Mattie Webb 18:14
Kyle King 15:37
Photos by John Herzog
On an unseasonably warm day with temperatures rising to the mid 80s at Panorama Farms in the afternoon start for the Albemarle Invitational (due to SAT testing date), two runners were not to be broken by the heat or the top competition against them in Western Albemarle senior Mattie Webb and Grafton senior Kyle King. Both Webb and King were pre-season favorites in Group AA and their races at the Albemarle Invite only further reinforced them as the top runners in their classification. Webb had three top 10 ranked runners in the race against her including Group AAA state title contender Hannah Lowery of Stafford, while King was facing two individuals who prize the Group AA state cross country title which he won as a junior last year. In similar races, Webb and King dropped their challengers by the two mile mark to roll to decisive wins with final times of 18:14 for Webb and 15:37 for King.
The Albemarle boys appear to have gotten a lift from transfer Chris Springer coming back from injury and inserting freshmen and full-time JV football player Ryan Thomas into their top five as Ben Deal, Austin McPhillips, and Adam Visokay took care of the rest as their top three finishing among the top 20. The Patriots claimed the team title over Commonwealth District and Northwest Region rivals Stafford and Riverbend, while cross town rival Western Albemarle experienced an off day following their great runner-up performance at Maymont.
The Ocean Lakes girls have to feel very good about their chances of finishing high at the state meet this year after a second straight trip to the western part of the state for a hilly 5K course against top competition. Last week, the defending Eastern Region champions placed a respectably close second to the top Northern Region squad Thomas Jefferson and this week notched a comfortable team victory against higher ranked squads Western Albemarle and Osbourn Park. Audrey Batzel led Ocean Lakes with a sixth place finish, while the remaining five were well packed with a group featuring a pair of older and younger sister combos in the Bethune's and Park's.
Photo Gallery by John Herzog - 1,609 total photos from all high school races.
More to come from Albemarle Invitational including race videos, photo gallery, and interviews!