Landstown, Cox vie for team title
Walters looks to repeat
This year's Eastern Region meet looks to be a Beach District show with the top two teams and top individual hailing from that district. The team title is a very close contest between perennial powerhouse Cox who have placed second or better in the region meet since 1997 except for 2001, and a fairly young and new team from Landstown that hopes to grab its schools first Region title.
Despite a lackluster cross country performance last year, Landstown is the favorite in the team race because of a remarkable track season during which Landstown's runners improved markedly over their Cox rivals. Landstown is led by a sophomore Jonathan Bunker (1600-4:40, 3200-10:08,5000 CC-17:25) with four supporting runners including juniors Andrew Robles (1600-4:57, 3200-10:53, 5000 CC-18:00) and Trey Dey (3200-11:00) as well as seniors Nimley Kofa (800-2:04.74, 1600-5:07c, 3200-11:02c) and Russel Wesh (5:13c, 11:13c). Lack of experience is a major concern seeing as how only Jon Bunker has run at a level beyond districts for CC. With Bunker supported by a tight pack Landstown can win Districts and Regions.
With tradition and experience behind them the Cox Falcons look to return the championship trophy to Cox for the first time since 1999. Losing only two runners out of the top 7 from last years Beach District Champion and Region Runner-up, the team is experienced and hungry. Cox is led by senior Kyle Guglielmo (800 split-1:59, 1600-4:34, 5000 CC-17:02) who had an exceptional rookie Cross Country season last year as he placed 14th at Regions and 5th at districts. Supporting him is a tight pack consisting of seniors James "Hans" Carlson (1600-4:55, 3200-10:53, 5000 CC 18:00), Phillip Jasper (1600-5:14, 3200-11:18, 5000 CC 18:00), and Mark Stamper (5000 CC 18:00) as well as junior Jake Herbert (1600-5:05, 5000 CC-18:15) and sophomore Robby Stoots (3200-11:20, 5000 CC-17:50). Staying injury free is the key to Falcon success.
The top two team spots are all but locked in due to the depth of Cox and Landstown, but there are other teams vying for a trip to Warrenton. Here is a look at the strongest of these teams:
Beach: 2002 results-Cox 2nd, Kellam 3rd, Kempsville 6th, Salem 9th
Kellam-A strong front three of seniors Jason Myers (1600-4:32, 5000 CC 16:56) and Jason Gerst (800-2:01, 5000 CC 17:40) and junior Mitch Cooper (3200-10:15, 5000 CC 17:30) look to all be in the top 15 at regions. However, as in years past Kellam lacks a strong #5 guy and this year has to also look for a #4 guy due to the graduation of a their top runner from last year, Keith Strausbagh.
Ocean Lakes-Led by a 1-2 punch of junior Andrew Midland (3200-9:56, 5000 CC 16:39) and Landstown sophomore transfer Liam Arocho (1600-4:44, 3200-10:19c, 5000 Road Racing 16:53), Ocean Lakes looks to return to the state for the first time since their star Matt Keally graduated two seasons ago. Brandon Ritzo and Waldron support Midland and Arocho.
Eastern: 2002 results-Churchland 7th, Maury 13th,, Granby 15th , Norview 16th
Churchland-Led by senior Jason Guy (5000 CC 16:50), Churchland seeks to once again win their district meet and advance to the regional meet
Southeastern: 2002 results-Hickory 1st, Deep Creek 8th, Great Bridge 12th ,Western Branch 14th
Great Bridge-Led by Chaz Henderson Great Bridge hopes to lead a southeastern team into the state meet.
Peninsula: 2002 results-Warwick 4th, Kecoughtan 5th, Menchville 10th, Gloucester 11th,
Gloucester-Not led by any fast runners, Gloucester returns five who look to win their district and make it to the state meet.
Menchville-Led by Sophomore Workman (1600-4:38, 3200-9:58), Menchville hopes to win their district and move on to Warrenton
Kecoughtan-Led by a strong front three of Senior Nathan Kline, junior Adam Stillwell, and sophomore Zack Fenn, Kecoughtan looks to have the upper hand of the peninsula teams at the region meet, but may fall short in their district to either Menchville or Gloucester
Steven Walters of Green Run is clearly the favorite this year after his tremendous times and performances in 2002. Brandon Miles writes "Walters, a rising senior, took runner-up honors (16:09.84) to Tatu in last November's state race and returns this year as the top returnee. At Foot Locker South last fall, Walters clocked a time of 15:37.82, which is the second fastest returning 5K time out of any Virginian. Walters had a strong track season where he clocked personal bests in the 1600 (4:17.04) and 3200 (9:12.99c) meter runs as well as earning all-state honors in the 3200 meter run outdoors." At Camp Varsity this year, Steven ran the Camp race 3k in 9:56 only four seconds behind Alan Webb's course record (9:52)
The only possible contender at this early vantage point is Derrick Robbins of Denbigh. Brandon Miles writes "Robbins had many strong winning and runner-up performances at major invitationals last fall including a runner-up finish to Foot Locker All-American Kippy Keino of Fork Union at the William & Mary Invitational. In the same race, Robbins defeated eventual state champion Tatu. However after running a season best time of 15:45 at the Peninsula District Meet, Robbins season went downhill after then with a seventh place finish at the Eastern Region Meet (16:48, after coming through the first half mile in about 2:05 and a fourteenth place finish at states (16:32.55). If Robbins can close his junior year of cross country like he opened his sophomore year, he will be one tough contender to defeat. During the track season, Robbins was a state runner-up in the 1600 meter run indoors and earned all-state honors in the 1000-meter run indoors and 1600 meter run outdoors.
1. Steven Walters-Green Run (see above) Senior
2. Derrick Robbins-Denbigh (see above) Junior
3. Adam Hutton-Western Branch-(1600-4:40, 3200-9:52, 5000 CC 16:28) Junior
4. Andrew Midland-Ocean Lakes-(3200-9:56, 5000 CC 16:39) Junior
5. Tona Amatu-Warwick (1600-4:38, 5000 CC 16:41) Senior
6. Jason Myers-Kellam (1600-4:32, 5000 CC 16:56) Senior
7. Kyle Guglielmo-Cox (1600-4:34, 5000 CC-17:02) Senior
8. Liam Arocho-Ocean Lakes (1600-4:44, 3200-10:19c, 5000 Road Racing 16:53)
9. Jason Guy-Churchland (5000 CC 16:50) Senior
10. Chris Ward-Hickory (800-1:56.60, 1600-4:23) Senior
11. Jon Bunker-Landstown (1600-4:40, 3200-10:08,5000 CC-17:25) Sophomore
12. Ryan Workman-Menchville (1600-4:38, 3200-9:58, 5000 CC 17:30) Sophomore
13. Mitch Cooper-Kellam (3200-10:15, 5000 CC 17:30) Junior
14. Long Tran-Oscar Smith (1600-4:40, 3200-10:19, 5000 CC-17:30) Senior
15. Lee Washington-Deep Creek (1600-4:31, 3200-10:18, 5000 CC 17:42) Senior