10 unique stories from the 5A/6A state championships.
#6. Kathryn Mayo (Albemarle) Crushes Field in 5A Girls 800
Almost lost in the parade of dominant performances from last weekend's 5A/6A state track meet was Kathryn Mayo's fine run on Saturday afternoon. The Albemarle junior took the lead in the 5A girls' 800 meters right from the starting gun and ran away with a 2:11.78 win, three seconds ahead of runner-up Ashley Brown from Henrico High.
Mayo, who shaved 1.7 seconds from her previous best of 2:13.49, run at May's Dogwood Track Classic in Charlottesville, credited a new racing approach for her winning effort.
"In previous races, I have been sitting on the leader," said Mayo. "But, today, I made a plan to take out the lead from the gun."
She credits Albemarle distance coach Adrian Lorenzoni for helping her sharpen up in preparation for the championship season.
"We got some speedwork in," said Mayo.
Changing her pace is a common theme in Mayo's athletic history. While many distance runners annually make the transition from cross-country to indoor track to outdoor track, Mayo prefers to diversify her interests.
When asked about her plans for next fall and cross-country season, Mayo was quick to interject with her plans for the fall.
"Oh, I play field hockey."
Actually, Mayo does more than merely play field hockey. Last October, the Lady Patriots field hockey team won the 5A Conference 16 championship, defeating Atlee 3-2 in an overtime thriller. With the win, Albemarle earned a first-round home game in the 5A North tournament. Although they lost to Stafford, the team finished the season with an 11-8 mark, and Mayo made the All-Conference 16 team as a first team selection. She may be the best track/field hockey athlete in the southern half of Virginia since Carley Shannon and Taylor Omweg dominated both sports for Bruton and Tabb, respectively, two years ago.
"I know that a lot of people like running year-round," said Mayo. "But, I like having "that" in the middle. And the cross-training helps me."
And while Mayo "is looking forward to indoor and outdoor track" next year, there will first be a return to field hockey and Mayo lights up when talking about the possibilities for next year's squad. "We have had different coaches, but our new coach is a former U. VA player who now coaches us. We hope she stays."
Mayo also ran the anchor leg for Albemarle's third place girls' 4×800 squad, teaming up with Hailey Dillenbeck, Ryann Helmers and Lauren Hughlett to take third place in the state with a clocking of 9:30.28.
The Albemarle girls finished the 5A meet in seventh place, scoring 27 points.
For Mayo, her track season is now officially over. Although she has qualified for the New Balance Nationals, she has elected not to compete.