The RVA Relays have been dominated by local teams but this year the local teams are going to have to come to work if they want to leave Pole Green with some hardware. That includes boys and girls teams as well as individuals from outside of Virginia and the Richmond area that have a serious shot at taking home those backpacks.
Up first Saturday night will be the girls' race. This race will feature two time champions Maggie Walker, overall team champions from last year Western Albemarle, and quite a few teams that are actually favorites for the team title at States this fall.
Though this is a cross country race, this race is unlike anything else and that is what makes it so much fun.
To win this race you need depth, there is really no other way around it. What you also need is some speed and 5K's are not necessarily the best metric for that considering this race is much closer to a 3200 or 1600 than a 5K.
When you take a look at team depth at 1600 here are the teams to watch in order: Ocean Lakes, Deep Run, Maggie Walker, Jamestown, and Midlothian. Based on the 5K those teams would be in slightly different order: Ocean Lakes, Millbrook, Maggie Walker, Midlothian, Forest Park, Patriot, Cherokee, Western Albemarle, Deep Run, and Fauquier.
But what we can garner from those two lists is the Ocean Lakes is definitely the favorite on paper with three or four teams chasing close behind.
What this race will likely come down to, like almost every year, will be the anchor runner. When it comes to relays, the fact is there that you must bring your team home and at the RVA Relays that is even more so the case when each leg must run 2500m.
Out of all these teams there are two or three girls who really could hammer that anchor leg and potentially be the first athlete to break eight minutes. The two biggest being Aniya Mosely of Ocean Lakes and MC Heinen of Maggie Walker.
Those two teams have the stars and depth to take home the backpacks this weekend but there might be another team, who could even be considered the favorite. That team is Midlothian who have been a fringe great team the past few years but seem to have broken through in a big way this season.
Our prediction is that Ocean Lakes will win in a photo finish over Midlothian with Maggie Walker third. This will be the closest one through three finish we have ever had.
Girls Past Results
2018 - West Springfield (45:10)
2017 - Maggie Walker (44:47)
2016 - Patriot (44:52)
2015 - Maggie Walker (44:07c)
Girls Fastest Splits
- Mary Caroline Heinen (Maggie Walker) 8:08 - 2017
- Rachel McArthur (Patriot) 8:11 - 2016
- Zoe Clay (Western Albemarle) 8:12 - 2017
- Emma Call (Maggie Walker) 8:30c - 2015
- Lily Snow (Deep Run) 8:39 - 2018
While the girls' race may be the closest we've seen, the boys' race could be the complete opposite. That is in no small part thanks to Cherokee HS of NJ making the trip down. They now rank second in their entire state, which by population is much larger than VA.
Though they are definitely the favorites on paper, running the relays is a whole different animal than just looking at pre-meet stats.
Just like we said above, it takes a mix of speed and depth to win here and that means teams more focused on the 1600 may actually have a shot at taking down Cherokee. The biggest of those teams is a two time winner here and they also have three of the fastest 10 times ever, that team is Deep Run.
Right behind them is Grafton, Ocean Lakes, and Saint Christopher's.
We are still predicting Cherokee to win the race but will heed warning that if Deep Run is close, Colby 'The Kick' Burcham could very well split under seven minutes en route to the Wildcats' third win in four years.
Boys Past Results
2018 - Atlee (38:16)
2017 - Deep Run (37:08)
2016 - Deep Run (37:47)
2015 - Midlothian (38:02c)
Boys Fastest Splits
- Brent Bailey (Ocean Lakes) 7:00 - 2017
- Ryan Buscaglia (Maggie Walker) 7:01 - 2015
- Henrik Anderson (Mountain View) 7:02 - 2017
- Zack Witt (Glen Allen) 7:03 - 2015
- Randy Hahn (Midlothian) 7:06 - 2015
tie 5. Bashir Mosavel-Lo (Deep Run) 7:06 - 2016
tie 5. Mathias Cannon (Deep Run) 7:06 - 2017
tie 5. Tyler Lipps (Ocean Lakes) 7:06 - 2018
9. Chase Osborne (Western Branch) 7:11 - 2017
10. Zach Levit (Deep Run) 7:13 - 2016