Relay Race Preview
Though there will be some historically great races this weekend in the individual events, nothing will be as exciting and loud as the relay competitions. Up first will be the 4x800m relays run on Friday night.
Last year almost all of these races came down to a photo finish and we expect that again this year. The teams battling for each of these will need to strategize and make sure their strongest runners are running their best when it is needed the most. Luckily for all of us that usually means the fastest runner running last.
In the Class 5 girls race it looks like a two horse race between Midlothian and Douglas Freeman. Caroline Bowe will likely anchor for the Trojans of Midlothian with Neely potentially bringing Freeman home. Midlothian is definitely the favorite here. In the Class 6 girls race it looks to be a three horse race between West Springfield (top seed), Ocean Lakes, and John Champe. This one will be the race of the day and our pre-race favorite is Ocean Lakes.
Following these races will be the boys Class 5 where L.C. Bird and Deep Run meet. These two teams are familiar with each other and also like to beat each other so this one will have more meaning than just a race. Harrisonburg and Freedom (South Riding) will also be there. Finally we will have the Class 6 boys race where about eight teams have a shot at the title. The favorites though on paper are West Springfield followed by Battlefield and then Potomac Senior.
Next up on the relay front will be the ever stressful but exciting 4x200m relays. These races are fast and hard to predict. So much can go right or wrong in this short race... you have jam-packed exchanges, break-line battles, and of course a start using blocks meaning sometimes this event is too risky and teams will elect to run their "A" runners in the longer, more predictable 4x4 relay. None-the-less these races are going to be exciting.
The favorites for these races are South Lakes (Class 6 Girls), Freedom (Class 6 Boys), Highland Springs (Class 5 Girls), and Prince George (Class 5 Boys).
Finally we will close out the meet with the most exciting race of the weekend, the 4x400m relay. Each race may not decide the team championship but it looks like each race will have its own high stakes on the line.
The first race up will be the Class 5 girls race where Highland Springs, L.C. Bird, Glen Allen, Nansemond River, and Maury will all be fighting for the win and a sub four minute time. This one will be exciting and see quite a few lead changes with all teams likely running their strongest runners last.
Next will be the Class 6 girls showdown between South Lakes and Western Branch. This race could very well decide the state team title and all the history that it entails so buckle up. These teams aren't alone either with Massaponax and Westfield also entered with sub four minute times meaning this race is literally anyone's to win or lose.
Then will come the Class 5 boys race where Salem is the top seed with L.C. Bird and Bethel giving chase. L.C. Bird definitely has the most to prove here and also has the the best anchor in Jayson Ward but you can never count out Bethel who has won this race a staggering four times in a row. This place will go crazy if these three teams are together at the bell lap. This is where legends are made.
Finally the meet will close out with Western Branch, Freedom, and Battlefield in the Class 6 boys race. Western Branch is looking to win the team title, Battlefield will be looking to do the same or place second overall, and Freedom will be looking for their first relay state title in school history. Freedom is also running the 4x2 but nonetheless this could be their first 4x4 state title. This race is one where every athlete is going to lay it all on the line.
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