The West Springfield girls and Caroline Alcorta rolled to team and individual wins this past weekend at the Hagan Stone Cross Country Classic in Greensboro, North Carolina. The West Springfield junior Alcorta is starting to establish herself as the second best runner in the state behind only Foot Locker All-American Sophie Chase. After beating Hannah Christen for second at Maymont behind Chase, Alcorta scored a decisive win against the defending Group AA state cross country champion Carolyn Bethel at Hagan Stone Park on Saturday with a 32 second margin of victory and season best 5K performance of 17:57. Alcorta's time is one of the faster runs on this course in recent years to put her in the same sentence with some of the better distance runners from the Southeast. All-American distance runner Wesley Frazier blazed a 17:36 in 2009, while Foot Locker National runner-up Aurora Scott posted a time of 18:04 at Hagan Stone Park in 2008. At last year's Hagan Stone Park Classic, Alcorta earned her first major invitational win in a time of 18:41 and now finds herself 44 seconds faster 12 months later.
The West Springfield girls also repeated as team champions with a nice buffer of 83 points between them and another Northern Region squad as the runners-up in South Lakes (2nd, 128 pts). The state of Virginia swept the top 3 places actually with Hidden Valley pulling in at third place with 156 points. The Lady Spartans of West Springfield inserted three girls among the top 8 finishers with Alcorta, Maddie Wittich (3rd, 19:10), and Katie Kennedy (8th, 19:47). The South Lakes girls did not have a front runner, but were well packed especially with their first three runners Devin Nieusma (17th, 20:27), Kyannah Calhoun (22nd, 20:37), and Augusta Durham (24th, 20:50).
Hidden Valley's Carolyn Bethel got stuck in no man's land in between the two West Springfield teammates Alcorta and Wittich with her time of 18:29. Her performance was over 30 seconds faster than her time last year at Hagan Stone Park two weeks earlier for the Greensboro Cross Country Invitational, so despite the loss to Alcorta, Bethel seems to be on track to be in position to chase after another Group AA state title in November.
The West Springfield boys made it a clean sweep of team titles for the program in Greensboro as a tight 35 second spread was the deciding factor for their first place team showing. Leading the charge for their squad was John Amann (12th, 16:46) and William Rabil (13th, 16:46) with top 15 finishes followed by teammates Matt Blackburn (19th, 17:05), Michael Muskett (26th, 17:18), and Bryce Wason (29th, 17:20). Trailing the West Springfield (91 pts) in two of the next three spots in the team standings were Virginia schools Hidden Valley (2nd, 128 pts) and South Lakes (4th, 179 pts).
The boys' individual race came down to a battle between two Virginians in Lee-Davis junior Paul Adam and Brookville senior David Cedillo. Adam is really emerging as one of the better runners from the Central Region after winning one of the second tier invitational races at Great American last weekend in a 16:04 5K PR with another first place invitational showing at Hagan Stone to hold off Group AA All-State runner Cedillo (2nd, 16:11) with a 16:09 victory. Adam has a good training partner to push him daily in Lee-Davis junior teammate Grayson Morgan, who was only 11 seconds behind him on Saturday in fourth place at 16:20.