As we feature small school athletes and teams this week it is important to also take a look back at some of the many stars that the smaller classifications has had. Recently we've seen stars like Kelsey Harrington, Mary Caroline Heinen, Emma Call, and others.
Taking a short trip back in history you find small school stars Julia Wood of Rappahannock County (13-15), Catherine White of Northside (04-06), and Becky Runion of Central Woodstock (86-88) who all won three cross country state titles in a row. They share that triple-champion-honor with only a handful of girls but on the top of the list there is only one four-time champion. Her name is Trish Nervo.
Glenvar High School, located in Salem, is a school that now houses just over 500 students and has been in one of the small schools division since its opening back in 1966.
It would be twenty four years later when Trish Nervo would first step foot into her new school as a seventh grader (back then Glenvar HS housed 7th-12th grades). Just a year short years later she would be making history.
Her big winning streak at States would begin with her 1992 win. This win came at Piedmont Community College over Patrick Henry's Kelly Rector who herself was a three time state runner-up.
The next year she took home the 1993 state title on her quasi-home course at Virginia Tech with her 20:13 clocking. Her winning time in the Class A race was fast enough it would have also won the Class AA race.
This is where things really took off for Nervo. After that victory she went on to win her first track state title in the Spring of 1994 with her 11:21 time. She went on to three-peat that event over the next two years running 10:58 and 10:59 respectively.
Now comes her junior year which was quite the year. That year she again won the state cross title, this time in 19:06. That year's race was also significant as it was the first ever at Great Meadow. She went on to even qualify for Foot Locker Nationals as a junior and finished 29th with her 18:28 time.
On the track her junior year she also won her first 1600m title with her 5:05 win in the Spring of 1995. That was the first of two track 1600m titles as she successfully defended her title in 1996 with her 5:02 win.
1995 though was her biggest year and definitely cemented her as one of the all-time greats in Virginia. This year she won states again to become the first athlete boy or girl to win four straight state cross country titles. It would take another five years before Bobby Lockhart would make history on the boys' side for John Handley.
Her winning time of 18:13 was also one of the fastest times ever run at Great Meadow at the time. She would go to hold that Class A state meet record for another 13 years until another Glenvar Great, Megan Marsico would run 17:38 at Great Meadow. That time was also an overall state meet record.
Just a few weeks later Trish was back in San Diego and this time was not going to be forgotten. She ran arguably the best race of her high school career and crossed the line in 4th at Foot Locker Nationals with a personal best of 17:35.
That time was the fourth fastest ever in Virginia at the time behind two-time Foot Locker National Champion Erin Keogh and Lake Braddock stars Andrea Volpe and Wendy Neely. Her time still ranks today as the 10th fastest time a VA girl has run at Foot Locker Nationals.
After high school Trish went onto UNC-Chapel Hill where she was a two time NCAA All-American.
She currently lives in the Roanoke area and can be seen occasionally at some of the local running events.
From States to Foot Locker to winning a staggering nine individual state titles, Trish Nervo is definitely one of the biggest stars our state has had in XC.