Last year was a shock for a lot of people. W.T. Woodson won the team title and many new faces made it onto the podium individually. This year could be a redemption year both for teams and individuals who want to build on last year's performances. Others are trying to defend their ground and hold on to their sports which should make for quite a race come November.
Team wise this is going to be an exciting battle between Oakton and West Springfield... at leas that is how it looks right now. Both of these teams were 2nd and 3rd a year ago with hopes of more this year.
Right now it is extremely close between the two. Oakton has run on some fast courses while West Springfield has just opened up. They both however have a strong team average and small split between their first and fifth runners.
Defending champions W.T. Woodson currently sit in 4th with Lake Braddock sandwiched in 3rd. Both of these teams though have made a tradition of peaking at the right time so don't count them out until you see those official results.
Individually this race could be even more exciting with five big contenders right now. Those guys are Bryce Lentz, Albert Velikonja, Sean Stuck, Sam Pritchard, and Arnav Tikhe. Three of whom are also state champions in track.
That combination of experience in XC and speed on the track makes this race almost impossible to predict. But hey, we'll give it a shot...
Right now we would have to put Bryce Lentz as the race favorite. Simply put, he has seen the course more times and he seems more adept to running his own race. Another guy in that same boat is Sam Pritchard who is arguably an XC specialist apposed to track.
Then you get the two racers in the group with Velikonja and Stuck who both love to make big moves in a race and/or chase people down. If the race is close then one of these guys could be crossing the line in first.
Ultimately this race is going to come down to strategy. If someone is able to get a lead before the two mile mark they could very well go on to win but if this race stays close it will end close.
Virtual Team Scores:
|2||West Springfield||66.5||2+4+17.5+20+23 (25+37)||1:20.80||16:20.96|
|3||Lake Braddock||130||9+16+28+31+46 (50+72)||1:30.20||16:55.56|
|4||W.T. Woodson||145.5||13.5+13.5+19+41+58.5 (64+74)||1:22.00||16:58.80|
|8||John Champe High School||204||22+24+45+56.5+56.5 (61+77)||57.00||17:24.32|
|9||Ocean Lakes||212||5+33+49+62+63 (70+71)||1:56.63||17:20.73|
|10||James River (Midlothian)||222||15+34+42+65+66 (67+68)||1:25.40||17:26.58|
|12||Patriot High School||261||10+48+55+73+75 (80+82)||1:57.50||17:38.38|