WATCH LIVE: THE VHSL CLASS 4-5-6 CHAMPIONSHIPS
BEGINS AIRING ON NOVEMBER 11
States are just a few hours away and we cannot stop thinking about all the exciting races and matchups we are going to get to witness.
There are too many to count so we've narrowed it down to just ten big storylines to watch this weekend at the state meets.
1. VA #1 Charlottesville vs. VA #2 Blacksburg
The boys at both Charlottesville and Blacksburg have had their sights squared on each other for months now. Blacksburg looked dominant early on, some would've said unbeatable but Charlottesville pulled off the "upset" at MileStat to beat them and followed it up at regionals. These two teams could not be closer on paper. This team title is probably one of the few we've seen in years that is not even 1% decided ahead of the meet. Every one of the seven athletes will need to bring their "A" game for a chance at the title this year.
2. West Springfield vs. W.T. Woodson
The closest girls competition is looking to be the Class 6 showdown with the defending champs and our VA #1 West Springfield vs regional champions and VA #3 W.T. Woodson. You also get to throw in Glen Allen who is our VA #2 team into this race making it possible a three way battle for the crown.
On paper it is hard to decipher who is geared best for states as West Springfield has laid low this season and raced primarily on 3 mile courses while Woodson and Glen Allen have raced some fast courses.
3. Chantilly vs. Woodbridge
Another Class 6 showdown to watch is Woodbridge vs. Chantilly. Similarly to the girls, these teams have varied on their schedule and are hard to pin down just how good they are. At regionals, Chantilly edged out Centreville with a 15:37 average (3 Mile) while Woodbridge ran away with their title. When the two raced at Octoberfest it was Chantilly taking home the title .
The Class 6 race seems to be mainly Woodbridge vs. Chantilly but Centreville and Lake Braddock are definitely contenders as well. It would take a big move by either of them to really shake things up.
4. Blacksburg's Podium Streak
2004, that is the last year the Blacksburg girls were not on the podium for the state meet. That means no one on this team was even alive the last time the Bruins did not get their picture taken on the podium. There have been years where it was a matter of how much and not if they would win and years when we didn't think they would even make the state meet.
2023 is right between those. We'd put them as a dark horse contender for the title and have ranked them VA #4. They do however have serious competition with pre-race favorites (on paper) Jamestown and our selection to win the race, Tuscarora. Throw in Loudoun Valley who has made the podium 7 of the last 8 years and you have quite the race.
5. Clover Hill's Hopes To Win Class 5
Some teams build for years to win the big one and know when it is "their time". It seemed like last year was Clover Hill's time but unfortunately they fell just short and finished second to Glen Allen by a mere four points. Their 3rd and 4th scorers graduated and that meant this year was going to be that much harder.
Clover Hill didn't back down and frankly has had a rough season thus far but has clawed their way back up and is looking to actively make this year their year. They are led by a pair of sophomores who are already leading the way for the team. This year could be their year if they can finally get up that final hill.
Albemarle and Riverbend look to be their toughest competition on paper.
6. How Fast Can Bazil Mathes Go?
He started the as the fastest runner in the state and he will get a great chance to end the season as that this weekend at Class 3 states in Salem. Bazil has had an amazing season but did not finish the race at MileStat. He looked good at regionals so we are hopeful he can really turn on the jets at States. He might have some competition if he doesn't shoot for that sub 15 clocking.
7. Class 3 Girls... Is There A True Favorite?
The hardest race for us to pick, individually that is, was the Class 3 girls race. In this race you have Cassidy Scott, Samantha Nitzsche, and defending champion Kiera Lowman. You can rank them on times and Lowman takes the win. You can rank them on performances and arguably Scott wins with her winning race at Third Battle. Finally you could rank them on regional performance where Nitzsche dominated. They've raced each other and all had highs and lows to the season. This race is anyone's to win.
8. Lily Guinn, Back and Ready For States
Lily has raced just two times this season and looks more ready than ever to grab her first state cross country title. She led most of the race last year but collapsed up the big hill. Though some would say you haven't raced enough and should focus on staying in the race and then make a move; Lily is not focused on that but merely focused on herself and her race.
If there is one thing you can expect Saturday is that Lily is going to push the pace. She thrives in the red zone and will make the field and the likes of Madelyn Gypson try and chase her down.
With defending champion, Elly Velasquez, moving up to Class 6; we know there will be a new state champion this year.
9. Who Did We Miss?
We could write previews for days and still miss people and matchups. There could be a tie for the title or a photo finish. We don't try to make ourselves bulletin board material but we sometimes do. We cannot wait to see who uses this preview to surprise us or who runs out of this world Saturday and shocks the state.
10. Freshmen At States
Finally, the storyline we always add is the one looking for how freshmen do at states. These are athletes who are just starting to realize their potential and are capable of all sorts of things. We cannot wait to see who the top frosh is and which ones are going to be stars for the future.