Winning a state title as an individual and as a team ain't easy, defending it is nearly impossible. Here are the teams and individuals vying for the back-to-back this weekend. We only included teams we thought had at least an outside chance at winning this weekend.
Teams Defending State Titles
W.T. Woodson Class 6 Boys
After a big win last year the W.T. Woodson boys return just two from last year's team but still enter the meet ranked third. They are a ways back from Oakton and West Springfield but could seriously pull off this upset if they're given just a little help.
Deep Run Class 5 Boys
This one is a tough one. It is not quite as hard as beating Loudoun Valley but it is pretty close considering how close it has been these last few years. This year Deep Run returns five of their seven but lose their 2/3 from last year. Albemarle, the pre-meet favorite enters with six returners who are hungrier than ever. Throw in L.C. Bird and their five returners and you got yourself a tough one to defend.
Loudoun Valley Class 4 Boys
This should be an easy #5 in a row for the Vikings. They enter as the strong team favorites yet again and right now the virtual meet has them scoring below 20 yet again.
Western Albemarle Class 3 Boys
Another team who should be able to defend their title is Western in the Class 3 boys race. They return six of their seven and scored 21 points last year so needless to say this one could be a landslide in their favor.
Auburn Class 1 Boys
Defending ain't easy as the title says, winning a fifth title in a row is even harder and that is what Auburn is attempting to do this weekend. They are going to face tough competition this year with Parry McCluer who are the pre-meet favorites.
Loudoun Valley Class 4 Girls
One of the closest team battles this year will be the Class 4 girls battle between Blacksburg and Loudoun Valley. Both of these teams have finished 1-2 for the last three years and this year shouldn't be any different.
Hidden Valley Class 3 Girls
This one is going to be a three-way battle for the title between Western Albemarle and former Class 2 powerhouse Maggie Walker. This team battle exemplifies exactly why it is hard to win back-to-back titles.
Individuals Defending State Titles
Mary Caroline Heinen Class 3
The lone athlete going for a third title in a row, though technically her other two were in Class 2, is MC Heinen. She is a the heavy favorite on paper.
Colby Burcham Class 5
Looking to defend his photo finish from last year is Colby Burcham of Deep Run. He has run well all year but currently is ranked second in Class 5. The guy in front of him, Jacob Plummer, was a state champion on the track so this one could be another photo finish.
Joe Hawkes Class 3
Joe is the defending champion and was runner-up the year before that. This year though he is ranked second behind his teammate and last year's runner-up Jack Eliason. They should be able to go 1-2 again and regardless of who wins it should be exciting and fast.
Jordan Keith Class 1
Jordan returns in 2019 to attempt to win his title again. The entire top three from last year is back though so things will be tough and now that the course is much flatter and faster it may not be in his best interest compared to the hilly course at Great Meadow.
Morgan Dalton Class 1
Also defending a Class 1 title is Morgan Dalton. Returning this year though is last year's runner-up, 2017's state champion, and 2017's runner-up. Needless to say it is going to be a hard fought battle for the Class 1 title.
Ricky Fetterolf Class 4
The final athlete attempting to win back-to-back titles is Loudoun Valley's Ricky Fetterolf in Class 4. To put it simply, it is very hard to win back to back in this classification... so hard in fact that even Weini Kelati didn't win back to back titles. She will face off with Kaitlynn Wolfe, Ellie Desmond, Audrey Link, Ava Gordon, Elise Abbe, and many others in this one.