In our newest and final series of the cross country season we are recapping 10 stories from the season. Everyone knows about Weini Kelati or Drew Hunter, but not everyone knows about all the other great story lines that went on this season. This series is your chance to see another side of the season and how awesome it was!
Our first story of the series takes place at the penultimate location of Great Meadow and the 2015 XC State Championships. It may have taken place there but it began a year prior and through a lot of tears, hard work, and some grit became possible.
This story is about the Auburn boys winning their school's first state XC team title. It is also a story about how much a state team title means to a group of kids, school, and community.
Too often we are inundated with the success' of others and how great these athletes are. Drew Hunter is great, we all get that, but a lot of others are too.
This story started this season at the High Performance Distance Academy on the campus of Virginia Tech. The boys were hungry and even though it was just barely July, had their sights set on just a single thing and that was a team title. The previous year they had fallen just short by losing to Galax by four points. It was so close that Auburn would have beat them in a dual meet.
It was no surprise to hear that the long ride back to Riner, VA from States was one filled with tears, regret, and anger that they had come so close.
After a hard week at camp and some mileage under their feet, the Auburn boys hit the course to finally get that trophy. They opened their season at the Great Meadow Invitational then spent September down in SW VA hitting nearly every meet they could. When October came around they stepped it up a notch and competed against the biggest and best teams in the state at the MileStat.com XC Invitational. This meet was so large that it had 10X as many students competing as Auburn had in their entire high school! They performed well there finishing 17th while also averaging 17:00 across their top five.
Just a month after this meet it was finally time for the state meet. Things were shaky going into the meet as they had faced off with cross town rivals Radford three times in a row and come within just mere points of losing to them all three times.
Just like champions do, they pushed all of that aside and focused on just one race and getting that title.
The race went off at 11:15am on November 14th.
One mile into the race and things were going as planned. They were sitting 22 points and 15 seconds behind leading Altavista. They did however have the ace of the race with Trevor Dominy sitting comfortable in second at 5:17 through the opening mile.
Two miles into the race and the coaches and fans had to be nervous. It was looking like it could be a repeat of last year, they sat 13 seconds and 12 points behind Altavista. Their fifth place runner was moving up which helped a lot but no one else was taking the charge and they only had a mile to go.
You can only assume it was planned this way all along but right when the athletes hit the final hill and went around the busses things changed. Auburn's 2/3/4 runners starting taking on the Altavista guys and making some huge point moves.
All while this was happening more history was on the line as senior Trevor Dominy came down the final stretch. He was driving with everything he had on this windy day and was tired. He looked back. He looked back again. And again. And then finally had the greatest feeling in the world, that moment you look around and realize you're going to win it! He threw his arms in the air and crossed the line in 16:20.
That finish was historical in its own right as Auburn had not won or placed second individually since John Carper won the title in 1975.
The celebration was fleeting though as he turned and watched his teammates come in one after another. Everyone was trying to count who had their top five in and if it was going to be enough to win the title.
Altavista was the first with five in. This must have made a lot of hearts drop but then freshman Peyton Hurd crossed the line with an 18 second pr! He picked one heck of a day to have such a pr.
That move, coupled with Dominy's historic win, coupled with each and every guy chasing down at least one Altavista runner in the final mile swung the points from 12 down to 8 up on them.
They had won their school's first XC team title by a score 49-57 but they did not know yet.
After the race, interviews, and photos you could tell they were happy but nervous. They knew they had performed well and that everyone had stepped up big time. But they still had doubt. It wasn't until someone overhead someone that they finally found out they had did it, they had won the team title.
They jumped up and down, hugged each other, screamed and had pure joy for that moment they would have forever. And of course after they found at they had won they were not tired at all!