Young Women 5K Winner - Barbara Strehler (Trinity)
The young women's race had a nice duel between Barbara Strehler of Trinity and Hiruni Wijayaratne of Herndon. Wijiyaratne was expected to be one of the state's top returning cross country runners, especially after winning the AAA 3200 state title last June, but a back injury in the middle of the season, forced her to miss many weeks of training and only make a comeback to racing by the district meet. The Herndon senior was unable to advance out of the regional meet and missed the state meet, but is aiming to make up for the missed state championship with a strong post-season including an attempt to qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals as an individual in the regional meet in two weeks in Cary, North Carolina. Wijayartne made the trip to the Pole Green Park from northern Virginia and pushed one of the state's best in Trinity senior Strehler, who was a state runner-up last weekend at the VISAA State Championships to VA #2 ranked Anneka Wilson.
In a day which times were clearly running slower than usual due to the heavy rains the day prior and overnight as well as very windy conditions, Strehler and Wijayaratne pushed each other to respectable times with Wijayaratne doing the majority of the pace setting. Strehler sat behind Wijiyaratne over the first 2 miles until making her drive for the lead and win the final half mile for a 19:19 win. Wijayaratne, appearing to improve her fitness each week, held on for second in the race with a time of 19:30. Since Wijayaratne actually resides in the Potomac Valley association area, she will have to compete in the regional meet next week to qualify for the USATF National Junior Olympics Championships at Pole Green on December 13th.
Central Region athletes Jenna Moye of Cosby and Susannah Piersol of Maggie Walker battled it out for the third spot after Strehler and Wijayaratne with Moye sprinting in at 20:21 for third and Piersol at 20:28 for fourth. Moye and Piersol will join together with Strehler and others as teammates under the Richmond Track & Field Club and race for a national team title at the USATF National JO Championships on December 13th.
Young Men 5K Winner - Ted Richardson (James River)
James River junior Ted Richardson had to settle for second place in his last race at Pole Green Park with eventual state runner-up Ben Dejarnette of Atlee taking the Central Region Championships. It was Richardson's turn to win though on Saturday at the USATF State Meet as the Dominion District Championship was able to pull away from a field which included two Group AA All-State runners in Thomas Baker of Louisa County and Josh Morris of Jefferson Forest to win the young men's division in a time of 16:29. Baker finished 19 seconds back in second place at 16:48, while Morris took fourth place at 17:05.
Morris earned All-American honors in two events at this past summer's USATF National Junior Olympic Championships. Morris is one of four individual qualifiers from Virginia who should have an excellent shot at earning All-American honors at Pole Green in December along with Richardson, Baker, and St. Christopher's senior Harrison Tucker (5th, 17:13). Richardson, Baker, and Tucker will be running as part of the Richmond Track & Field Club team at the national meet and the young men's division should be a solid group with Maggie Walker's Peter Askin (6th, 17:26) as the team's #4 runner.
Intermediate Boys 5K Winners - Silas Frantz (Douglas Freeman) & Andrew Catanese (Atlee)
There race was too close to call, so both Douglas Freeman's Silas Frantz and Atlee's Andrew Catanese were awarded first places finishes in the intermediate boys' 5K division. Heading into the final mile, a lead pack of three had formed with Frantz and Atlee teammates Catanese and Andy Hesse. As they approached the finish line, Frantz, who had let the Atlee pair set the pace and block the fierce wind, made a move for the win, which Catanese was able to counter. Neither was giving up any ground on the other in the final stretch and the separation distance of zero remained all the way through the finish line with both timed at 17:21. Hesse was close behind in second at 17:22.
All three will be teammates together at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships for a solid front three, which should be a tighter front four with state meet qualifier in Lee-Davis sophomore Cody Snyder also part of the group.
Intermediate Girls 5K Winner - Clarissa Schick (Maggie Walker)
Gar-Field's Lindsi Arrington has a 3200 meter personal best of 11:08 and she will find herself as potentially the #5 runner on a Richmond Track & Field club team of star runners. They were racing against each other on Saturday at the USATF VA Association Championships, but will be racing for each other and a USATF National Junior Olympic team title in the intermediate girls division on December 13th.
Maggie Walker's Clarissa Schick won the race in a time of 19:55 and was quickly followed to the line by her Maggie Walker teammate Katie Ardiff (2nd, 19:55) and new club teammate Abby Badura (3rd, 20:03) of Clover Hill. Both Schick and Badura should run even stronger a month from now at the national meet considering they were undertrained and cross trained for much of the cross country season as a form of injury prevention.
Colonial Heights sophomore Catherine Pulley just missed qualifying for the state cross country meet as a 16th place finisher at the Central Region Meet, but the Central District champion now has an opportunity to earn All-American honors as well as a national team title after a solid race at Pole Green to place 5th in 20:15. Arrington, an early leader with Schick, finished 5th at 20:26. Rounding out the "A" team for the national meet will be James River's Ali Hummelberg (6th, 20:49) and Maggie Walker's Caroline Newcomb (7th, 21:07).
Youth Girls 4K Winner - Sarah Stites (Thomas Jefferson S&T)
There were some familar young distance running stars at Pole Green on Saturday including two of the Central Region's best freshmen this fall in Megan Moye of Cosby and Kaila Blackburn of Monacan, who both qualified for the state cross country championships. Also in the race were two of likely the top ninth graders next fall in 8th graders Tessa Broadwater (lives in Cosby district) and Bonny Turnage (lives in Lee-Davis District). However, it was a youngster outside of the area who dominated the race and difficult to identify without her usual Thomas Jefferson singlet. Sarah Stites, who ran a sensational race last weekend at Great Meadow to place fourth overall in the AAA race with a personal best time of 18:30 to lead her team to a third place finish, dominated the field at Pole Green for a 22 second win at 15:25. If Stites plans on competing at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships in December, she has to be considered as a potential national champion contender.
Megan Moye, an All-State finisher at the state meet along with Stites, had a solid run for second place at 15:47, as she will lead a very formidable youth girls' team for the Richmond Track & Field Club with a collection of the Richmond area's top 13 and 14 year old cross country runners. Joining Moye on the Richmond Track & Field Club national team will be Broadwater (3rd, 16:16), Turnage (4th, 16:29), Blackburn (6th, 16:52), and Patrick Henry's Malina Richardson (9th, 17:36).
Youth Boys 4K Winner - Sean Willard (Midlothian MS)
Another star runner is on his way to running for Coach Morgan and the outstanding Midlothian cross country program. Midlothian Middle School 8th grader Sean Willard, a two-time Chesterfield County middle school cross country champion, took the youth boys 4K title at the USATF Virginia Association Championships in a time of 14:16. Willard, younger brother of former Midlothian High School runner Tierney Willard and current runner Krista Willard, figures to be a strong All-American (top 25 finisher) candidate at the USATF Nationals.
The next finishers after Willard were the Speray twins, both freshmen at Gloucester High School. Eric Speray was a stronger challenger to Willard for most of the race and ended up 11 seconds back in second place with a time of 14:27. His brother Kevin Speray was able to kick it on for third place at 14:44.
USATF VA Association Championships Photo Gallery by Brandon Miles - 527 total photos