True cross country weather and course conditions greet runners at Great Meadows

THE PLAINS, VA -- A steady downpour of rain that started yesterday and continued throughout today made Saturday\'s Octoberfest Invitational at Great Meadows a mud slop-fest as two over flowing creek crossings and long stretches of mud and puddles made for tough race conditions for the high school runners throughout the day. Not a day for anyone to run a personal best, but some outstanding performances were recorded throughout the day.

Northside senior Catherine White took the \"A\" girls race in a time of 19:08.07, but more impressive was James River junior Kristen Wolfe only finishing nine seconds off the Foot Locker All-American in a time of 19:17.81. For White, it was second invitational victory in three days as she won the Metro Invitational on Thursday at Green Hill Park in 18:26.

Wolfe was never a threat to White as she trailed in second at a distance for much of the race, but ended up finishing not far behind the race winner and well ahead of third place Laura Rapp of Heritage (Lynchburg), who has been running exceptional this fall. With defending AAA state champion Rachel Rose\'s return this season very questionable after suffering a stress fracture, Wolfe has positioned herself well to win a second state title after winning the 1000 meter title indoors as a freshmen.

Rapp, who won the bronze division last weekend at Maymont, finished third at Octoberfest in 19:43.47.

Brooke Point senior Brittany Copeland (19:50.28) held off Chantilly sophomore Lia DiValentin as the last runners to run under 20 minutes on a sloppy day for fourth and fifth place finishes, while Albemarle sophomore Liz Barclay could have had one of the best races on the day in winning the \"B\" race that followed the \"A\" race with the course more torn up in 20:08.28.

Radford junior Nathan Brame pulled away from the field midway to come away with a 17:10 victory in the \"A\" race with Manchester senior Andrew Duty charging hard into a second place run of 17:16. Brame beat several of the state\'s best runners last weekend at Maymont in finishing seventh overall and ahead of the likes of Fork Union\'s Axel Mostrag and Blacksburg\'s Pete Dorrell. Brame defeated another strong class of the state\'s best at Great Meadows including Mountain View sophomore Thomas Porter (8th, 17:24.98).

Octoberfest was Duty\'s second invite runner-up finish this fall as he started off his season with a second place run at the Fork Union Invitational to Fork Union\'s Mostrag as Duty figures to be one of the top runners in the Central Region this fall behind defending champion Jason Witt of Midlothian.

Washington-Lee senior Chris Tyson had not lived up to his high preseason exceptations after running a 9:28 3200 and 15:40 5K on the track last spring, but his third place run of 17:19.78 on Saturday was certainly a first step to put his season in the right direction.

Harrisonburg\'s Bryant Clopper won out in a close finish among the top finishers from AA as Clopper, Turner Ashby\'s Alex Ott, and Spotswood\'s Bobby Heitz all finished less than second from each other with Clopper leading the Valley District trio in fourth place (17:20.16), Ott in fifth (17:20.54), and Heitz in sixth (17:20.92).

Maryland\'s best in Quince Orchard (142 pts) as well as NTN Southeast #9 ranked squad knocked off SE #7 Thomas Jefferson (161 pts) for the \"A\" boys team title in a close battle that could be even closer than the current results show. Problems in the chute caused a delay of the \"A\" boys team scores being available to coaches and still appear to have some issues.

Coach Matt Ryan\'s boys from Thomas Jefferson were led once again by another strong individual run from Paul Norland in seventh place at 17:24.26. Richard Prevost had a top 25 finish in 24th place (18:03.92), while defending AAA 1000 meter indoor state champion Taylor Bostick stepped up with his best cross country race in the #3 spot in 27th place (18:07.22).

The next group of Thomas Jefferson runners struggled to keep the time gap down with James Komen (46th, 18:25.31) and Aiden McHugh (67th, 18:41.45) rounding out a top five for the SE #7 squad. Bostick stepping it up was a positive sign for Thomas Jefferson though if the rest of the team can bring their \"A\" game when it matters even if top runner Brian Landry is unable to return this season.

Quince Orchard coach Seann Pelkey knew his team needed to venture south to face competition in Virginia with his top ranked Maryland squad having NTN aspirations. At Octoberfest, Quince Orchard at least faced one of the handful of NTN caliber Virginia squads in Thomas Jefferson and came out as the winner. Only 34 seconds separated their top five as their top two finished right together in David Laratta (21st, 17:55.74) and Reagan Lynch (22nd, 17:56.31). Neal Darmody (28th, 18:07.22) and Greg Bove (33rd, 18:07.22) were not far behind with top 35 finishes. Artem Panasenkov rounded out the top five in 50th place (18:29.86).

Quince Orchard and Thomas Jefferson will go at it once again next Saturday at the Glory Days Grill Invitational at Bull Run Regional Park as other top teams such as West Springfield and Clarke County will be running at full strength there also.

The Northern Region took three of the top four team places in the \"A\" girls\' race with James Robinson (151 pts) finishing ahead of higher ranked AAA squads Langley (2nd, 178 pts) and Maggie Walker (3rd, 195 pts).

Stephanie Bray led Coach Jeremy Workman\'s girls from James Robinson with a 12th place run of 20:29.65, while teammate Monika Criman also dipped under 21 minutes in 22nd place at 20:44.73. Kelley Kavanaugh (31st, 21:03.53), Anne Hovland (37th, 21:13.77), and Ashley Swim (65th, 21:47.68) rounded out the scoring five for victorious Lady Rams. A great day for James Robinson considering they were not even ranked in the top ten in AAA and defeated AAA #4 ranked Langley and AAA #9 ranked Maggie Walker on Saturday.

Both Langley (178 pts) and Maggie Walker (195 pts) were not far off in second and third places Langley had two top 20 finishers in the form of sisters in Lauren Shaw (14th, 20:30.44) and Carolyn Shaw (19th, 20:41.03). Meanwhile, Maggie Walker were paced by a strong individual performance from sophomore Susannah Piersol in eighth place at 20:14.14.

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