Penn Relays (Friday): Albemarle boys cruise through 4x800, Bethel & Ocean Lakes compete in COA final

The Albemarle boys cruised through their heat in the 4x800 meter relay to easily advance onto the Championships of American finals with a 7:49.47 win. It definitely appeared the national indoor record holders were holding back and are preparing to let it all out in tomorrow's finals. Splits went as followed: Zach Vrhovac (1:56.8), Garrett Bradley (1:58.5), Luke Noble (1:58.9), Anthony Kostelac (1:55.2).

(Photo left by Mary DiBiase Blaich of

Also running well from Virginia in the boys 4x800 were two Eastern Region squads breaking 8 minutes with Western Branch at 7:56.45 and Ocean Lakes at 7:59.41.

The Western Branch boys in the 4x100 meter relay just missed making it into the Championships of America finals as it went down the thousandths of a second between them and Altoona Area (PA) to determine the 8th and final qualifier since both teams ran times of 42.17. Nonetheless, Western Branch moves ono with their state leading time into the finals of the large schools as the top seed.

The Ocean Lakes girls had to run from behind for much of the Championships of America finals in the 4x800, but the chasing led to swift splits from Anne Reiner (2:16.7), Natalia Kuhn (2:15.9), and Stacey Nobles (2:18.9) for a final time of 9:23.27 for ninth place.

Competing in the large school finals of the 4x100 meter relay, the Bethel and Western Branch girls both ran under 48 seconds for the state's second and third fastest times of the season in the event with Bethel in fourth at 47.49 and Western Branch close behind fifth at 47.61.

The Bethel girls later in the COA finals for the 4x400 meter relay where they were unable to keep up with the mighty Jamaican relays who saw three teams all run 3:41 from the country. Bethel finished three seconds off their #1 state ranked 3:49 performance from the qualifying heat in a sixth place of 3:52.85 in the finals. Their splits went as followed: Asia Williams (58.9), Rachel Burrell (58.3), Rashaun Combs (58.6), Emmy Fraenk (57.1).

Bobby Peavey of Kellam had one of the better finishes in recent years by a Virginian in the high school boys mile at the Penn Relays with his third place effort of 4:13.02. Mountain View's Thomas Porter also represented the state well finishing right behind Foot Locker Nationals champion Solomon Haile in fifth place in the 3000 meter run with a time of 8:30.25, which would convert to a 3200 time two seconds faster than his all-time best of 9:09.