Murphy, McArthur, Schaefer & The Bruins(s) Are NXN Bound!

Photo by: Jon Fleming

Though all national eyes may have been on the huge Foot Locker South races, just a few hours away in Cary,NC some of the biggest and best races of the year were going on featuring the best from Virginia all facing off to try and make it to Portland Oregon for NXN. 

The biggest of these races was the NXN-SE Girls' Championship race. This race featured defending state champions Kate Murphy (Lake Braddock), Rachel McArthur (Patriot),  Sophia Link (Blacksburg), and Doria Marthingayle (Princess Anne). 

This race specifically had a ton at stake aside from the potential bid to make it to NXN. One of the biggest story lines was the prevalence of many rivalries meeting in a single race. We had Blacksburg vs. Lake Braddock and McArthur vs. Murphy. All multiplied due to what was at stake and the added pressure of this being Blacksburg's coach James DeMarco's last scheduled meet. 

On paper this was came down to Kate Murphy and Rachel McArthur. The Pan Am Champion at 1500m (Murphy) versus the defending champion (McArthur). Kate set the pace early and made sure everyone knew that she is not just a miler but also one of the best runners in the entire nation. She pushed the pace and eventually won handedly in 17:00 to now rank as US #12! 

Kate Murphy's 17:00.7 was a meet record to go along with her record 23.9 second margin of victory. That margin was more then double the next closest margin of 11 seconds. Anyway you want to put it, Kate dominated this race. 

Watch the Girls' Championship Race here! (Photo by: Lisa McArthur)

Running very well though and also making the cut to go to Portland was Patriot's Rachel McArthur. She had quite the month going from missing out on regionals and states due to injury all the way to finishing 5th in 17:32 to lengthen her XC season. This was a huge comeback for her and shows how determined she is to be the best in Virginia. With a few weeks between now and NXN, we may have another photo finish on our hands as McArthur looks to close the gap on Murphy and flip the script of what happened last season where Murphy finished 5th. 

Also running their best race of the season was Doria Martingayle who had a huge race and finished in 17:57 to break the 18 minute barrier and break into the top 10 in VA. Her 13th place finish earned her second team honors. 

Also finishing inside the top 30 was West Springfield's Reagan Bustamante 22nd in 18:26, Lake Braddock's Emily Schiesl, Sofia Butseva, and Sara Daniels in 23rd, 25th, and 29th, and Blacksburg's Samantha Marin, Sophia Link, and Annie Kay Combs in 17th, 20th, and 27th. 

Photo by: Jon Fleming

It was a record day on the team front as for the first time ever Virginia qualified two teams to NXN with Lake Braddock taking the NXN-SE crown and Blacksburg taking second. The final score was 62-99 for both Bruins. 

Photo by: Jon Fleming

Aside from McArthur and the 14 Bruins of Lake Braddock and Blacksburg, another Bruin decided he didn't want his season to be over. Lake Braddock senior and fellow Bruin, Colin Scheafer continued his huge post-season by posting a huge personal best time of 15:11.9 to finish in 4th and secure himself a nice trip to NXN. This was a 22 second improvement from his previous personal best and goes on top of his Conference 7 and 6A North titles this season. 

Jackson Morton of Stone Bridge finished 13th in 15:35 and was joined by his teammate Andrew Matson inside the top 30 as Matson finished 23rd in 15:42.6. Also making it inside the top 30 was Robert Lockwood of W.T. Woodson in 16th (15:38), and Randy Hahn of Midlothian in 24th (15:42.7). 

Lake Braddock Secondary was the highest Virginia boys team finisher in 7th with 214 points with Stone Bridge just behind in 9th with 274 points.