Great early season battles at Newport News Invite

NEWPORT NEWS, VA - The Newport News Invitational at Newport News Park turned out to be a very competitive meet with some of the best teams and runners in the state competing as they battled it out.

The #3 and #4 ranked girls\' teams in AAA, James River and Ocean Lakes went head to head in A girls division at Newport News. The Lady Rapids of James River showed great early season form in their win over the Lady Dolphins of Ocean Lakes (52-75). James River was led by senior Kristin Coffield\'s fourth place finish (19:32) and then saw a tight pack of three come in just at over 20 minutes with sophomore Rebecca Ward (9th, 20:00), sophomore Christy Ward (20:01), and junior Lindsey Traudt (20:07). Rounding out the Lady Rapids\' top five was junior Rita Digrazia (24th, 21:07). Ocean looked strong through four with senior Selina Sekulic (7th, 19:57), sophomore Katie Keally (8th, 19:58), junior Kristen Lloyd (15th, 20:08), and junior Heather Murdoch (16th, 20:15) as they kept it close with James River through four runners as James River held a 31-38 lead at that point. However, Ocean Lakes\' fifth runner, Laura Edwards (41st, 22:28) gave James River a comfortable win over the Lady Dolphins.

Finishing third in A division girls\' race was Norfolk Academy (98 pts) as they were led by sophomore Ginna Ellis who had a stellar run to finish second at 18:40 (13th fastest all-time at Newport Newport News Park). Both Ellis and her team should be up there in the independent school ranks this fall.

Winning the girls\' race in the A division was Jennifer Boyd of Hickory, who broke away from Ellis and the rest of the field to win with a scorching early season time of 18:28 (7th fastest all-time at Newport News Park).

Along with Boyd\'s and Ellis\'s fine performances to dip under 19 minutes already so early this season, there was a handful that went under the 20 minute mark on the flat Newport News Park course with senior Megan Isaacs of Menchville (4th, 19:29), Coffield, sophomore Aspen Foster of Cox (5th, 19:43), senior Amanda Boswell of Princess Anne (6th, 19:51), Sekulic, and Keally.

George Mason senior Annie Maynard, a favorite in the A girls\' individual state title race this fall, had a nice opening with a win in the B girls\' division in a time of 20:59.

The boys\' race in A division was a very exciting one with Green Run junior Steven Walters and Denbigh sophomore Derrick Robbins. The two stayed relatively close to one another throughout the race, but it was Walters who pulled away at the end for a winning time of 15:42 (16th fastest ever at Newport News Park) as Robbins took second with a time of 15:49 (28th fastest ever). Also having solid runs were seniors Joel Parker of Churchland (16:06) and Neil Duffy of Kempsville (16:09).

It was quite uncertain who would be the top team in the Eastern Region heading into this fall. Well at the Newport News Invitational, Hickory may have answered that call with a decisive victory (64 pts). Their front three was very solid in Derrick Baskin (6th, 16:53), Jake Montoya (8th, 16:58), and junior Chris Ward (12th, 17:08).

Finishing second to Hickory was James River out of the Central Region (83 pts). The Rapids were led by Tim Scott\'s 10th place finish (17:02).

In the boys\' B division race, George Mason junior Andrew Montgomery like teammate Annie Maynard, took home a win and asserted himself as one of the top runners in A with his time of 16:42. Also for the AA ranks, the Tabb boys looked very strong with a 17:28 top five time average in winning the B division race (45 pts) with junior Ryan Kent (3rd, 16:52) leading the Tigers.