The Team Of The 70's, Back On The Podium Again

When you think of dynasties in cross country you think of Loudoun Valley, Blacksburg, and Lake Braddock. But one school holds many of the most untouchable records and that is John Handley. This weekend the boys from Handley returned to the awards podium as a team for the first time since 1993. 

Way back in the 70's, probably before most of this team's parents were born John Handley was the team of decade. They won a staggering six state titles in a row (still the record today) and were runners-up on both ends of the streak. They set the state record for lowest score (17) and held that record for 43 years. 

Fast forward to 1983 and they won another team title and then did it again in 1993. Then in 1998-2001 they produced the one and only four-time state champion in Bobby Lockhart. Lockhart would ultimately run a personal best of 14:42, finish second at Foot Locker Nationals (beating Chris Solinsky), and break 15:00 in XC an impressive four times. 

This weekend they all raced like they were Lockhart and not afraid and it showed. Garrett Stickley and William Pardue, who both have run very fast this season, were up at the front for the first mile and made sure the pace was strong enough. Stickley then went toe-to-toe with eventual champion Conner Rutherford  until the final quarter mile. 

The entire Handley team showed no fear and finished a very solid second place with 71 points to Blacksburg's 64. 

Handley's Team Results:

M 5000m 7William Pardue 11 16:29.00 7
M 5000m 8Garrett Stickley 11 16:29.00 8
M 5000m 17Pierce Francis 12 17:04.00 13
M 5000m 25Elliott Redcay 11 17:29.00 21
M 5000m 26Max Ware 12 17:30.00 22
M 5000m 56Will Thomas 9 18:35.00 48
M 5000m 71Skip Dickson 9 18:56.00 59

Enough of the looking back stuff, looking forward things look really good for this squad. They return their 1-2-4-6-7 from this year and their sixth and seventh were freshmen! Even though Blacksburg loses their 1-2 punch, they will rebuild and give Handley a solid run. You can bet it will be another fun meet come November, 2023. Don't forget though, Handley has a think for winning in years that end in 3.