Top 15 Moments in VHSL XC State Championship history during the Era: #15-12

Moment #15 - Girl forgets national anthem (2003)

I wanted this to be on this list somewhere but I didn’\'t want it to actually bump down any legit performances. That being said, anyone who was the the State Meet in 2003 would have to agree that this was pretty funny. I’\'m not saying I could sing better than the girl but please if that’s your thing, don\'’t forget the words! That’s like the runners lining up and forgetting to put their spikes on or stopping at the after two miles instead of three (which actually I think Derrick Robbins did something similar to that at his regional meet one year). The girl was obviously nervous so we can cut her some slack. She did however sort of bring everyone was sort of touching. After she faltered once, backed up, faltered again, backed up, and faltered a third time she seemed almost in tears when a brave announcer told all the runners and fans to “help her out” and we all sang the national anthem in unison. It was beautiful. But hey it’s not the worst thing that could happen. Does anyone remember the girl before the Portland Trail Blazers game a few years ago who forget the national anthem? That one ended well too with coach Maurice Cheeks stepping out onto the court to help pick the girl up. Isn’\'t it beautiful when we all come together?

Moment #14 - Siragusa Surprises Some, Fulfills Potential (2005)

As a junior, Chantilly\'’s Brad Siragusa finished 5th at the State Meet, 17th in the Footlocker South seeded race in 15:30, and was poised as the 6th fastest returner for the South Region for his senior year. Cap that off with a 9:17 PR in the two mile his junior year and all of Virginia was hailing Siragusa to be the fall of 2005’\'s top Harrier. Then he had some trouble. While he started the season off with a strong win at the Monroe Parker Invite, he then found trouble grabbing a victory. He finished second to Herndon\'’s Abe Daganchew at the Oatlands Invite in his next meet, then a few weeks later lost again to Daganchew and star rising Mike Spooner at the Bull Run Invitational. How many runners do you know that place 3rd in their district meet and still can win a state championship? Not many. Siragusa continued to not be able to knock off Daganchew and now Oakton’\'s James Phillips could add the Chantily senior to his victim\'s list. The next week at the Northern Region Meet, it wasn\'’t Phillips and Daganchew who beat Siragusa but their teammates Ermin Mujezinovic and Matt Kroetch, while Spooner went on to claim the overall crown. Heading into the state championships, Siragusa had fallen all the way down to a #7 ranking in AAA and many were considering this generous with Wilhelm, Witt, and Phillips running exceptionally well behind him. However, Siragusa\'’s only other win that fall had come at the Octoberfest Invitational where the site of the VHSL State Meet is held. Although not the exact same course, runners usually have similar success at the location. Siragusa got the last laugh on Spooner and all his other opponents with his 15:21 victory, four seconds ahead of Virginia’\'s top ranked runner going into the weekend festivities. Siragusa then showed the Commonwealth what true peaking is as he went on three weekends later to claim 6th in the Footlocker South Regional seeded race in a PR time of 15:00 to qualify for nationals.

Moment #13 - Sherbak\'s State Championship (2003)

Natalie Sherbak’\'s victory in 2003 is perhaps one of the most overlooked performances in recent years. We all know the stereotype and with some evidence to back it up that the rest of the state has on Eastern Region runners when it comes to tackling the hills at Great Meadows. Sherbak eliminated this with one huge victory. In 2003, Sherbak won the AAA State Meet over Katie Read, future Footlocker Finalist Melissa Dewey, freshman star Catherine Lynn, future Footlocker Finalist Beth Fahey, and a sizzling but semi-injured Amanda Patterson. Not only did she beat these girls, her time of 18:37 was the best of the day in any race. That year the AA girls had the reputation of being the state\'’s best with Emily Harrison, Jessica Fanning, Tasmin Fanning, Jennifer Beury, and Kirsten Hagen. Sherbak was ranked #12 in the Cream of the Crop girls poll going into the weekend where she became queen. She wouldn\'’t be the only upset from the state meet weekend of 2003 as we’ll see later in the countdown.

Moment #12 - Let The Good Times Roll (2005)

A course full of history was changed due to construction at Great Meadows in 2005 and as a result, “the good times rolled”. Literally. The reason behind the drastic time changes is still a bit of a mystery, some even say the course could be a bit short, however being a VHSL sanctioned meet nevertheless a state championship, many believe that to be unlikely. Regardless of the reason, if is apparent that the course change played a large roll in last year\'’s VHSL State Meet. How many times in years past could you look at a MileStat profile and find the VHSL State Championship race to be a runner’\'s PR? How many times could you compare the VHSL State Meet results to Footlocker South and find the majority of runners actually running slower at the infamously fast McAlpine Park in North Carolina? Some years runner\'s race 45 seconds to a minute faster at FLS than at States. Was Siragusa really only 10 seconds slower than Bobby Lockhart who would later finish runner-up at Footlocker Nationals? The top 64 places in the AAA boys\' race broke 17 compared to only 40 in a very deep 2003 field with similar weather conditions. There is no doubt there was great talent in the state last year, but anyone who thinks the course change didn\'’t drastically change some times are kidding themselves.