The 2007 St. Joseph's Villa 5K had a record number of entries and the larger field certainly brought greater competition as both course records also went down in the women's and men's race. Jackie Kosakowski, 24, a graduate of William & Mary currently residing in Richmond, won the women's race by a wide margin ahead of four-time champ Katie Hedley, a former Hermitage High runner now at the College of Charleston, in a time of 18:42. Hedley took runner-up honors at 20 minutes flat.
Maggie Walker junior Susannah Piersol (pictured right by John Herzog) was the top high school finisher in the race with a time of 20:10 as she beat her father's time by 22 seconds in a battle within the race for the Piersol household. Coach Jim Holdren's girls were well represented up front with Maggie Walker senior Abbey Thibeault looking very fit in a fifth place finish of 21:17.
Lee-Davis girls also had a pair in the top ten with sophomore teammates Amanda Lineberry (6th, 21:25) and Stephanie Cario (9th, 22:18).
Dakota McManus, the talented 11 year old from Williamsburg, who has been tearing up the road racing circuit this summer, took fourth in 20:30 on the 5K course, which does not run on the fast side typically. McManus is rumored to be attending Walsingham in the fall, which would make her an immediate force on the private school state scene this fall in cross country if such is the case.
The high school contingent found at the St. Joseph's Villa was predominantly from the Richmond area and especially north of the James River, but recent graduate of Fairfax High in Natalie Auble did not mind making the trek down I-95 South to race in a true summer cross country 5K race against a high school heavy field. Auble, who will be competing at Longwood University in the fall under a new head coach, took eight place honors.
Hermitage alum Cary Chaffee was not on hand to win his fourth St. Joseph's Villa title, but his VCU teammates Stephan Mutasiya and Guy Alton were present to set the pace up front and leave the high school runners in the dust early on. The result was a course and meet record win for Mutasiya in 15:50 and Alton trailing in second at 16:03. Mutasiya is from Kenya on a track scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth, while Alton is a familar face in the area having competed at Varina and New Kent in high school.
Robert Reynolds (pictured left by John Herzog), a rising senior at Lee-Davis, was the highest finisher among Virginian preps as he closed well in the last loop of three for fifth place in 17:07 as he scooted past recent Hermitage grad John Vial (6th, 17:09) who will be joining Mutasiya and Alton at VCU in the fall.
Another strong finisher was another Hermitage grad in Alex Bowman. Bowman, who went onto compete at USATF Junior Nationals in the 800 meter runt his past spring for the University of Virginia, took fourth at the Villa in 17:06.
Hermitage graduated a strong class of runners that will be hard to place as they had a key role in their cross country and track success the past few years as along with Vial at the Villa, two Virginia Tech bound runners from Hermitage also ran well with Ben Hendrick in seventh place (17:11) and Kieran Lee in tenth place (17:24). Nathan Puckett will be the top returning running for Coach Joe Pardue's team this fall and was the second highest finisher at the Villa among returning high school runners in 11th place at 17:33.