VHSL States Day 2 Recap: Young Superstars Emerge & Seniors Breakthrough

Check out John Herzog's pictures here!

The second day of the 2015 VHSL Cross Country Championships brought the strong possibility of three schools capturing the girls and boys team titles: Auburn, Maggie Walker, and Blacksburg. In the end Maggie Walker was the only school to pull off the double win in similar weather and ground conditions as the 4A/5A/6A teams the day before.

The girls in the 1A division got the day's six races started. Julia Wood of Rappahannock, Mary Elliott of Radford, and Caitlin Dominy from Auburn went through the mile together. Elliott and Dominy fell off the pace and Wood, a senior and recent William and Mary commit, sailed across the line in 19:44. The repeat 1A champ said, "It's unbelievable to win three times! I'm proud of my team, they're all freshman and sophomores, and it's great to watch them run well." Elliott, the junior, said, "the race was close at two miles and then Julia had a lot more in her." Ultimately, Elliott and her Radford teammates repeated as 1A champs defeating the upset minded Auburn Eagles 49-61.

Trevor Dominy, the Auburn senior clocked 16:20 to finish 14 seconds ahead of junior Gavin Jenkins of Rappahannock. Dominy's teammate Caleb Hallinan rounded out the top 3 with a 16:39. A pack of six harriers ran together through the one mile but by the two mile marker Dominy controlled the race. He said, "It feels great to win! I've put in so much hard work since last season. I knew my fitness level was up there and I thought I could pass runners on the last hill." Jenkins said, "My strategy was to keep with Dominy but I felt terrible after the first mile split. I moved up four spots from last year and wish it had been 5." Hallinan, a junior, said, "There's a lot of hard work and dedication behind this race and I'm thrilled for my team." Auburn bested Altavista Combined School by eight points in 49-57 finish.

Watch super freshman Sophia Link run crazy fast time & all other races here! 

The Blacksburg girls entered the 3A competition with a SE regional ranking and hoping to give their coach, a relocating James DeMarco, a great going away gift. They didn't disappoint. The Bruins placed their 7 varsity racers in the top 11, tied their own 2014 3A low score record, and claimed gold for the fifth time in a row. DeMarco said, "We have won a lot of championships. The wins reflect the number of kids who have put in the work and believed in something bigger than themselves. They trained, encouraged each other, and worked as a group to accomplish a great goal together. We did it 23 times and we almost did it 14 other times. They are absolutely amazing kids and I feel blessed to be part of their lives." Blacksburg's freshman, Sophia Link captured her first state title in 18:13. Teammates joined her with All-State honors finishing 3-4-7-8-9-11. Link said, "I focused on going out conservatively and finishing up strong. I knew Blanks is a great racer and she inspires me so I knew I had to do my best. It's exciting to win and I'm lucky to have this team working hard with me." Lindsey Blanks, the Tabb senior, finished in 18:40 and said, "I pushed the pace and wanted to get out fast. It was a beautiful day despite the wind and the mushy ground. I was 10th last year when we were 4A so I was glad to move up. The Blacksburg team is intimidating but they are really nice girls." Samantha Marin, a Blacksburg junior, finished 3rd and said, "This race makes me feel great looking ahead to NXR." Monticello surprised the competition and grabbed silver with 94 points edging Brentsville and Western Albemarle with 96 and 99 points respectively.

On the boys' 3A side, Gannon Wilcutts of Western Albemarle improved on his runner up finish from last year to claim his first cross country state title clocking the exact same time from a year ago: 15:35. Wilcutts said, "Getting the title feels really good! It's special to win a state title and definitely in cross country since I love the sport so much. It's really great to help my team too since I felt like I hit a wall like no other around the one mile mark." Blacksburg's senior Sam Teller made up a lot of the gap Wilcutts put on the field to claim runner-up. He said, "I knew Gannon went out hard and I tried to put as many places between me and Western's second guy. I knew other guys were coming on strong and I had to keep pushing. I felt great and it's nice to help my team." Wilcutts and his Western Albemarle teammates played spoilers and captured the team trophy. They edged 3A West rival Blacksburg 60-64.

In the final two contests of the day, Maggie Walker ran away from everyone going 1-2 in both races and seizing team titles. For the girls, Emma Call and Khloe Pointer finished in 18:31 and 18:52. Their efforts led Maggie Walker to a 56 point win over Clarke County. Call, a senior who verbally committed to the University of Virginia, said, "The competition is great, it feels incredible. I had a bad cross country season last year so this feels really great. The ground was squishy and of course the wind was there. I just went out and ran like I've been running and it worked out." Pointer, a junior and last year's champ, said, "I knew I had to give it my all and I was going back and forth with the girl in third. We were neck and neck for a while. I wanted to help the team and be in a good position for them. I'm looking forward to coming back next year and going for another title."

In the 2A boys race Ryan Buscaglia, a junior, and Evan Fisher, a senior, paced Maggie Walker. Buscaglia crossed the line in 16:21 with Fisher following in 16:29. Buscaglia said, "The 2A classification has gotten tougher. On the final stretch I was hoping to hold on. I usually run a strong first half and Evan a better second half. I hoped I'd have something left for the win. It's a great feeling to be champion." Fisher said, "It's a bittersweet moment being runner up. But if someone had to beat me, I'm glad it was Ryan." Maggie Walker scored a low 39 and Central Woodstock followed with 97 points.