Fun season openers for teams

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- All of the cross country teams in the Charlottesville area get to enjoy a fun and unique season opener with the Ragged Mountain Cup every year. What makes the meet unique is instead of the usual "everyone runs a 5K", four runners from each squad each run a 2 mile for an exciting relay race at the challenging Darden Towe Park course in Charlottesville this Friday.

Competiting in this year's meet is Albemarle, Blue Ridge, Charlottesville, Covenant, Fluvanna, Fork Union, Louisa, Madison County, Miller School (Private), Monticello, Nelson County, Orange, St. Anne's Belfield (STAB), Western Albemarle, William Monroe, and Woodberry Forest.

The outcomes of both the boys and girls races should be very close.

On the boys side, #4 state ranked Western Albemarle and #3 state ranked Albemarle seem to be the two favorites. Western was the better squad last year as they were nationally ranked and went onto winning the Group AA title. This year things should be closer as Western had some key losses to graduation, while Albemarle lost little as James Atchison was their only major loss. Western Albemarle still possesses some great talent and depth with returning runners of Josiah Cadle (9:38), Peter Burch (9:57), and Alec Lorenzoni (10:00) all having great 3200 meter PR's. Cadle is ranked currently 14th in the state and 7th in the Group AA. Albemarle will try and counter the Warrior attack as they will be led by Travis Lambert and Joe Murray. The #12 ranked runner in Group AAA, Lambert dipped under 10 in the 3200 this past spring as he ran a 9:52.

Other squads that will be contention due to some star runners will be Louisa and Fork Union. Both have two excellent 2-milers with Daniel Kane (9:21) at Louisa County and Andrew Keino (9:36) at Fork Union. Kane is currently ranked #5 in the state and #4 in Group AA.

Madison County, ranked #5 in Group A, will be looking to represent the Single A ranks well as they will be led by all-state runner Maurice Styles. The Woodberry Forest boys squad will also try to make a good showing for the private schools at the meet as they are last year's state champion.

The girls team battle should be just as intense with the likes of Western Albemarle, Albemarle, and Louisa County in the field.

Group AA State 1600 meter champion Delaney Moje will be looking to lead the Lady Warriors of Western Albemarle to victory. The team has a good number of returnees from last year's squad which placed 7th at the Group AA State Meet. Moje is ranked currently 14th in the state and 6th in Group AA.

Claire Whitenack, ranked 12th overall in the state and 7th in Group AAA, will try to stop that with her squad from Albemarle as will the Louisa County Lady Lions who will try to bounce back from an off year where the string of consecutive appearances to the state meet was snapped.

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