A summary of the Virginians competing at the IAAF World Championships this week in Daegu, South Korea.
Park officials wanted runners to know that Pocahontas State Park will be remain closed and off limits through the rest of week due to clean up of downed trees from Hurricane Irene over this past weekend. The earliest which the park might be re-opened for runners to enjoy their great trails as well as the 5K course is Monday, September 5th.
Coaching boys and coach girls can be two totally different styles in this sport. There are some coaches who seem to enjoy much more success coaching one gender over the other as the balance and transition to use different approaches and adapt quickly can be difficult for any coach's natural personality. One coach who has enjoyed steady and consistent success with her girls' team over recent years including a current active streak of four consecutive VISAA division 1 state cross country team titles is Cindy Walls of Bishop O'Connell. Coach Walls appears to strike the right balance with her girls to get the best out of them competitively, but also let them know that she cares about them. Quite a few coaches of the top public school programs in the state often want to ask Coach Walls at the Blue Ridge Running Camp every summer how she does it. Find out in our interview with Coach Walls coming in at #8 on our top 10 high school cross country coaches in Virginia list.
Entry information and updates on the Oatlands Invitational, which will be held two weekends from now on September 17th at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg.
41 points was the magic number for both Blacksburg boys and girls to start their 2011 cross country season with team titles at Hidden Valley's Clash with the Titans. Each squad had worth challengers in their season opener, but four boys and five girls in the top 15 individual places proved Blacksburg to have superior depth to the rest of competition on Saturday.
Despite quite a few teams not able to attend due to the deteoriating weather conditions expected throughout the day with Hurricane Irene working its way up the East Coast on Saturday, a decent group of schools in Northern Virginia were able to make it to Great Meadow for the meet to be held under a revised and condensed race schedule.
The Blacksburg girls have had to deal with the Hidden Valley girls as a thorn in their side for much of the past four cross country seasons, but the Blacksburg boys have remained relatively unchallenged in their neck of the woods at the district and regional level during that same time period. That might all change this fall though with Abingdon emerging as a legitimate contender in the Group AA ranks. They will waste no time facing off this season as both squads open up on Saturday at the Clash with the Titans in Roanoke.
In the virtual meet preview for the Great Meadow Invitational, the Osbourn Park girls and Stafford boys are the top entered teams. Meanwhile, defending Group AAA state champ Hannah Lowery looks to kick off her 2011 season like her 2010 start with a victory at Great Meadow.
The status of this weekend's Great Meadow Invitational held on the hills course of the venue for the VHSL State Cross Country Championships at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia will be announced on Friday by meet director Dave Davis.
The first annual Panther Relays, scheduled for this Saturday at New Quarter Park in Williamsburg, has been cancelled due to the expected inclement weather from Hurricane Irene.
The Runnin' with the Wolves Rocktoberfest is now closed to any new teams entering the meet as the October 15th cross country invitational at Wolf Branch Farm in Forest, Virginia has reached its max capacity of 20 high school schools which have entered and paid in full.
The Ocean Lakes squads, coached by Mike Nestor, have often dispelled the belief that flatlanders cannot run hilly courses through competing well at major invitationals outside of the Tidewater area as well as leading the Eastern Region often with respectable finishes at the state championships at Great Meadow.
The "Top 10 XC Coaches in Virginia" list begins at #10 with actually co-head coaches at Colonial Forge High School in Mike Porter and Sean Leyh. Porter and Leyh, the lone 20-something age coaches on this list.
Updates from meet management of the Maymont X-Country Festival. This year's meet will have a pasta dinner on Friday night and is offering group discount rates to the King's Dominion amusement park.
MileSplit's Todd Grasley recently interviewed Annandale senior Ahmed Bile, who is back after a breakthrough junior year which included state titles in cross country, indoor (1000 meters), and outdoor (1600 meters).
A tentative schedule of meets this upcoming cross country season which MileStat.com will be providing on-site coverage (photos, videos, interviews) at.
The best of the best according to MileStat.com's Brandon Miles as we head into the 2011 cross country season. Find out who has earned the pre-season recognition as the top ranked teams and individuals within the state of Virginia.
Hard to imagine anyone can outrun Foot Locker finalist Ahmed Bile and his lethal kick, while its anyone's guess who will rise as individual champion for the girls among Sophie Chase, Hannah Lowery, and Megan Moye. Both Albemarle and Midlothian seem on a collision course at Great Meadow.
Western Albemarle and Blacksburg boys should battle again for first, while can the Blacksburg girls finally get a break from Hidden Valley and return to championship glory? Group AA's best two runners may come from sparsley populated Warren County (under 40,000 people).
Group A seems to be the most predictable of any classification for the upcoming fall season with both state team champions (Altavista boys & George Mason girls) as well as individual champions (Kaitlyn Ayers & Jon Ulrich) returning in strong positions to defend.
Returning VISAA Division 1 state cross country champions Scott Newton of Collegiate and Hannah Frazier of Bishop Sullivan will attempt not only to become two-time champions, but move on the Woodberry Forest 5K course's all-time list.
Adam Visokay shocked the field in the 3200 meter run at this past June's AAA State Outdoor Championships with a devastating last lap kick to claim his first individual title. Visokay and his Albemarle teammates will look to pull off another upset this fall to become both individual and team champions. Annandale's Ahmed Bile is a returning Foot Locker All-American and will be heavily favored to repeat as state cross country champion again, while the 2010 team champions Midlothian look to be the deepest squad entering the season with a top 7 of runners all having 5K personal bests under 17 minutes. Visokay, who will have a strong top four surrounding him in 2010 All-State cross country finisher Ben Deal, indoor nationals freshmen mile champion Ryan Thomas, and sub 10 minute two miler Chris Springer, will be one of several top returning individuals looking to not make a repeat for Bile easy. Both Midlothian (US #14) and Albemarle (US #18) were ranked in XCNation.com's Top 25 pre-season national team rankings and should be in contention for Nike Cross Nationals berths within the Southeast region.
The "Big Three" in returning Foot Locker finalist Sophie Chase of Lake Braddock, 2011 Group AAA indoor and outdoor 1600 meter state champion Megan Moye of Cosby, and defending AAA state cross country champion Hannah Lowery of Stafford will be one of the most exciting stories for the upcoming 2011 cross country season. All three runners have already accomplished so much, yet will have at least another full year (two years for juniors Chase and Lowery) to add more feats as well as more highly anticipated match-ups with one another. Midlothian, Maggie Walker, and Colonial Forge all shared the state meet podium last November at Great Meadow as the top three finishing teams at the VHSL State Cross Country Championships. It was Midlothian's fifth state title in six years, while Maggie Walker finished as runners-up for the second time to Midlo in recent years and the Colonial Forge girls were the newbies on the podium. The Colonial Forge girls had another strong spring on the track developing their solid core of returnees, while Midlothian girls were fairly quiet with the Johnston sisters (Marie and Kari) doing soccer instead of track. Maggie Walker has the least graduation losses from 2010 among the three podium teams (albeit All-State caliber runner Anna Spiers), but junior Rachel Galton and sophomore Daisy Banta look to fill her shoes together.
The eighth and final day of the AAU Junior Olympic Games includes the finals of the 100, 200, and 400 meter dash as well as All-Star club relays in the 4x100 and 4x400. 2011 Group AAA 400 meter state runner-up Kenneth Wilson of Woodrow Wilson posted a time of 48.49 in the finals of the young men division, which placed him fifth for All-American honors. More highlights...
A list of the top 25 boys' cross country teams in Virginia based on track times (3200 meters & 1600 meters) from the 2011 outdoor season. Sometimes, track times can be a better indicator of a cross country team's success since those performances are more recent to reflect the current level of fitness and development of each team's runners. Lists only show teams with at least five returning runners (no graduation years missing) who have times in the database from this past outdoor season. Midlothian have graduated two All-State caliber runners in Darren Barlow and Brayden Burleigh, but still return a strong core from their 2010 AAA state cross country team including another developing duo to run up front for them in rising juniors Sean Willard and Andrew Gorsuch, who ran 9:36 and 9:46 respectively for 3200 meters as sophomores this past spring.
A list of the top 25 girls' cross country teams in Virginia based on track times (3200 meters & 1600 meters) from the 2011 outdoor season. Sometimes, track times can be a better indicator of a cross country team's success since those performances are more recent to reflect the current level of fitness and development of each team's runners. Lists only show teams with at least five returning runners (no graduation years missing) who have times in the database from this past outdoor season. The Colonial Forge girls are certainly in position to improve upon their third place finish at the state cross country championships with the best group of returning 2 milers (5 at 11:47 or faster) and second best group of returning milers (7 at 5:33 or faster) in the state.
Briar Woods rising senior Shaquera Leach continues to drop her 400 meter time over the summer. Leach had never broken 58 seconds until the AA State Championships in June and in only two months, she is now knocking on the door of breaking 55 seconds. Leach, who broke 56 seconds in late July at the Russell Blunt Invite for the first time late last month, put together an exceptional preliminary race in New Orleans to roll out another impressive PR at 55.05. Leach will the second fastest qualifier in the finals.
Indian River rising senior Shannon Morton (pictured by Ryan Kelly) chopped 5 seconds off her 1500 meter best to win the AAU age group national title in the young women's division with a performance of 4:39.47. Morton had a late start to her track season due to a stress fracture in cross country, but has finished her junior year off strong as an AAU national champion. Morton also posted a 800 meter PR in June at the AAA State Championships with a 6th place time of 2:13.21. Morton may be featured in the mile more in her senior year after her AAU performance, which converts to a 1600 meter time of 4:59. Read more highlights...
The Western Albemarle boys were clipping right on Blacksburg's heels last fall at the VHSL State Championships as they were only 2 points from winning the AA state cross country crown. Western Albemarle heads into this season with more members (4 total) back from their top seven one year ago than Blacksburg (only 2), but Blacksburg saw several of their next group of runners develop nicely over the track season to likely put them back in contention for a state title once again. New contending schools will also be in the mix including last year's surprise 3rd place podium team Loudoun County. Similar to the Western Albemarle boys, Skyline rising junior Thomas Madden was painfully close to a state title himself individually last fall as the 2010 runner-up and will be hungry for his first championship this November. Warren County's Seumas O'Reilly and Cave Spring's Cody Seymour lead a large group of runners looking to challenge.
The Blacksburg girls will be looking back to return to championship glory after being defeated by their district rival Hidden Valley the past two years at Great Meadow with a good crop of young talent surrounding one of the top returning middle distance runners in Virginia, Hannah Brown (2:09 800/4:54 1600). Individually, Crystal Nelson of Millbrook was the most consistent and top performer last fall among all the returnees in Group AA including a 17:49 personal best to finish out at Foot Locker South. Meanwhile, Cave Spring's Katie Fortner will look to continue to progress from her stellar freshmen year breaking 18 minutes for 5K, 11 minutes for 3200, and 5 minutes for 1600. Forter and Brown should battle often in Southwest Virginia this fall, while Powhatan's Rachel Byrd is a darkhorse after a surprising strong finish from the Region I runner last fall when she finished 5th at the state meet. Read more...
Who is Nichelle Scott? A bunch of people may be asking that question seeing the results from the intermediate girls' 800 meter run finals at the AAU Junior Olympic Games, which has a 2:14 national age group runner-up from Chesterfield, Virginia. We actually caught a small glimpse of Scott's talents in the fall running cross country as a freshmen for L.C. Bird High School when she placed 9th in an always competitive girls' race at the Dominion District Championships (pictured above by John Herzog leading the entire field early). Read more highlights from day 5 at AAU JO's (more to come as well)...
Day 4 highlights of Virginians at the 2011 AAU Junior Olympic Games in New Orleans. Advancing onto the finals of the intermediate girls' 100 meter hurdles will be two of Virginia's best young talents in the hurdles between Hampton rising sophomore Chantel Ray and Landstown rising junior Leah Lott. Read more AAU JO day 4 highlights...
MileStat.com feels that many of today's high school runners, have heros, idols, and role models in other professional mainstream sports but often none in the sport which they actually compete in. We will be producing on a bi-weekly if not weekly basis featured interviews introducing today's high school athletes in Virginia to former preps from the state who have went onto be very successful at the next level, whether collegiately, professionally, or both. Our first interview article in this series features Donnie Cowart (formerly Donnie Mikels), a semi-professional runner (runs for Ragged Mountain Racing Team in Charlottesville) currently chasing the Olympic A standard for the 3,000 steeplechase in the European racing circuit this summer.
Preliminary rounds of several running events at the AAU Junior Olympic Games on Monday saw a considerable group of Virginians advancing onto the finals including sub 4:20 miler and rising senior Marquis Worsley (pictured above by John Herzog) of Norview, who squeaked into the finals as the 11th fastest qualifier of 12 finalists in the young men's 800. Worsley will get the opportunity to improve his position in the finals after his preliminary time of 1:57.26. Worsley has a season best time of 1:55.68 from the Eastern Region Championships in May. Read more highlights from day 3 at AAU JO's...
The 2011 MileStat.com Cross Country Invitational will be held Saturday, October 15th once again at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, VA. Confirmed the venue location with park management today and looking forward to hosting another great meet at one of the state's fastest legit 5K courses. We are looking to attract some of the top programs and individuals in the state regardless of classification for our competitive varsity "A" division race. Meet information and online registration can be found below. Read more...
Broad Run rising senior Jonathan Russell recently completed a remarkable stretch of races to wrap up his 2011 outdoor season in competing for Team USA at the World Youth Championships in France earlier in July. Under the direction of his club coach Fenton Hugg, Russell (pictured right by Victah Sailer of photorun.net) took what had already been a breakthrough spring season with two state titles at the AA State Outdoor Championships including breaking a 20 year old meet record in the 300 meter hurdles to another level in the summer months. MileStat.com caught up Russell for an interview after returning stateside from his first international meet experience in France. Read interview with Russell...
The AAU Junior Olympic Games are currently being held this week in New Orleans with several top Virginian preps competing as well as certainly many of tomorrow's high school stars being showcased in the younger age groups. AAU is providing a live webcast as well as on-demand video replays on their website. AAU Live Webcast/On-Demand Video - Live Results - Official Meet Website - MileSplit Meet Page & Coverage
An exciting time of the year as August 1st signifies the first day which Virginia high school coaches can officially meet with their cross country athletes and hold official and organized practices for the upcoming season. While not all teams begin official practices today either by coach's choice or individual school district rules, the vast majority of cross country teams are meeting this morning or evening to kick off their 2011 season officially. All athletes regardless of their team's official practice start day and the number of practices which their team host each day, must attend 20 days (not counting Sundays) of practice prior to that athlete's first cross country race (does not include scrimmages/time trials). Good luck to all starting out this season and coaches please inform your new athletes and team parents to the sport about MileStat.com as a source of information.