Cooler temperatures after this week's rain certainly boded well for runners and teams to take advantage to run fast times on Saturday with many getting an opportunity to compete on fairly quick 5K courses for the first time this season. Meet summaries below from this weekend's meets. Links to meet pages with results below. MileStat.com was on-site at the Octoberfest Invite, so expect many photos and race videos to be uploaded soon.
Octoberfest Invitational - The varsity A boys race at Octoberfest saw a great individual battle between two potential state champions in the next meet held at Great Meadow between Douglas Freeman senior Silas Frantz and Skyline sophomore Thomas Madden. Frantz and Madden had company on the first loop with DC prep runners John McGowan of Sidwell Friends and Great Meadow Invite champ Collin Leibold of Gonzaga, but Frantz and Madden broke away from the chase pack on the second loop to race for the win. Frantz opened up a lead on Madden after the two mile mark, but Madden nearly closed up that distance in the final stretch with the Freeman senior Frantz holding off the Skyline underclassmen Madden (2nd, 15:31) for 1 second win in a PR time of 15:30. The race featured two of the state's top young distance runners with Madden and Chantilly sophomore Sean McGorty looking like a serious contender for the Northern Region title finishing fourth with a 15:45 5K personal best performance at Octoberfest.
The Stafford boys are legit. There will be no more written about how this team has continued to overarchieve at invitationals this season including a surprise win at the Oatlands Invite last Saturday. Coach Pete Augrom's squad will be a serious player in the competitive Northwest Region as well as at the state meet. Stafford boys finished second to the Gonzaga (DC) in the team scoring with 153 points, but well ahead of some quality programs including Commonwealth District and Northwest Region rival Riverbend (5th, 239 pts) and Group AA state meet podium caliber teams Skyline (3rd, 205 pts) and Potomac Falls (4th, 231 pts). Stafford's top four finishers came across the finish line in a 31 second span with Tyler Oliver (10th, 16:10), Greg Bohmke (19th, 16:31), Ian Macleod (24th, 16:38), and Joey Abbatiello (26th, 16:41).
To add onto a great day for the Stafford program was Hannah Lowery getting back into the winner's circle following a bump in the road last week at Oatlands taking second to Cosby's Megan Moye. While the sophomore Lowery no longer can have an undefeated season, she has been having pretty close to a perfect season as her race at Great Meadow on Saturday was the best yet as Lowery clocked a personal best time of 18:11 to win decisively against a field with included more than a handful of VA top 25 ranked individuals. While Lowery has won four invitationals this season, Millbrook's Crystal Nelson has won none but her races have been consistently impressive with second and third places to make her one of the top Group AA performers so far this cross country season including a runner-up 18:23 PR behind Lowery on Saturday. Two of the state's fastest freshmen girls raced head-to-head at Octoberfest with Hanover's Molly Breidenbaugh (3rd, 18:31) and Robert E. Lee's Bailey Kolonich (7th, 18:56).
The Thomas Jefferson girls raced a 5K for only the second time this season, but on a faster course and better weather than last week at Oatlands to not only remain undefeated this season in invitational competition but to run fast times while doing it. For a second straight meet, one of their top runners Lisa Junta was held out healing from injury, but the TJ girls still put all of their top 7 seven under 21 minutes to average 19:57 as a team and a top 5 spread of 54 seconds. It was not as much of a blowout win as Oatlands though with Ocean Lakes girls showing themselves as not only the top team from the Eastern Region, but a squad which can return to Great Meadow in November to mix it up with the top Group AAA teams at the state meet finishing only 16 points behind Group AAA #1 ranked Thomas Jefferson (133 pts) with a team score of 149 points. Ocean Lakes was actually ahead of Thomas Jefferson by five points through four runners, but Rachel Kuprenas (41st, 20:20) came through for TJ in the all important fifth runner spot to secure the team title.
VMI Invitational - Math and odds say 7 against 1 is not a fair fight, which is what Group AAA top ranked Andrew Catanese was up against at the VMI Invitational with his only competition being the VA #1 ranked Blacksburg boys' top 7. Catanese was not doubled teamed by Blacksburg, but septupled by them as he finished with a time of 16:05 third behind personal best 5K runs from George Carter (15:44) and Zach Link (15:55). Outside of Catanese, Blacksburg team trialed the meet taking the next four places with Frank Locascio (4th, 16:07), Anthony Noegel (5th, 16:31), Matthew Paiser (6th, 16:41), and Caman Skelton (7th, 16:45). Albemarle freshmen Ryan Thomas was not racing with the Albemarle top 7 at Great American, but may joining the varsity lineup at some point this season especially after his 8th place finish at VMI with time of 16:49 to slip inside Blacksburg's top 7 and ahead of Blacksburg seventh runner Nick Link (9th, 16:50).
Hannah Brown was held out from racing for the Blacksburg, but her team still won easily without her tallying a team score of 35 points led by individual race champion Sarah Dorrell who posted a time of 19:07 on the VA Horse Center 5K course in Lexington. The Christiansburg girls were a respectable second place with 77 points and three runners among the top 15 under 21 minutes. Jefferson Forest's Leigha Schimmoeller appears to have returned to her top form from last cross country with her second straight strong race with a runner-up 19:29 showing at VMI.
Hagan Stone XC Classic - The Lee-Davis boys and West Springfield girls won team titles in the championship division at Hagan Stone as while the VA #15 West Springfield girls claimed their first place trophy comfortably by 32 points, the Lee-Davis boys squeaked out a win on a sixth runner tiebreaker against Cardinal Gibbons (NC) with 140 points. Cody Snyder led the charge for the Lee-Davis boys as he tackled the course and competitive field with four others under 16 minutes by kicking to a 15:43 individual victory. West Springfield's Colin Taylor finished among the top 10 with a season best time of 16:10, while Snyder's teammate Robbie Longest ran a big PR of 16:32 for 12th place.
The West Springfield girls may not currently have the front runner like the Lee-Davis girls did in Bonny Turnage as the sophomore finished second against one of Tennessee's top runners in Molly Foster of Science Hill (18:27) with a season best 5K time of 18:37, but the Northern Region squad is well packed and exhibits depth. A 56 second spread and only 14 places separated West Springfield's top runner Maddie Wittich (8th, 19:18) and their fifth and final scorer Marlena Allen (22nd, 20:14) for a winning team score of 73 points. The Lee-Davis girls were champions at Hagan Stone one year ago and despite losing two of their top three runners returned a formidable squad to finish only three points off second place with 118 points.
Wendy's Invitational - The VA #5 ranked Bishop O'Connell girls decided to take it easy on the public schools in Virginia that they have been beating up on this season and instead unleash on the top teams in North Carolina and South Carolina which gather annually at the Wendy's Invitational in Charlotte. The O'Connell girls won the invitational team title with 139 points and team average of 19:04 as much of the team success could be attributed to stellar races from their front three all running under 18:45 on the fast McAlpine Greenway 5K course (Foot Locker South course). O'Connell senior Sarah McCarthy continues to race like the best private school runner in Virginia as she challenged the race leaders on Saturday before settling for a big PR time of 18:18 for third place. Also clocking significant drops in their previous bests were teammates Devin Nihill (8th, 18:42) and Emily Blagg (9th, 18:43). Rounding out their team scoring were Nicole Carty (58th, 19:47) and Ashley Stumvoll (61st, 19:51).
The Oakton girls finished 9th in the invite division with a 51 second spread with their top five all nearly under 20 minutes, while the Oakton boys were 10th with Michael NcNamee posting the team's fastest time of 16:14 for a 30th place individual finish. Abingdon had a much better team showing in the 3A boys race as a very small gap of only 26 separated their top five finishers between Tanner Cook (14th, 16:36) and Colby Hincher (37th, 17:02). With their third place team effort at McAlpine, Abingdon looks to be running well enough to become a potential Region IV runner-up behind VA #1 ranked Blacksburg.
Panther Invitational - After competing in several high pressure meets against top competition already this season, the West Potomac boys and girls got a chance to compete in a more low key meet and focus on running fast 5K times in the first annual Panther Invitational hosted by Bruton High at New Quarter Park in Williamsburg. The West Potomac boys tallied a low team score of 18 points with seven of the top nine finishers as Brady Corum had his best race of the season to win the individual title in 16:31 followed by five other teammates under 17 minutes in Mark Hanak (2nd, 16:40), Khoki Bernier (3rd, 16:45), Ben Aleixo (5th, 16:52), and Marc Lotterie (7th, 16:59). Only Patrick Henry's Julian Menk (4th, 16:50) and Stone Bridge's Brady Guertin (6th, 16:55) were able to break up West Po's top seven.
The top three for the West Potomac girls ran away from the field to make it a sweep for Sarah Jane Underwood (1st, 19:22), Dale Lescher (2nd, 19:23), and Sophia Passacantado (3rd, 19:33). Their team score of 22 points was more than half the score of the team runners-up from Stone Bridge (48 pts).
North County Classic - Patrick Woodford of Patrick Henry and Erin Wheeler of Northside both won individually at Northside High School's home 5K course while also helping their teams to titles as well. Wheeler put 1 minute and 16 seconds on her nearest competition in her 19:58 clocking, while Woodford dominated his race as well by 42 seconds as he crossed the line first in 17:12.
Golden Eagle Invitational - Stuart Robertson pleased the home crowd by winning his school Staunton River's home invitational as the junior clocked in at 16:45 to take the individual title by 35 seconds. Group A school Altavista won the boys' team title against several Group AA schools, while Lindsey Siska and Salem girls spoiled a team sweep for Altavista as Siska won big with her time of 20:27.
Frank Keyser Invitational - The Woodgrove girls won their first invitational team title in the school's history albeit the school has only been open for a month at the Frank Keyser Invite in Maryland. Woodgrove placed five girls in the top 20 as all five runners ran 20:30 or faster on the three mile course at Boonsboro High School. Their top three ran very well with Lyda Cromwell (6th, 19:07), Audrey Houghton (8th, 19:10), and Alex Juzbasich (7th, 19:16) finishing in a short span from each other inside the top 10.