Lambert Ties Drew Hunter's Meet Record & Loudoun Valley Wins 5 Team Titles in 8 Tries

The first big meet of the year definitely lived up to all the hype. It may have not featured every star in the state but it definitely showed us some new young stars, gave us insight into how good of shape some big names are in, and of course showcased Loudoun Valley's unparalleled depth. 

Photos by: Lisa McArthur

Starting off the day was the Girls Varsity A race. From the start it was John Champe's Bethany Graham. She opened in a quick 5:34 first mile and never looked back. Though she would face stiff competition from Annandale frosh Julia Ghiselli until the final downhill, it was really her race the entire way. Both of these ladies also went thru the two mile mark in 12:36-39. 

Ultimately Graham took home the title in a huge time of 18:22 compared to her 20:35 season opener last year as a frosh. Ghiselli was second in 18:28 and it was another frosh, Abigail Church, in third also under 19:00 with her 18:52 performance. 

The next big race was simply awesome. It featured the 5A, 2A, and 1A State meet favorites all in the season opener... it doesn't get more exciting or high stakes than that. Leading the way from the gun though was 5A favorite Philip Lambert (Stafford) who alongside Tuscarora's Ben Nibbelink opened in a blazing 4:42.

The race would thin out but Lambert only got stronger as the race went on. Down the final stretch he was all by himself as he powered home to equal Drew Hunter's course record with his 15:27 clocking. 1A state favorite Nolan Harris of Auburn was second in 15:57 and Clark Edwards of Rock Ridge was third in 16:08. William Miller the defending 2A state champion finished in 16:55 which was good enough for 20th place. 

In the non-seeded races it was also a great meet with numerous novice and veteran athletes getting their chance to shine. Below are the winners of those races and a little bit about them. 

Fr/So Boys: Josh Walker (Loudoun Valley) 17:46, world class singer and let us know even though his last name is Walker, he is not one. 

Fr/So Girls: Ricky Fetterolf (Loudoun Valley) 19:35, likely LV's second best girl this year even though she is just a frosh!

Jr/Sr Boys: Ben Gleason (Loudoun Valley) 18:42, asked us three times if we were serious about wanting to interview him, has had huge improvements in the past year.

Jr/Sr Girls: Julianne Call (Westby) 20:59, traveled all the way from Wisconsin to Virginia FTW.

Varsity B Boys: Mason LaCava (Stonewall Jackson) 17:28, Coach told him that they need to place in the top three so he led his team to a 1-2-3 finish.

Varsity B Girls: Kayla Shelkey (Trinity Christian) 20:09, VISAA 3rd place last year and attempting to win first state title this fall.

Finally on the team side of things it was nothing but Viking dominance by Loudoun Valley. Despite not running their top eight boys or top three girls they were still able to take home five team trophies as well as a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place in the other races. They finished 2nd in Jr/Sr Girls, 3rd in Varsity A Boys, and 4th in Varsity B Boys. In those races it was Westby (Wisconsin) taking the Jr/Sr Girls, J.E.B. Stuart impressively taking the Varsity A Boys, and Courtland taking the Varsity B Boys title. 

The most impressive thing from the meet though, aside from Lambert's performance, has to be Loudoun Valley's undeniable depth. Their winning team scores prove that with scores of 73, 59, 35, 26, and 24. When you add that to the fact that their average team place was 1.75 thru eight races you really see how impressive this weekend was for them.