The VISAA State championship has historically been held at the difficult Woodberry Forest Course or at Fork Union Military Academy. Two years ago, the championship was moved to Pole Green Park, and with the added change this year of running the meet on the flatter, faster version of the course, it proved to be a blistering fast day for the VISAA schools.
Division 1 Boys
The Division 1 boys race was a long awaited showdown between Ferenc Kovacs from Woodberry Forest and Charlie Ortmans from the Potomac School. Kovaks pulled away early and, in spite of clipping his knee with his spike causing him to bleed throughout the race, Kovaks was able to hold a 20 meter gap between him and the hard charging Ortmans. Kovaks secured the Championship with a blistering PR of 15:18. Kovaks said, "I felt his presence and heard his breathing behind me the entire race, I felt for a moment that I couldn't hold on; but thankfully I knew the finish was slightly downhill and I could hold him off for the last 200 meters."
In the team competition, the John Paul the Great boys stepped up with a gutsy team effort in a close win over Collegiate for their first State Championship. Coach Jim Garster really wanted to credit the entire team, in particular his 4th and 5th runners-"We run together as a team, we train as a team, and we race as a team, and it is the team effort that came through for us today."
Division 2 Boys
In the Division 2 Boys race, Colin Walsh ran a strategic race and held off Louka Fetter from Greenbrier by 2 seconds. Walsh commented, "I took it a little easier in the first mile, and after going back and forth [with Fetter] in the last mile, I had enough left to make a strong move with 200 meters to go."
The team competition was won by a strong performance by Trinity Christian who held off Veritas for their first ever boys State Championship. Trinity was led by senior Daniel Hanna who finished 3rd overall with a PR and school record of 16:21. Trinity ended up with their top 4 runners earning all- state honors and finishing in the top ten.
In an interesting anecdote, the Division 1 and Division 2 champions both participate in the newly formed Virginia Christian Athletic Conference. John Paul the Great narrowly beat out Trinity Christian in the VCAC Championship last week.
Division 1 Girls
In the Division 1 girls race, Paul VI Junior Cecelia Pugsley won a well executed race with a strong PR of 18:35. Pugsley said, "I made a strong surge with a half mile to go which allowed me to pull ahead and hold on for the win." Pugsley held off runner up Molly Weithman of Bishop O'Connell.
The girls from Collegiate won first place with a strong team performance, with their top 3 runners claiming all-state recognition. Their lead runner was MK Myers who came in third. Catholic High School also needed their entire team to perform well in order to claim the runner up trophy.
Division 2 Girls
The most dominant performance of the day came from Maddie Gardiner of the Covenant School who ran a sizzling time of 17:32. She finished over a minute in front of her teammate Reese Dalton, who came in a strong second.
The girls from Veritas won the team competition in a dominant performance over the surprise runner-up from the Isle of Wight Academy. Veritas was led to their third State Championship by 4th place overall finisher Reagan Gilman.