On Friday Night, most of the teams will get a chance to preview the course at the Ballantyne Resort golf course as well as watch some college racing action of some of the top teams and individuals as well as some of some familar local alumni. Friday night also includes a pasta dinner. Saturday night includes a Harrier's Ball dance.
Virginia will be represented by two Northern Region teams in the highly competitive Race of Champions division with the Thomas Jefferson boys and James Robinson girls going up against some of the best nationally ranked teams in the nation. Thomas Jefferson's last and sole race so far this season at Great Meadows on September 14th was an impressive won as they stomped the field that including #2 state ranked Midlothian with the great 1-2 punch of junior Christo Landry and Keith Bechtol. They head into Charlotte with the #9 ranking in the entire nation, they will look to climb further in the national rankings with a strong showing in Charlotte. The James Robinson girls, defending AAA state champions and pre-season #1 ranked team in the state, have had a shaky December with a near defeat to Lake Braddock at Monroe Parker, then two consecutive defeats at the hands of Herndon at Great Meadows and Western Albemarle at Virginia Tech. They will have to get out of their September funk if they wish to be competive in the Race of Champions. The Lady Rams are led by Joanna Rodgers, ranked #10 in the state.
No longer are top individuals allowed to run in the more team oriented Race of Champions, which pits the top nationally ranked teams against each other. Instead the top national harriers are now running in the Seeded Invitational division and Virginia has some good ones running. John Crews of Rockbridge (ranked #2 in the state) and Alex Tatu of Thomas Dale (ranked #3 in the state) are set to clash against each other in this race. Tatu has already faced off with the top ranked harrier in the state, Kippy Keino of Fork Union, which he was defeated by on Keino's home course two weeks ago. Crews has won two invitationals already this season, but fairly uncontested without any competition. Crews nor Tatu well have a hard time finding competition in this race some of the nation's elite runners such as Foot Locker Nationals third place finisher Chris Solinsky of Wisconsin, Penn Relays mile champion Matt Debole of North Carolina, and 3-time national mile champion Bobby Curtis of Kentucky are just a few names of many names to bear mentioning.
The boys' seeded invitational also includes three state ranked teams in last year's AAA state runner-up Midlothian (#2 ranked), Lake Braddock (#3 ranked), and last year's AA state runner-up Rockbridge (#8 ranked). All three teams will be vying for high place finishes in the team scoring in the seeded invitational as well as knocking off each other to move up in the state rankings.
The girls' seeded invitational race is loaded with some of the state's best girls teams this season. James River girls lead this group of great teams as they head into Charlotte as the #1 ranked team in AAA and #2 ranked team in the state. They are led by three sub 20 5K runners in Kristin Coffield (ranked #14 in the state), Lindsay Traudt, and Rebecca Ward. Herndon, ranked #3 in the South Region and #3 in the state, upset James Robinson at Great Meadows two weekends ago with the return of last year's breakthrough runner of the year, Kristin Hart, coming off her stress fracture from last spring. Lake Braddock (ranked #5 in the state) had a near miss at taking down James Robinson earlier in the month at Monroe Parker as they are led by Kelly Swain, who has earned two invitational wins this season so far at Monroe Parker and Woodberry Forest last weekend. Midlothian ranked #7 in the state also will make for great representation of Virginia teams in the race. Entered as an individual in the girls' seeded invitational is sub 11 two mile runner, Emily Harrison of Warren County, ranked #7 in the state. Harrison and Swain (ranked #6 in the state) will try and see how they stack up individually with some great runners in the field that includes Megan Kaltenbach of Colorado who is a national champion at both the mile and two mile distance.
Visit the official Great Americnan website at http://www.greatamericansports.com/ for more meet information.