the Patriots’ success in 2013.
“If we can learn to run together, we can be successful,” Dobrinski said.
They’ll get their chance to learn that this Saturday.