Central Region District Meet Summaries


Capital District - In last year's Capital District Meet, Andrew Cantanese of Atlee was able to press the middle of the race hard enough to drop the hard closer Cody Snyder of Lee-Davis for the district cross country title. Catanese tried the same approach this year, but this time Snyder refused to be dropped as he moved past Catanese in the final mile for a 16:02 course best on his home course at Pole Green Park. Catanese placed second in the 2010 district race, but 39 seconds faster than his win in 2009 with a 16:11. It was a much better performance from Catanese after starting out the season well with a sub 15 minute 3 mile performance at the Fork Union Invitational then having subpar runs in his last two major invitationals at VMI and the MileStat.com Invite.

The Hanover boys just missed their first district title last year finishing second to Atlee by one point, but were decisive in claiming their school's first Capital District crown by placing five runners among the top 11 with junior Michael Poyer (3rd, 16:48) and senior Michael Goolsby (4th, 16:59) as the next finishers in the chase pack found some time after Snyder and Catanese came through the chute. The Atlee boys ran very well with a fairly inexperienced and young team behind Catanese as the only senior among their top seven to garner second place with 45 points ahead of third place Lee-Davis (47 pts) Three of Atlee's top six runners were underclassmen including sophomore Griffin Carmichael (6th, 17:14) and freshmen Nathaniel Hall (8th, 17:23) earning All-District honors individually.


The girls' race expected to feature a race between two of the Central Region's top young female distance runners in Hanover freshmen Molly Breidenbaugh and Lee-Davis sophomore Bonny Turnage. Turnage had been the region's top ninth grader last fall as the 2009 Capital District champion, while Breidenbaugh has certainly assumed that title with numerous 5K performances well in the 18 minute range. Breidenbaugh ended up making it a no contest race as she put 44 seconds between herself and Turnage in claiming her first of likely many district titles over the next four years with a time of 18:56. Hanover teammate Anna Gordon was able to move ahead of Turnage during the race to make it a 1-2 finish for the Lady Hawks with a 19:16 performance for the senior Gordon.



Turnage's teammates backed her up though as Hanover taking the top two places individually with Breidenbaugh and Gordon as well as freshmen Annie Sadler taking fourth place in 20:46 was negated by Lee-Davis putting five runners between Hanover's third finisher Sadler and their fourth finisher. With only one senior among their top seven in Tiel Westbrook (10th, 21:17), the future is promising for the Lee-Davis girls to build toward a state qualifier caliber team as they tallied 31 points to defend their Capital District team title.


Hanover finished second as a team with 41 points as depth issues prevented them from seriously challenging Lee-Davis for the team despite having three of the top four individuals in the meet, while the Atlee girls (3rd, 60 pts) are simply waiting for their great eight grader class of girls to arrive next year led by Kaitlyn Mason to make an instant impact on their varsity lineup next fall.



Central District - The Central District moved its cross country championship meet from its traditional venue of Pocahontas State Park to a new course at the Petersburg Battlefield. Also something new with this year's Central District Meet was the fact that the Thomas Dale boys were not the team championships. Instead Matoaca snapped the Knights' streak of district cross country titles and attempt at winning a 10th straight crown with a 34 to 43 point victory against Thomas Dale. Leading the Matoaca squad was individual champion Joel Reynolds (17:44) and his brother as well as race runner-up Matt Reynolds (18:21). The key to Matoaca's win was front loading on Thomas Dale's pack with four runners ahead of Dale's second runner despite the fact that Matoaca's fifth finisher came across the line behind Thomas Dale's seventh man.


Catherine Pulley of Colonial Heights regained her district title which she lost one year ago to Dinwiddie's Kelsey Newcomb as the 2008 Central District cross country champion became the 2010 champion with a 21:19 performance on the Petersburg Battlefield 5K course. It was not the past Central Region 800 meter champion Newcomb who battled Pulley for the win as Newcomb continues to work herself back into form after missing the entire outdoor track season due to injury, but Prince George senior Emily Marshall (2nd, 21:25) and Colonial Forge teammate Carrie Willis (3rd, 21:25) pressing her to the finish line. Marshall helped lead Prince George girls to a second straight district team title with 43 points as the Lady Royals took five of the top ten individual places with Marshall, Diana Owens (6th, 22:14), Rachelle Rawls (7th, 22:24), and Melissa Tomlin (10th, 23:02)




Colonial District - Douglas Freeman senior Silas Frantz could have went out and blown away the field with fast time and large margin of victory as a runner head and shoulders above the rest, but instead chose to pace and guide his successor to lead the Rebels in coming years with talented sophomore Ronnie Calkins. Frantz encouraged and pushed Calkins throughout the race as the two came in together with Frantz pulling away for a 16:21 win followed by Calkins showing himself as a potential champ in the future for second with a time of 16:25. The Douglas Freeman boys dominated the Colonial District with a team score of 34 points putting them well ahead of their next challengers in Maggie Walker (2nd, 70 pts) and Mills Godwin (3rd, 71 pts). Even after Frantz graduates next year, the Freeman boys should be a tough team to beat for years to come with a top seven filled with underclassmen/non-seniors and a great sophomore class including Calkins and Ian McDonald (9th, 17:06).


Mills Godwin gave Maggie Walker a good scare for second place with a strong front two in Dan De Nijs (3rd, 16:39) and Andrew Benefer (4th, 16:52), while Deep Run was right on both teams' heels in fourth place as the final regional qualifier with 73 points.. Frantz is expected to be one of the favorites for the Central Region title next weekend at Pole Green and while top contenders from the Capital and Dominion districts had to battle each other for first place in their district races, Frantz did not have to go to the well as he cruised to his district win.



The Maggie Walker girls were a state meet podium squad two years ago which senior Anna Spiers was the fifth and final scorer on the 2008 Group AAA state runner-up team. Now Spiers is leading the Maggie Walker girls as the top runner in what looks to be another squad capable of slipping inside the top three at Great Meadow for the state meet. Spiers went into Saturday's district race as the underdog to Deep Run senior Erica Dobbs as she had lost to the defending Central Region champion Dobbs twice this season including a pre-district race at Pole Green earlier this month. The two runners went out together at a quick pace but when they returned from the back loop of the Pole Green Park course, Spiers had opened up a lead on Dobbs and continued to build upon that margin to the finish line with a 22 second win with a time of 18:20. Dobbs settled for second place in 18:42, but certainly expect her to put up a fight next week at the regional race being the defending champion despite Cosby's Megan Moye heavily favored to win.


Behind Spiers, Maggie Walker has one of the best front three in the state with sophomore Rachel Galton and freshmen Daisy Banta as their dominance up front was on display at the district meet with Galton breaking 19 minutes and finishing only 8 seconds behind Dobbs for third place in 18:50, while Banta was the next runner across the line in fourth place with a time of 19:24. Maggie Walker coach Jim Holdren lost one of his top five runners and junior Caroline Rose to a stress fracture injury this past week, but some of his younger runners really stepped up to fill out their top five nicely to let senior Anna Spiers enjoy being a member of a district champion squad all four years of high school. Two freshmen are found running well inside of Maggie Walker's top five with Banta and Nemo Keller as she placed seventh individually with a time of 19:39, while junior Lindsay Ardiff went from running outside of the team's top seven earlier this season to becoming the team's fifth runner on Saturday in 10th place with a time of 19:53. Maggie Walker sophomore Jessica Lull also earned All-District honors in 12th place with a time of 20:11.


The Mills Godwin girls were a distant second to Maggie Walker with 56 points, but well ahead of the next two regional qualifiers in Deep Run (3rd, 98 pts) and Douglas Freeman (4th, 105 pts). Godwin's top runner Elizabeth Powell got out in front to place fifth with a time of 19:35, while the rest of team went with a more conservative first mile as a pack to come in together in a stringed out line of finishers from places 13 through 17 with Courtney Burton (13th, 20:20), Katharine Benfer (14th, 20:21), Erin Dalton (15th, 20:21), Catelyn Hill (16th, 20:29), and Katie Wood (17th, 20:39) while teammate Anne Menefee was able to move up more in the final mile to grab 9th place with a time of 19:49.



Dominion District - Cosby senior Evan Niciphor expected to be potentially battling late in the race for the Dominion District individual title with a Midlothian runner, but he expected to be running stride for stride with Brayden Burleigh, not Darren Barlow. However, that was the case Niciphor and Barlow returned from the 3K woods loop at Pocahontas State Park with favorite Brayden Burleigh having been dropped by the two runner seeking their first district title. Niciphor, who finished just ahead of Barlow at Great American where the two both ran their personal best 5K times, pulled away in the final 400 meters to win in a near personal best time of 15:38. Barlow stepped up to lead Midlothian as the team's top finisher just missing a new PR as well in 15:41. The Dominion District had one of the fastest races among the all district meets in Virginia with four runners under 16 minutes with Niciphor, Barlow, Manchester's Nathan Clarke (3rd, 15:46), and Burleigh (15:54). All four Dominion District runners are certainly capable of top 15 All-State finishers in two weeks at Great Meadow.


The Midlothian boys rolled to another district title with ease as they have one of the longest running streaks in the state of consecutive district titles which extends to the late 1990s. Despite not a great run from their top runner Burleigh, Midlothian still averaged 16:13 as team with seven of the top nine finishers all 16:50 or faster on the Pocahontas State Park course with Barlow, Burleigh, Sam Hush (5th, 16:20), Sean Willard (6th, 16:29), Andrew Gorusch (7th, 16:41), Kyle Murray (8th, 16:47), and Ryan Peterson (9th, 16:50). Despite not having much competition to press them, Midlothian averaged four seconds faster than the Stafford boys did on the same course two weeks ago at the MileStat.com Invitational as Stafford along with Commonwealth District champions Colonial Forge expect to be Midlothian's top challengers at the state meet.


James River boys beat out Cosby (3rd, 71 pts) and Manchester (4th, 83 pts) for team runner-up honors with nearly their entire top five earning All-District top 50 honors with a 45 second spread including Cody Stancil (10th, 16:51), Clay Word (11th, 16:53), Sam Reid (14th, 17:14), Philip Froelich (15th, 17:15), and Jonathan Burleigh (16th, 17:16).


In her last race at Pocahontas for the MileStat.com Invite, Megan Moye had to roll with two of the state's best in the race with Hannah Lowery of Stafford and Sophie Chase of Lake Braddock as she won in a course record time of 17:42. She would not have the same competition to push her along at the Dominion District Meet in her attempt to also break the meet record time of 18:04 held by multiple state champion Kathleen Lautzenheiser of Midlothian. Moye fell just short of that time as she won big by 45 seconds with her 18:06 performance. As a junior, Moye has another year to break that record as well as further drop her own course record and heads into next Saturday's Central Region Championships as the top ranked runner in Group AAA.


The Midlothian girls won the team title easily as expected, but some questions have to be raised if the top ranked team in Group AAA is healthy and deep enough to become state champions again after having their streak of 4 straight titles snapped last year by Lake Braddock. Top returning runner Marie Johnston was unable to compete, while another top five runner Krista Willard did not finish the race at the district meet. Their depth is not as strong as in some years to make it tougher for them to overcome having a few runners missing due to health or injury. Midlothian girls looked great through three with Kara Dickerson (2nd, 18:51), Claire Benjamin (3rd, 19:01), and Kari Johnston (4th, 19:13) finishing ahead of an All-State caliber runner in Kaila Blackburn (5th, 19:27) of Monacan. However, the absence of Marie Johnston and Willard unable to finish would have been felt certainly at a more competitive regional or state meet especially looking at the times of their fourth (19:51) and fifth (20:46) runners on a faster 5K courses than what they will race on at the regional and state meet. The regional meet could end up becoming a tight race with Midlothian and Maggie Walker if either Johnston or Willard are not back to race.


Taking runner-up to Midlothian with 44 points were the girls from Cosby High School. Cosby is hoping to make a return to the state meet after qualifying for the first time in school history two years ago. Their depth has only extended through four runners for much of the season, but the fifth runner situation appears to improving to give them a shot to possibly finish among the top 4 qualifiers at the Central Region Meet as freshmen Kelly Ward was the team's final scorer and just missed All-District honors in 16th place with a time of 21:17. Cosby freshmen Kate Birnbaum (6th, 19:45) and sophomore Lindsey Blum (8th, 19:45) ran well for top 10 finishes under 20 minutes, but will likely need to run even better at the regional meet matching up with the #2 and #3 runners of other contending teams to make up for any points lost in the fifth spot.