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Libby Davidson Takes One For Her Team Dec 22, 2016

By Johanna Grestchel, MileSplit (Nov. 25, 2016)Libby Davidson will be in North Carolina this Saturday for the Foot Locker South Regional. She's a two-time Foot Locker Nationals qualifier and one of the top returners to San Diego, but this year she won't be racing. The E.C. Glass (Virginia) High senior, who will run for the University of Virginia next year, placed just fourth at the Virginia 4A state meet two weeks ago. The placement was unexpected and her time, 18:25, is over a minute slower than her state meet record of 17:12 [broken this year by Kate Murphy in 17:08].  Davidson was supposed to win state this year -- and maybe nationals. She won the Virginia 4A state cross country title as a freshman and sophomore but had to settle for runner-up honors last year behind eventual Foot Locker champion Weini Kelati. This was also supposed to be the E.C. Glass senior's year to go for the Foot Locker title herself after recording sixth place finishes in 2015 and 2014. So when Davidson developed some nagging tendonitis in her hips, she was faced with difficult decision: should she have shut down her season completely, or rest through the VHSL regional and state championships - ultimately, so she could be ready for nationals.  Or, should she have run through the pain and go for broke? Because 2016 is also the year that her team was supposed to win their first state cross country title. Van Porter, the E.C. Glass head coach, said that he never knew the extent of her discomfort. "I may have shut her down for the state meet [if I had known]," he said. "But she was not to be denied. E.C. Glass had never won a state cross country championship and that was one of the few things she hadn't checked off her list. She would have crawled across the finish line and she probably would have still broken 19 minutes." Davidson confirmed via phone last week that her season ended at the state meet. Her doctor gave her tentative approval to run, but she prefers to look ahead to the indoor season and not risk exacerbating the injury. It's a tough break for one of the most consistent distance runners in the nation. But she never reconsidered her decision. "I would never sit out," she said. "I would do whatever I need to do for my team. If me not running meant them not winning, there's no way I wouldn't run. I was ready before that state meet. I was like, 'it's gonna be my day,' and even though it wasn't, to be able to hold that trophy with those girls was the best feeling." In Davidson's freshman year and sophomore years, she won the individual state title while the team placed second. Last fall, Davidson was runner-up to Kelati and the team placed third. This fall is Porter's first as head coach of the cross country program, though he has coached in an assistant role for the past five years. "We knocked on the door of a state title the past three years but we could never get through it," he said. "Our team is mostly mid-distance runners and they do not like running that 5K." E.C. Glass has seen great success from the middle distance crew. The 4x800m relay placed third at New Balance Nationals Indoor in 9:02.96, and No. 5 cross country runner Maddie Rennyson led a 1-2 sweep in the 800m at the outdoor state meet. "It seemed like they were injured and tired by the end," Porter said of past cross country seasons. "This year when we came into the state meet, we were completely fresh and it paid off." All five scorers placed in the top 16 to outpace Loudoun Valley High, 36 to 88 points, and everyone except Davidson set a lifetime best for 5K, including Libby's little sister, freshman Jette, who actually led the beginning of the race. "I couldn't catch up with her, I was so scared!" Libby said. "The funny thing is, someone tripped her at the mile and she went down flat on her face and she got back up and still broke 19!" Jette earned all-state honors with an eighth place finish. Her final time of 18:56 was a 30-second PR. The state meet was a challenging parenting moment for Sarah Davidson, Libby and Jette's mother. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," she said. "As a mother, it was so hard because there's Jette who has just broken 19 and I want to go say, 'good job, baby,' but I'm carrying Libby out of the corral and Jette looks at me and says, 'I just wish Libby was happy.' "I was watching Libby do her warm-ups at state and she's limping. Then I have to turn around and be all peppy, go-go-go! Life's not always fair. It's hard not to feel like you've been punched in the gut as a parent. My friends are like, 'how's Libby?' And I said, 'better than me.' I shed more tears than her." 'Peppy' and 'go-go-go' is actually a pretty accurate way to describe Libby's final minutes of the race. She had long since dropped back from eventual state champion Noel Palmer and her own E.C. Glass teammate Brooke Manion snuck up next to her. "When Brooke was passing me, I was like, 'you got it!' And then she kept talking to me, 'Libby, you gotta catch her!' And I was like, 'no, you gotta catch her!'" Manion placed third and Davidson was fourth; both girls are seniors. Jette and a few other varsity runners from the E.C. Glass state titlist squad will make the trip to McAlpine Park for the Foot Locker South Regionals on Saturday. Libby wasn't sure if she'd be up for the trip, but last week she said she wanted to go. She'll be part of a panel on Friday night featuring several top returning athletes. Without the pressure of having to compete herself, Libby offered her own predictions for nationals: she says fellow Virginian Kate Murphy will win NXN and North Carolina state champion Nevada Mareno will win Foot Locker. Earlier this fall, Libby and Jette accompanied Sarah to Hawaii as their mom qualified and competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. When asked how her athletic accomplishments have influenced her children, Sarah thought for a moment, then said, "Everyone around you has set a goal and put in a lot of hours to meet that goal. The kids see that and they see people cross the finish line with elation in their eyes. "They learn that it's okay to work hard, set a goal and sometimes you make it and sometimes you don't."

Libby Davidson Makes The Ultimate Team Sacrifice Dec 22, 2016

When twinges of an injury started affecting UVA commit Libby Davidson, she put aside her dream of a Foot Locker Nationals title to aid her E.C. Glass to the first Virginia State Championship title in school history.

2016 Virginia State XC Meet Results Merge Nov 12, 2016

All 6 classification races have been completed for the 2016 VHSL State Championships run over 2 days on the same course at Great Meadow. Let's see who truly is the best in Virginia high school cross country in a results merge!

State Meet Preview: 5A and 6A State Virtual Meets Based on Entries Nov 7, 2016

The normal virtual meet function is great but we went ahead and did the work for you. Here are the virtual meets for the teams competing at the state championship meet this weekend. These virtual meets only include the scorers for these races which are the top six teams from each region. 

BREAKING: VHSL Reclassification To Shake Up XC States Nov 14, 2016

Directly because of the reclassification by the VHSL for 2017-2019, the state XC meet is going to look a whole lot different next year. For starters, there will now be four regions per each classification and according to the most recent information, all teams will qualify to regionals.

Results Merge From Day 1 State XC Meet Races (1A-3A) Nov 11, 2016

Results merge from all 3 classification races (3A, 2A, 1A) on the first day of the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships. Updated merge including 4A thru 6A races will come later on Saturday after day two races are completed.

State Meet Preview: 3A and 4A Virtual Meets Based on State Meet Entries Nov 8, 2016

The normal virtual meet function is great but we went ahead and did the work for you. Here are the virtual meets for the teams competing at the state championship meet this weekend. These virtual meets only include the scorers for these races which are the top six teams from each region. 

State Meet Preview: 1A and 2A Virtual Meets Based on State Meet Entries Nov 9, 2016

The normal virtual meet function is great but we went ahead and did the work for you. Here are the virtual meets for the teams competing at the state championship meet this weekend. These virtual meets only include the scorers for these races which are the top six teams from each region.

Meet Previews For All Of This Weekend's State Championships! Nov 11, 2016

A total of 9 major state championships this weekend across the country and below can find virtual meet previews for each race in the state meets in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.  MileSplit will be on-site at all of these meets with coverage!

Never Too Early: Top 500 Returning XC Boys' Rankings Nov 14, 2016

Four of the six state champions return for next XC season. Here are the full rankings for the 500 best returning athletes. Price Owens leads the group on time but it is definitely Peter Smith and Peter Morris at the top of this list.

McArthur & Murphy BOTH Return As Champions, Who Will Win Two? Aug 30, 2016

It is truly a once in a lifetime event this year. VA has two of the best distance runners in the entire nation and both are defending state 6A Champions... that's right! Both are coming off of winning state meet performances with Kate Murphy winning last year and Rachel McArthur winning the year before. Both have not lost on Great Meadow in at least a year.

Libby Davidson Runs Thru Tendonitis For Team Title Nov 13, 2016

Libby Davidson is a beast. She is a two time state champion and also now holds the second fastest time ever at states. At the start of the season this was going to be a huge year for her. It was her chance to win that Foot Locker title and also to reclaim her 4A State title. But most of all she wanted that team title for E.C. Glass.

Will Deep Run Defeat GCM & Tusky for the 5A Girls XC Title? Aug 9, 2016

This upcoming cross country season could be more exciting than last and even more exciting than the boys' nail biter of a finish between three teams. The teams at play this year for the girls' 5A crown are Deep Run, Tuscarora, George C. Marshall, Hickory and Albemarle.

States' Top 500 Boys' Performances All-Time Nov 5, 2016

States has always been a huge meet for Virginia. It culminates each season on a fair course and for years has squared the best competition against each other. Check out the top 500 performances all-time at the state meet.

Boys Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #9 Alec Schrank Sep 1, 2016

Racing against Andrew Hunter for your entire post-season has its ups and downs. We aren't going to sugar coat it at all, Alec was definitely overshadowed by the nation's best distance runner the past couple years. If that wasn't enough he also had a stellar teammate, Tyler Cox-Philyaw, who was a superstar too.

Will Libby Davidson & Grafton Grasp The 4A Girls Titles? Aug 23, 2016

Year after year E.C. Glass superstar Libby Davidson keeps surprising us with more and more talent. Last year she finished as All-American at Foot Locker Nationals and also was national runner-up indoors. This season she is in it to win it at Foot Locker Nationals. 

Fifth Men & Women: The Difference Makers Nov 10, 2016

The best and most difficult about winning a XC team title is the fact that it takes five runners. It makes it the most true team state championship of our three seasons. Here are the the top 20 rankings for both boys and girls ranking 5th runners. That means, these rankings removed the top four athletes from all the teams in the state. To view the full rankings click the links below.

States' Top 500 Girls' Performances All-Time Nov 5, 2016

States has always been a huge meet for Virginia. It culminates each season on a fair course and for years has squared the best competition against each other. Check out the top 500 performances all-time at the state meet.

Boys Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #12 Conner Prosser Aug 20, 2016

There are few teams in the entire state of Virginia that have quite the tradition that Brentsville has when it comes to XC. They are trained on the hills and always show up at Great Meadow ready to bring home some hardware. Conner's team enters the preseason ranked #12 in 3A but we have a strong suspicion that they are going to move up a whole lot before it is all said and done.

Kate MURPHy Sets State Record in Final States Race! Nov 16, 2016

Knowing how talented and stacked the girls 6A race was it was no surprise that the race went fast. Though it was stacked, one athlete just showed that on that day she was the best ever. Lake Braddock Secondary senior and Oregon commit Kate Murphy blew past the field the final mile and went on to run a state meet and course record of 17:08.

Peter Smith No Longer 'Sneaky Pete' He's A Favorite Now! Nov 8, 2016

Just two months ago it was looking like Peter Smith was on the verge of becoming a big name in our sport. The performances were there last outdoor season giving off the clue that he was going to make a big step in the right direction this season.

3A Girls State Virtual Meet & Preview: Will Blacksburg Make It 6 In A Row? Aug 17, 2016

There is only one thing a team can do after setting a state record and that is to set another one. Last season the Bruins of Blacksburg set the state record for team scores with 23 points. This actually equalled their 2014 performance as well which is then also joined by Western Albemarle's 1993 performance.

Blacksburg & Fleming Trying To Reassert 3A Dominance Aug 18, 2016

Nothing is as tough as losing a team title by four points. Four points that equaled just four seconds on the state XC course. Blacksburg's boys suffered that loss last season but it looks like it only made them better competitors.

Boys Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #7 Dan Horoho Sep 6, 2016

Dan definitely didn't open this season like he wanted to but that isn't going to deter him. Last XC season he improved 58 seconds on his personal best and if he even dropped half that much this year he would be one of the biggest stars in the state.

Girls Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #11 Sophia Link Sep 5, 2016

This season is a complete anomaly when it comes to returning state champions. For eight state championship races we have a staggering eight returning champions and none are younger or have the ability to sweep like Sophia Link.

The Boys' Green Dragon Sweep Aug 22, 2016

Last season it was no surprise to see Maggie Walker atop the podium again and with the defending individual state champion, Ryan Buscaglia, returning for the Green Dragons it looks like there will be no surprises this year either. 

Girls Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #9 Devon Williams Sep 6, 2016

Often not having the performance you want when you need it most is the best thing to happen to you. Senior Devon Williams may have a great chance though to make flip the script this year and have a monster performance at the state meet.

Khloe Pointer & Maggie Walker Look To Be On Point This Year Aug 22, 2016

Just like the boys' competition, the girls competition looks to be all about the Green Dragons of Maggie Walker. They are led by 2014 State Champion and 2015 State Runner-up, Khloe Pointer. If she gets back into great shape then we can expect a sub 18:00 performance by the senior and a dominant season from her in 2A. 

Boys Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #14 Peter Smith Aug 18, 2016

Our second guy on our top 15 countdown is another athlete hailing from 6A South, Peter Smith. Though he would likely say he is more of an 1600m runner with his 4:19 personal best, we think he has a ton of untapped potential in the 5K this year.

Will Auburn End Radford's Four Peat? 1A Girls Preview Aug 17, 2016

They were more than close last year coming just 12 points away from a team title sweep but this year Auburn enters stronger than ever. Sophomore Caitlin Dominy will lead Auburn into Great Meadow with a great chance to do what her older brother did in 2015 in winning the individual and team title.

Boys Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #4 Saurav Velleleth Sep 7, 2016

Saurav enters this season with a weight off his shoulders. This past indoor season Saurav was victorious in a nail-biter in the 3200. This marked his first state title and moving forward has allowed him to focus on one thing, getting faster.

Girls Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #5 Emma Wolcott Sep 7, 2016

It wasn't Weini Kelati who had the biggest breakout year in 2015, it was definitely Emma Wolcott. She took down the entire 5A field and shattered some meet records in the process. The most impressive of those was the old Oatlands course record.

Girls Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #4 Heather Holt Sep 7, 2016

Heather has shown us a lot of speed in the past year and amazing performances at nearly any distance but this year isn't necessarily about time, it is about place and that is going to make it a very fun race.

Girls Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #8 Samantha Marin Sep 6, 2016

Samantha has high hopes entering the season and a whole lot of accolades to her name. She enters the season as the fastest 3A returner and was third in last year's race. She has a best of 18:05 and a whole lot of speed entering this season.

Boys Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #6 Price Owens Sep 6, 2016

Owens has been excelling at track and XC for quite some time and has visibly improved each season. Though he is making steps in the right direction, he is definitely going to have to really step up this season with some of the toughest competition in the entire nation in his own region.

Boys Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #10 Ben Fleming Aug 25, 2016

Finishing in second place by the slimmest of margins can be one of the greatest things to happen to you as an underclassman. This happened to Ben quite a few times his junior year both in XC and track as a team. Those places may have been brutal to endure but entering the season it looks like it could pay itself off.

Girls Top 15 XC Returning Countdown: #14 Casey Kendall Aug 25, 2016

Casey is not just a time-trial runner, she competes well on the hilly courses just as much as she does on the time-trial fast courses. With Oakton likely racing Albemarle and some other tough courses, it will be evident from an early date that Casey is one of the best runners in the state.

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