CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- A total of 43 schools will be in attendance at the 2006 Albemarle Invitational to be held at Panorama Farms 5K course in Charlottesville, Virginia this Saturday. The meet has its share of local Charlottesville area talent entered in the meet as well others including Northwest Region teams looking to get a preview of their regional meet course.
The meet will feature the bottom third of the top ten ranked teams in the state on the boys' side as this fall has been especially deep than most years in this area. Western Albemarle at #8, Fork Union at #9, and new top ten team Mountain View at #10 lead all entries. Western Albemarle picked up their first finish ahead of their Charlottesville area rival Fork Union at the Maymont Festival with a sixth place finish in Richmond after suffering two early season defeats to the Blue Devils of FUMA. With AA top ranked Brentsville suffering their first defeat of the season at Disney last weekend to Hermitage, a team which Western Albemarle had defeated the week before at Maymont, the faith is still there among Coach Lindy Bain's crew to make a run for the AA state crown in November.
Fork Union had by far their worst team performance of the season at Maymont after having high hopes of potentially becoming one of Southeast Region's Nike Team Nationals representatives based off their early season result. However, as many saw last week with Hermitage going from eighth at Maymont to defeating the Southeast Region's second ranked team in Brentsville, a team can quickly right the direction of their ship this fall. Unfortunately for Fork Union, Maymont was their only opportunity to face that kind of high quality competition this season as they will conclude their season after Albemarle with lesser competitive Prep League Championships and Virginia Independent Schools State Championships.
Mountain View, only in the school's second year of existence, has quickly became a force in AAA's Northwest Region as they are coached by one of the state's best in Dave Davis, who previously coached at Forest Park. At last weekend's Octoberfest Invitational at Great Meadows, Mountain View finished third in the team scoring behind two Nike Team Nationals Southeast ranked squads in Quince Orchard of Maryland and Thomas Jefferson. In the process, Mountain View also beat some of the toughest competition it will face in the region this fall from the likes of Forest Park and Osbourn Park. Currently, Mountain View is ranked #6 in AAA, while Forest Park sits at #8 and Osbourn Park at #9.
Preview of a Region II teams dogfight
Albemarle will be a great preview to see who will be getting out of the always competitive AA Region II Meet as currently the region has six teams ranked in the top seven in AA. Four of those squads will be featured at Panorama Farms with AA #3 Western Albemarle, AA #4 John Handley, AA #5 Louisa County, and AA #6 Heritage.
John Handley is a squad that has had two shaky team performances in a row after rolling through victories in early September at the James Wood Invitational and Judges Classic. Handley looked to have been a darkhorse after those two races, but after finishing third at the William & Mary Invitational behind Fork Union and current AA #2 Jamestown and then finishing eight last weekend at Octoberfest (Unofficially finishes higher due to results discrepancies), the team has to start worry less about if they can make it on the top three state meet podium, but instead if they can qualify out of the region for states. Heritage of Leesburg is now breathing down their neck in the region for the final spot after finishing sixth officially at Octoberfest last Saturday and little behind them points-wise unofficially.
Another team that has been making noise this season in Region II is Louisa County, who turned in two consecutive third place finishes to Fork Union and Western Albemarle early in the season at the Ragged Mountain Cup and Fork Union Invitational. The Lions have been led by one of the more pleasant surprise stories of the fall in Ehab Hoffman, who finished 101st place with a time of 18:25 at last year's Region II Meet, yet now finds himself ranked seventh in AA after a string of breakthrough races this fall. Hoffman won the Woodberry Forest Invite in 16:47 and also earned top five finishes at the Fork Union Invitational and gold division race at Maymont.
What is going to be a shame is the fact there is likely to be several teams ranked in the top ten in AA this fall that will not be making it to the state meet as the numbers of schools and quality of teams is unequally concentrated in Region II. A team such as Sherando, who finished third at last year's state meet, is ranked tenth in AA currently and will have to scramble fast to pull something out at the Region II Meet to make a return trip to the state meet.
Mostrag and Porter looking to redeem themselves with win at Albemarle
The chances are good that the individual winner at Albemarle will get a redeeming performance out of a victory at Panorama. The reason that those chances are good is because two of the most talented runners in the field in Fork Union senior Axel Mostrag and Mountain View sophomore Thomas Porter have not lived up to their billing this fall. Mostrag, a national runner-up for 800 meters last year and returning with some of the fastest times in the nation in several middle distance events, figured to really breakthrough on the 5K course this fall and tap into his true potential in the sport. His win at Fork Union was fairly promising to open the season, but there was not necessarily a true stud individual in the race. Mostrag then encountered two humbling performances to finish out the month of September as he finished third at the William & Mary Invitational and eighth at Maymont to some lesser ranked opponents.
Porter has had a similar path this season after simply toying with the field in a opener invite win at the Chancellor Invitational in Fredricksburg. Porter, one of the nation's best freshmen distance runners had great expecations for this season as possibly are state's next high profile runner on the national level. However, he has encountered some growing pains thus far this fall with a fifth place at the Great Meadows Invite, fourth place at the Oatlands Invite, and recent eighth place at the Octoberfest Invite. He has ran well in smaller fields with lesser competition this fall as shown by victories at Chancellor, Emry-Riddle, and FLS All-Area Meet, but has yet to come up with his first win against a larger field with serious competition.
The cross country season is still young for both Mostrag and Porter, but we are now into the second half of the season and a victory at Albemarle could get the ball rolling for both heading into championship season.
Other top individuals in the field include Covenant's Austin Ellis, Harrisonburg's Bryant Clopper, Turner Ashby's Alex Ott. Louisa's Hoffman, Spotswood's Bobby Heitz. Ellis is the top returnee from last year's race in which he finished third with a time of 16:25 and ahead of Mostrag (16:27) in fourth.
Which AAA team can find themselves on the state meet podium in November?
As Albemarle will be a preview meet for the battle that will be waged among Region II boys in a few weeks at their regional meet, there will another clash between several AAA girls' teams who all have solid chances of slipping into third place at Great Meadows in November with NTN ranked Midlothian and Lake Braddock looking tough to knock out of the top two places. The Albemarle Invite will feature four of the top ten ranked teams in AAA currently including AAA #3 Colonial Forge, AAA #4 Douglas Freeman, AAA #7 Langley, and AAA #9 Maggie Walker.
The matchup between Colonial Forge and Douglas Freeman will be especially keyed as there was not much separation between the two teams in the invitational division at Maymont two weeks ago as only 15 points put Colonial Forge ahead of Douglas Freeman in sixth in Richmond. Colonial Forge will be the favorites to win at Panorama on Saturday as will also be the case in several weeks when the Northwest Region Meet is held there as well.
Langley has been a surprise team this year and may do something this fall they have not done in a while in qualifying for the state meet out of the always fiercely competitive Northern Region Meet. Currently ranked #7 in AAA and #9 in the state, there are a total of three teams from their region ranked ahead of them, so they can not afford to slip any more further.
Langley finished second at last weekend's Octoberfest Invitational behind regional rival James Robinson and Maggie Walker was close behind in third as they will also be in the team hunt at Albemarle. Maggie Walker has had success in the Central Virginia area already this fall after winning the Fork Union Invitational in September and hopes to have the same success on Saturday.
Group A's Hagadone wants to prove she can run with AAA's best, Rose's injury leaves Northwest title up for grabs
While currently unranked among the top 15 individuals in the state, Buffalo Gap senior Mariah Hagadone probably should be as she is easily forgotten among the girls from larger schools that compete in big meets every weekend, but she has shown she can run with the best when given the opportunity.
The meet will feature two girls currently ranked in the top 15 in the state in Albemarle sophomore Elizabeth Barclay and Brooke Point senior Brittany Copeland. Hagadone beat out Copeland for a second place at the Chancellor Invite in early September and is the top returnee from last year's Albemarle Invite with a runner-up finish (19:37) in 2005. A finish ahead of either or both could reaffirm Group A #2 ranked Hagadone back into the top 15.
The next best returnee happens to be Barclay, who finished third in the 2005 Albemarle Invite. Barclay has been running exceptional thus far this fall. Barclay has been picking up the load ever since her teammate and defending AAA state champion Rachel Rose suffered a stress fracture last month as took two runner-up finishes to her teammate at Fork Union and Woodberry Forest before running a 18:57 5K at Maymont on a challenging course layout to finish fifth against tough competition as well as 16 seconds off returning AAA state runner-up Sarah Hadiji of W.T. Woodson. Barclay also had a solid showing also last weekend at Great Meadows in the Octoberfest Invite by winning the "B" race all alone in a time of 20:08 in muddy and slow course conditions.
After being outkicked by Hagadone for second at Chancellor, Copeland has done her share of kicking as well as shown in last weekend's Octoberfest Invite as she held off Chantilly's Lia DiValentin for fourth place. Copeland should be very race sharp by now as she has raced in an invitational every single weekend since Chancellor. One of her best races thus far was a second place finish at the Oatlands Invite two weekends ago in a season best time of 19:06 for 5K.
Who is the best in the Northwest is the question now with defending regional champion Rachel Rose's status questionable as far as a return this fall. Her absence leaves the door wide open for others to step up. Three of the region's best runners will be facing off Saturday with Barclay, Copeland, and Colonial Forge junior Kaylan Comer.
Comer has been a regional runner-up in the Northwest for the past two years and would like nothing better than to claim her first regional title this fall. Comer started off her junior season with an impressive 20:04 5K victory at the Chancellor against solid competition including the likes of Hagadone and Copeland. Comer also had a strong third place run (18:50) at the William & Mary Invitational to finish just ahead of Copeland (4th, 18:51) on the 3.05 mile course at Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg. However, Barclay defeated her by a fairly decent margin of 36 seconds at Maymont in the invitational race. She would definitely like to even up the score with Barclay on Saturday.
The first races of the day start at 1:00 PM as the race schedule is later start due to SAT testing date conflicts. The top races of the day in the varsity races will go off at 3:15 PM with the varsity boys and at 3:45 PM with the varsity girls. More meet information is found below.
Albemarle High School Cross Country Invitational 2006
|Meet Date:||Saturday, October 14th.|
|Postponement:||In case of dangerous weather (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods...) we will post-pone the meet until Tuesday, Oct. 17th, with J.V. races starting at 4:30; Varsity at 5:30.|
Directions to the Albemarle Cross Country Course at Panorama Farms
The Key is to get onto Route 29 North or South
If you are coming from the North down to Charlottesville:
- Follow 29 South until you get to the turn off toward the Charlottesville/ Albemarle Airport.
- Take a RIGHT at the traffic light off of 29 South on to Route 649 towards the airport.
- Take a LEFT onto Route 606 at the STOP SIGN in front of the airport.
- Take a LEFT at the next STOP onto Route 743.
- After going 1.5 miles on Route 743 take a RIGHT onto Route 844 - PANORAMA Road. (note Panorama Road is as the end of 1/4 mile of tall pine trees parrelling Route 743 on your right) If you find yourself crossing a bridge over a lake you have gone too far and need to turn back the way you came.
- Go straight down Panorama Road .75 miles and you will enter the farm. (there is a sign for the farm).
- Stay straight on the road and you will cross a one lane wooden bridge + cattle guard. Go up the hill and when the road reaches a "T" turn to your left.
- Follow the directions of the parking attendents.
If you are coming up to Charlottesville from the South using Interstate 64 or 29 North:
- Take exit 118 (from the east) off of Interstate 64 onto Route 29 NORTH.
- Take the third exit onto 29 NORTH directing toward Washington.
- You will immediately pass through 2 stoplights which are very close together. Move toward the LEFT lane after the second light.
- Go one more traffic light (the third light after coming off of the exit), and take a LEFT onto HYDRAULIC ROAD (Route 743).
- You will pass Albemarle High School (on your left), go approximately one mile past the school.
- Take a LEFT at the fourth traffic light onto EARLYSVILLE Road (this is still Route 743).
- Travel 2 MILES on Earlysville Road (743) and take a LEFT onto PANORAMA Road - ROUTE 844. (Note: Panorama Road is only a hundred yards beyond the end of a long white board fence on your left at a home called Arborwood. This is nota big road and it is kind of hidden by trees.
- Go straight down Panorama Road .75 miles and you will enter the farm. (there is a sign for the farm).
- Stay straight on the road and you will cross a one lane wooden bridge + cattle guard. Go up the hill and when the road reaches a "T" turn to your LEFT
- Follow the directions of the parking attendents.
|Events & Schedule & FEES:||11:45||Course opens, maps available, no tours given|
|12:00||High School packet pickup|
Open 5K race for anyone other than high school athletes ($15 per person)
8th - 9th grade - Girl's Developmental 3k Race ($10.00 for the team)
8th - 9th grade Boy's Developmental 3k Race ($10.00 for the team)
|2:30||Girl's J.V. Race ($20.00 for the team)|
|3:15||Boy's Varsity Race ($40.00) Only seven are allowed to run.|
|3:45||Girl's Varsity Race ($40.00) Only seven are allowed to run|
|4:30||Boy' J.V. Race ($20.00 for the team)|
If you enter all the divisions then the fee is $120. Checks made out to Albemarle High School.
|Entries:||Complete the entry form and send it in with your entry fee. We will be limiting the number of teams to THIRTY this year. The sooner you get your entries in the the better. ONCE you are officially entered, the fees will not be refunded. Make your checks out to "Albemarle High School". Once we have the form and your check you are entered in the meet. Your team rosters must be submitted via e-mail to Lance Weisend at <Lweisend@k12albemarle.org> by Friday, October 6th. You DO NOT have to declare who is in your top SEVEN for the varsity race. All we need is a list of you male athletes with their grade levels and female athletes with their grade levels. (see the explanation below). Once we receive your mailed entries we will reply with a confirmation that you are all set.|
Must be emailed to Coach Weisend by Friday, Oct. 6th in the format below with the boys and girls names listed separately. It helps if they are listed alphabetically as well. Be sure to include the name of your school.
School Name - Boys
1. Last Name, First Name - Grade
Albemarle High - Boys
1. Adams, John 9
2. Bailey, Tom 12
|Coaches Instructions:||Please read the detailed Instructions for Coaches|
|Concessions:||Food will be available at the meet including hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza.|
|T-Shirts:||Meet T-Shirts will be sold for $15.00 for short sleeves, and $20.00 for Long Sleeves.|
|Parking:||$5.00 per car. (excluding runners and coaches).|
|Questions or Problems:||