The first ever middle school state cross country championships were fast and record setting. Taking home the first team titles were Rappahannock Ospreys on the boys side and Blacksburg Middle on the girls side.
The first championship race of the day was the Girls 4K race featuring 24 teams from across the state and 187 athletes.
The race went off, in hotter than average October conditions, but seemed to be unaffected by the heat during the race. The athletes ran past the start line, crossing the mile in just over six minutes. The first half of the course being slightly slower than the back half.
At the 2K and halfway point it was Jefferson Forest's Zoie Lamanna leading the way. She crossed the 2K split in 7:33.7 with Amie Delp of Carroll County almost even with her at 7:33.8. Kerrigan Chaney of North Cross was third halfway in 7:36.
Halfway the team scores were close as well with Blacksburg leading 65 to 74 with Jefferson Forest in second.
Ultimately Zoie Lamanna was able to pull away from the chasers in the last 1K of the race, she rounded the final turn, took one look over her shoulder and powered down the homestretch. She crossed the line in 14:58.9, the first sub 15 performance ever in Virginia according to our database.
She was then followed by Amie Delp (15:13) and Tazewell's Abigail Rhudy (15:14) in third. The rest of the all-state finishers were Chaney, Tanner, McDonald, Lucas, Canada, Delp, Myers, Finch, Farley, Smith, Bauer, and Snead.
The top seventh grader was Rhudy and the top sixth grader was Corrie Delp, little sister of Amie Delp. Corrie ran 16:00.1 for 9th place.
The team title battle did not change on the back half and Blacksburg was able to hold off their competitors scoring 45 points. Jefferson Forest was second with 57 and Grace Christian School (Staunton) was third with 143.
Next up on the course was the boys championship race.
Just like the previous race, this race began very fast and saw a group of runners from the front go for the win. Here it was Ethan Pratt-Perez, Quinn Parrish, Juan Murias, Atticus Fair, and Joey Wells all coming thru the mile in just over five minutes.
They went thru the 2K equally as fast with three guys at 6:46 and the other two (Fair and Wells) close behind in 6:51 and 6:54.
From there it became more and more a three man race but none of the top ten were able to totally separate from the rest of the field. This is very unusual in an elite race that usually sees one or two runners drop the rest of the field, here though the field was too strong and deep to see major separation, even up front.
The fun part came next when we all had to wait and see who of that top three was going to make the perfect move at the right time. We were also eagerly watching the clock that was just over 13 minutes when they rounded that turn.
Sprinting down the homestretch was the leading trio and up front was Pratt-Perez. He ultimately held on and took home the title in 13:44.2. That time ranks him VA #3 all-time and VA #2 this year.
Second and third place was Robious teammates Parrish and Murias who ran 13:47.1 and 13:47.3.
Also breaking the big 14 minute barrier was Emil Stanford, Joey Wells, and Ollie Lambert. Prior to this race we had only seen one guy this season and three guys ever break that barrier... this race had six!
Completing out the top 15, all-state athletes were Fair, Jordan, McGraw, Mitchell, Neff, Green, Whitfield, Aufdenberg, and Shepard.
Team wise things were equally exciting. Rappahannock Ospreys though would hold on to their lead from the 2K and bring home the team title. They scored a solid 48 points to edge out Blacksburg middle who scored 60. Jefferson Forest was third with 103.