As I was leaving the VIS State Champions on Friday, Fork Union coach Winston Brown made a comment that MileStat.com was the main reason that Virginia had 100 boys breaking 10 minutes for 3200 meters last spring. I have to disagree with Coach Brown though after watching the VHSL State Championships on Saturday as it apparent that the depth of talent in Virginia is an all-time high with many outstanding runners who may never get their front page glory on MileStat.com, but are highly motivated individuals alone. The 2007 Virginia state championships lit up the all-time Great Meadow state meet performance lists with 56 boys beating the previous 100th performer cutoff of 16:13.3, while 52 girls ran faster than the previous 100th time to beat of 19:12.2.
Each of these runners as well as the rest of the competitors in the field should all be given credit to taking Virginia high school cross country to a new level! Watch out South region at Footlocker South! We are coming to clean house!
A pair of Midlothian harriers led the way with AAA state champions Jason Witt (15:10) and Kathleen Lautzenheiser (17:56). Only Alan Webb and Bobby Lockhart have ran faster than Witt's time at a Great Meadow state championship, while only Catherine White has a faster time than Lautzenheiser at the state meet venue since 1994. The most thrilling finish came with the Group A boys as it went down to the very end between Radford's Nathan Brame and Lebanon's Jakob Maidens (finish pictured right by John Herzog). A fully automatic timing system could have been very useful in determing winner with Brame declared as the winner as both were timed at 15:50. Peter Dorrell won a highly anticipated AA boys race to close the state championships in the day's second fastest at 15:16. Laura Rapp broke away from a half dozen runners in the hunt coming down the final stretch in 18:14 for the AA girls title. Glenvar's Megan Marsico went out aggressively to distance herself from co-favorite Susanna Sullivan of George Mason and never relented her large lead for a 19 second win 18:21.
The team finishes were even wilder and more exciting. The AAA boys had four outstanding squads coached by some of the state's very best in Thomas Jefferson, Midlothian, Mountain View, and Oakton. The Thomas Jefferson boys, who at season's beginning looked to possibly be the odd one out of a top three podium finish and an end of five year streak of top three finishes, instead won their third state championship in a six year span led by Coach Matt Ryan. 15 points separated the top three with Thomas Jefferson (1st, 91 pts), Midlothian (2nd, 101 pts), and Mountain View (3rd, 107 pts). The Midlothian girls had the least trouble out of the favorites in the AAA girls division with a low team score of 57 points, but the bigger stories were in second and third place with Oakton (110 pts) and Western Branch (3rd, 131 pts). The Oakton girls had been overshadowed by their male counterparts all season, but came through big in crunch time by going from fourth in their region to second in the state. Meanwhile, the Western Branch girls accomplished a feat that has not been done by an Eastern Region team in ages by making it onto the podium.
The new challengers in Millbrook and Hidden Valley girls made things interesting coming off their regional upset wins, but the order was re-established with a repeat of last year's state champions and state runners-up in Blacksburg and Brentsville. The closest team battle came with the AA boys as the Brentsville boys won yet another state championship under Coach Rob Dulin, but not before tough challenges from Western Albemarle and Jamestown. The Brentsville and Thomas Jefferson boys are a classic example of how tradition never graduates as they were able to come back stronger in 2007 from 2006 graduation losses.
The Clarke County girls won a fourth state title in a row in Group A, but the Clarke County boys were denied a fourth consecutive with their girls thanks to a great state meet team performance by the Radford boys with three runners in the top seven for the lowest team score of the meet at 38 points.
More to come from Great Meadow including stories, interviews, pictures, and race videos.