Stafford sophomore Hannah Lowery had nothing but open space to run on Saturday after spending her freshmen year running with the likes of now graduated Northwest Region stars Katherine Walker, Kaitlyn Davis, and Ariel Karabinus. Lowery, splitting time once again with field hockey this fall, won by 51 seconds with her time of 18:35. Last year she improved a full minute from her first to second race at Great Meadow.
After putting together strong finishes and beating many of the top ranked public schools in Virginia for several years at Great Meadow, the three-time private school champion Bishop O'Connell girls scored a monumental win in the program's history with their first place finish on Saturday. The VA #10 ranked O'Connell girls put three runners among the top 10 in the competitive field with Sarah McCarthy (5th, 19:44), Emily Blagg (8th, 19:59), and Devin Nihill (9th, 20:00) as they front loaded with their top three on a well packed VA #9 ranked Colonial Forge squad (27 second 1-5 spread) to win by 31 points with their team score of 55.
The Gonzaga boys and Collin Leibold took it to the Virginians in the opening meet of the 2010 cross country season for the Washington, DC private school. Gonzaga's top runner Leibold was able to open up on a talented pack which included Loudoun County's Tommy Curtin, Lee-Davis' Cody Snyder, and Warren County's Seumas O'Reilly in the second loop of the hill course at Great Meadow. Leibold was the only runner under 16 minutes with his 15:54 victory. Following Leibold, Gonzaga had their entire top five under 17:30 and among the top 35 to finish with an overall team score of 92 points for the team title.
In the race for second individually after Leibold, neither Curtin nor O'Reilly were able to chase after the leader or break away from Cody Snyder of Lee-Davis with his 2:29 1000 closing speed. Snyder was able to take advantage to outsprint both highly ranked Group AA runners for second place in 16:03. Warren County's O'Reilly put together another strong opener at Great Meadow following his runner-up finish in 2009 and put his name in the hat as a Group AA state darkhorse defeating contender Curtin.
Curtin while disappointed with his first race of the season and coming off a recent wisdom teeth surgery to interrupt his training, had to take great pleasure in his team's performance as the Group AA #8 pre-season ranked team shocked a lot of people including their own coach Courtney Campbell in beating out VA #5 ranked Riverbend on the sixth runner tiebreaker for second place in the team standings with an equal team score of 143 points. Loudoun County not only leapfrogged several higher ranked teams in their region and Group AA, but also defeated two VA top 10 pre-season ranked squads in #3 Colonial Forge (5th) and #8 Mountain View (8th).
Photo Gallery by Brandon Miles - Over 2,000 photos total.
Video Interviews: Coach Campbell (Loudoun County) - Coach Walls (Bishop O'Connell) - Hannah Lowery (Stafford) - Cody Snyder (Lee-Davis) - Seumas O'Reilly (Warren County) - Tommy Curtin (Loudoun County)