Dorrell and Graves at the start of Maymont
Blacksburg's Peter Dorrell and Abingdon's Griff Graves will both give themselves a mid-season test on the course which all their focus this fall is geared to at McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. The home course for the Footlocker South Regional is also host to the Wendy's Invitational this Saturday with teams and athletes coming into Charlotte from several states including Virginia. Dorrell and Graves will not get a chance to race head-to-head this weekend though as Dorrell will be racing as an indiividual in the open race at 9:30 am, while Grave will be going up against defending Footlocker South champion Ryan Hill in the 3A race at 11:30 am in revisit of a 2006 duel at the Wendy's Invite.
Dorrell is riding high from his victory at the Maymont Festival over Graves and virtually all of the state's best cross country runners in a state leading 5K time of 15:31 to break 2006 Footlocker finalist Mike Spooner's course record. With the rest of his team competing at the Octoberfest Invite on Saturday, Dorrell will be on his own in Charlotte to gain experience racing without his coach and team as the Nike Team Nationals Southeast Regional on November 24th will take the Blacksburg girls and Coach Demarco away from Dorrell for support in Charlotte on the same day in his hopes of qualifying for Footlocker Nationals. The Blacksburg senior is a returning Footlocker All-South performer as he recorded his personal best of 15:30 last November for a 17th place effort. He will hoping to pop another personal best on Saturday and approach 15 minutes.
Graves on the otherhand has already broken 15 minutes at McAlpine as he posted a time of 14:55 in a third place run at Footlocker South last November to qualify for Footlocker Nationals. The Abingdon senior gained great confidence last year at Wendy's Invitational when he ran just over 15 minutes in a time of 15:03. Surprisingly with a time which would qualify for Footlocker Nationals every year, was only good enough for second last year at Wendy's as Hickory's Ryan Hill denied him the win with a 14:55 performance.
Dorrell may get a chance to race with cooler temperatures with a 9:30 start time, but Graves will have a returning Footlocker South champion in Hill to push him along to a fast time. After last week's debacle at Maymont for Graves when he accidentally jumped in the earlier gold division race and raced through 1000 meters, he will be looking to pick up a victory over Peter Dorrell, his biggest obstacle to a third straight Group AA state title title, by posting a faster time between the two at Wendy's.
The Battlefield girls led by Chancellor Invite champ Elizabeth Walls will be racing in the open girls division. Last year, Walls won the open division in a personal best time of 19:04 as her team took runner-up honors behind Providence of North Carolina. Meanwhile, both Abingdon and Galax will be in the 3A division races with both boys and girls racing from the Southwest Virginia schools. Patrick Henry, a Group A school from Glade Spring, will have just a girls' team racing in the 3A race.