By: Joshua Holtzman
With three large meets this weekend across Virginia, the Pole Green classic was possibly the most exciting to follow with tight team and individual races. The Girls Championship race was decided by 1 point, and an underdog boys team, Pacers Home School, made an almost successful push for the Boys Championship title.
In the Girls Championship race, Bethany Graham of John Champe High School defended her 2017 title with an 18:27. Deep Run's Lily Snow and James River's Lindsey Hester were close behind finishing in 18:38 and 18:43 respectively. The other girls race did not hold back the excitement either. The junior from Lafayette High School, Alli Crookston, won the Girls Small School title over Libby Quann by a tenth of a second!
While the individual races were close, the team title race was even closer. Sophomore Rachel Mudd and junior Cabell Franklin led Atlee to edge out virtual meet favorite, Colonial Forge, by 1 point. Even though Atlee had a slower time average among the top 5, their 5th managed to in ahead of Colonial Forge's enough for them to make up that gap. With the last podium spot, Glen Allen finished 3rd squeaking by Cosby 142 to 143.
The Boys Championship race had a handful of runners go under 16 minutes, and a competitive team race between the projected winner, Deep Run, and a team that was projected to finish 15th, Pacers Home School. Led by junior Colby Burcham, Deep Run emerged victorious over Pacers Home School being separate by just 7 points. Even though they finished 2nd, this was a great breakout meet for a relatively new team. Atlee finished 3rd, led by their duo consisting of Kameron Helmlinger and Ian Sellors crossing the line 5th and 6th.
Daniel O'Brien from the Virginia Episcopal School had an outstanding race blowing away the competition in the last mile, finishing in a 15:36. His team only three people, so he did not factor into the team battle. Max Etka and Jerimiah Pratt both broke 16:00 for the first time this season, finishing 2nd and 3rd.
Saint Christopher's overpowered the Boys Small School field as their top 7 all finished in the top ten. Knight Bowles won in a huge PR of 17:22.
Midlothian High School had 3 of their top 7 not running, but that did not stop their number 1 Max Etka from putting in a hard effort. He stated, "I was prepared for it to go out fast like it did last year, but not as fast as it did. My plan was to keep the race honest until it became tactical. I wanted to have a strong finish, but the last 600 I kind of hit a wall."
The Pole Green Classic was another great showing of schools around the 804 area. Most of these teams will be back in this same location later this year for either the Milestat Invitational, or the 5B region meet.