First major weekend of cross country invitationals after Virginia with almost all teams at least making one race appearance by this Saturday. Brief previews below of each of the eight in-state invitationals this weekend as a few out-of-state meets which will have Virginia schools competing. Knights Crossing Invitational - Some heavyweight matchups including the Blacksburg and Colonial Forge programs for both boys and girls. Add in some top out-of-state squads including Collins Hill of Georgia and Morristown-West of Tennessee. Five of the top 10 ranked girls in the state will be at Green Hill Park in Annie LeHardy (Hidden Valley), Hannah Brown (Blacksburg), Erica Dobbs (Deep Run), Erin Wheeler (Northside), and Haley Cutright (Hidden Valley). Blacksburg and Collonial Forge boys should have many of their top four runners running in the top packs of the field with Blacksburg's George Carter as the top returnee (3rd) from the 2009 Knights Crossing Invite, while Clash with the Titans winner Patrick Woodford (5th in 2009) of Patrick Henry will get an opportunity to match up with fellow top Northwest Region runners from Colonial Forge. Monroe Parker Invitational - Northern Region preview meet with many school's lone opportunity to race at the historic Burke Lake Park 2.98 mile course before the district championships. South Lakes and West Potomac boys will pick up from where they left off in a tight one point team finishing last week at Bull Run, while Thomas Jefferson and West Springfield girls join already a tight team battle saw last week between West Potomac and Lake Braddock with their first races of the season. Sophie Chase of Lake Braddock and Myah Hicks of Thomas Edison both ran under 18 minutes at last year's regional meet and look to start out this season at Burke Lake with sub 18 minute runs. Judges Classic - Region II preview meet with virtually all of the top programs and individuals in attendance at Kernstown Battlefield on Saturday. Can anyone challenge or keep up with the Western Albemarle girls and Mattie Webb? Millbrook's Crystal Nelson and Sullivan Parkes will try. The defending Region II champion Potomac Falls boys have not shown their cards yet without racing, while Western Albemarle, Loudoun County, and Brentsville all have looked strong in the first two weeks of cross country. Tommy Curtin will try to stamp himself as still the runner to beat within Region II while facing a tough field including the likes of Thomas Delaney (John Handley), Derek Armstrong (Western Albemarle), and Juan Campos (Potomac Falls). Fork Union Invitational - Cosby could have a pair of individual runners with Megan Moye and Evan Niciphor as two of the state's top ranked runners to toe the line at FUMA's Hardy National 3 mile course on Saturday. VA #8 ranked Moye will have to contend with sub 11 3200 meter runner Carolyn Hennessey (VA #11) of Herndon, who opened with a strong runner-up finish at the Great Meadow Invite. Niciphor will be in a great showdown with three of the Central Region's best who all are ranked among the top 15 in the state with #10 Silas Frantz of Douglas Freeman, #11 Niciphor, and #13 Andrew Catanese of Atlee. The trio should all press each other to a time well into the 15 minute range. A well packed and VA #13 ranked Mills Godwin girls are the featured team in the meet, while Albemarle girls should challenge them after a respectable second place showing at the Cup on Tuesday. Albemarle, Freeman, Herndon, and private school #1 Trinity will all be competing for top three spots in the boys team standings. Newport News Invitational - The speedway known as Newport News Park should produce some swift 5K times again this weekend with many of the Eastern Region and Hampton Roads area's best racing at the 23rd annual event. Two of the top Eastern Region boys in Jeremy Greenwald of Grassfield and William Brown of Bethel to press each other to potential season opening sub 16 minute 5K performances. Kellam's Sean Helmke and Maggie Walker's Marc Breidenbaugh should not be too far behind the two. Coach Jim Holdren's Maggie Walker squads will be favored to sweep the team titles as they could see a 1-2 finish from Anna Spiers and Rachel Galton in the girls' race. Pole Green Cross Country Classic - Cody Snyder and Bonny Turnage of Lee-Davis look to defend their home turn at Pole Green Park and lead their teams to victories as well. Turnage should get a race from Lafayette's Heidi Peterson, while if Mountain View brings more than their JV runners their top 3 should an honest challenge for Snyder. Eastern Mennonite Invitational -This meet should be a decent collection of Region III schools from the defunct Valley District as well as smaller schools in the Shenandoah Valley. Warren County will be strongly represented by Seumas O'Reilly and Kayla Gibbons as individual pre-race favorite, but defending Group A state champion Katlyn Ayers of Strasburg may be making her season debut here as she did last fall as a big winner over Gibbons. Becky Selfe Invitational - The Lebanon runners lead a good sized meet of small schools in SW VA with individual favorites John Ulrich and Tabitha Arwood, while their boys team will have another face off with the Radford boys as both teams are running for state meet podium places this fall. John S. Battle's Mariah Arnold will be the top favorite over Arwood in the girls' race. PTXC2 - Last year, the Osbourn Park girls had a strong opener in a Pennsylvania which propeled them into a great fall season of racing and look to do the same in 2010 but at a different meet in the second annual invitation of our MileSplit sister site, PennTrackXC.com's cross country invitational. Osbourn Park girls will be racing against three of the top 5 ranked teams in Pennsylvania, while one of the nation's top runners in Aisling Cuffe from New York will certainly be leading the field. Lake Forest Invitational - Oakton's varsity boys and girls compete out of a state for a second straight weekend against Delaware's best. Patrick Henry coach Jeremy Dobrinski brings his squad to his old high school stomping grounds. adidas Seahawk Invitational - Sherando will once again be the lone team from Virginia competing in a meet, which gathers some top schools in NC on a fast and flat course at UNC-Wilmington.
Grassfield racing in lower divisions at NN Invite...
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