RVA Relays Recap: XC Stars Shine Bright Under The Lights

What a meet! In its' first year eve, the RVA Relays did not disappoint putting on one of the best relay style meets we have seen in years. The featured races were show stoppers as well featuring top talent from all 6 classifications and VISAA.

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For those unfamiliar with the RVA Relays, they are 5x2500m relay races with the featured races and others being run under the lights. To make the atmosphere perfect we rent mobile light structures, like the ones you see on highways, and place them throughout the course. Also to make the course the coolest we line sides of the course in black string lights and created a lighted arc way as the 1 mile mark. The final races went off at 7:50 and 8:50pm.

Prior to the "A" races going off though we had eight other races. Six of these races that went off earlier were all open 2500m races. These races were excited but also telling for how fast this course at Pole Green was going to be. The first race of the day was the middle school race that featured some blazing speed for the youngsters. Winning this mixed race was Kieran Haug of Tandem Friends who crossed the line in a blazing 8:20.74 to be the first girl and overall competitor across the line. She had company though from Payton Fox of Lee-Davis at 8:20.76! He would be the first boy to finish for the middle school race.

The next race on the course was the elementary school race that saw Caleb Floyd of Shady Grove YMCA taking home the victory. The next race had quite the age difference as it was the open race featuring both coaches, athletes, and parents. Taking home the wins in this race was Cam Shaver (7:30.82) taking the overall and men's title and then Nici Rhodes, Atlee's assistant coach, taking the women's in 8:25.17. Deep Run's Drew Spicer also posted a nice time clocking 7:59 to finish fourth.

In between the relay races we also had two boys and one girls "Extras" races that would see great finishes and a familiar face, Emily McArthur who took home her first win in the girls extras race.

Prior to the main event we also had some very fast "B" & "C" relays as well. Though these teams should have been comprised of teams' 6-15 runners, being that this race is such a unique distance, you can get quite the range of splits between these runners and the "A" teams. On the girls' side: winning the "B" race was Patriot who just held off Ocean Lakes by 13 seconds and winning the "C" race was also Patriot who gapped Deep Run's team by nearly three minutes.

On the boys' side Deep Run walked down Patriot to take home the "B" title by four seconds and then Patriot returned the favor and walked down Deep Run to take home the "C" title by six seconds.

After these races were the main events. The weather cooled down and the crows swelled throughout the spectator friendly course. The lights were on and that was about the only part of the park you could see as it had gotten very dark, it was the perfect racing environment.

The first "A" race to hit the course was the boys' race that featured 17 teams toeing the line. The race went out fast with Kyle Hammer of James River coming through the first exchange in 7:12 to open a small lead up for the Rapids but a whole bunch of teams were close behind.

Running by far the fastest second leg split was Fauquier who opened up a thirty second lead after the second leg. Deep Run was the main chaser at this point and on third leg they had their star runner Bashir Masovel-Lo running. He made quick work of the course and completely put his Wildcats in contention to take home the title after his ~7:10 split.

At this point in the race it seemed to be Fauquiers' to lose as on fourth leg they reopened their lead to just under 30 seconds as they handed off to the anchors. The one chasing them after his teammates' slowly ate away at the deficit was Midlothian's Randy Hahn.

Randy would eventually split 7:06 but definitely ran the smartest race and most important split as he caught Fauquier with 800m to go but had the presence of mind to tuck in behind him and draft for the next quarter mile. Once he knew he just had a little over 400m to go Randy swung around him and began his sprint to the finish. He would eventually cross the line victoriously and give a nice big fist pump as they clocked a 36:57 winning time for 12,500m!

Fauquier (37:02) was second, Maggie Walker (37:24) third, Glen Allen (37:27) fourth, and finishing out the top five was Mountain View (37:40).

The top three fastest splits of the race were Randy Hahn 7:06, Zach Witt (Glen Allen) 7:03, and Ryan Buscaglia (Maggie Walker) 7:01. The winning teams and fastest splits received custom New Balance backpacks to go along with their medals.

The overal team champions by a cumulative addition of the performances in all three relay races was Deep Run.

One hour after the boys race went off it was time for our other main event, the Girls "A" relay race. This race featured thirteen teams but also two very talented squads with Maggie Walker and Patriot. Maggie Walker though was the serious aggressor opening a big lead early and consistently holding onto it.

Patriot on the other hand started from the back and slowly worked their way up into the race. We had just seen Midlothian reel in Fauquier so we did not know what to expect as the fourth legs took to the course. Running fourth though for Maggie Walker was 2A State Champ Khloe Pointer who helped the Green Dragon cause by handing off the baton with a 35 second lead.

Awaiting the batons were two superstars in Emma Call (Maggie Walker) and Rachel McArthur (Patriot) who is #7 all-time in the state at 3200m. We knew Rachel could make up some ground but we did not know how much was possible considering Call is quite the runner.

As they came around at the halfway mark Call's lead had shrunk to 25 seconds but that lead was still a lot. Rachel would go on to close the gap to just 11 seconds but Emma Call and Maggie Walker was just too strong for anyone to beat as they won the RVA Relays title in 42:56 to Patriot's 43:07.

Ocean Lakes was third in 44:01, Glen Allen was fourth in 44:39, and Deep Run was fifth in 44:53.

Winning the overall team title was Patriot for the girls. Coming home with the biggest bragging rights after running by far the fastest split was Rachel McArthur who blazed a 7:46 split besting Emma Call's 8:10 #2 split.