Northwest Region Champs: Rain frees up Lowery to run 18:05, Woodford now 3 season champ

All photos by Michael Somers

The cold rain was an inconvenience to some runners on Thursday racing at their regional meets, but it was a blessing for Stafford sophomore Hannah Lowery as the rain postponed her field hockey game to leave her concentration solely on the sport which does not cancel due to a little rain. She has had to pull double time all fall long between the two sports as her Stafford field hockey team is state tournament bound, while Lowery herself individually is considered to be one of the top contenders for the Group AAA state cross country title. She has done better than pretty well juggling and perfoming well in both sports. As a less busy and time strapped two-sport athlete at the Northwest Region Championships in Charlottesville, Hannah Lowery broke the meet record time by seven seconds with her 18:05 performance and just missed the course record of 18:02 set by Ariel Karabinus in last year's Albemarle Invitational.


Patrick Henry senior Patrick Woodford gets little respect but still finds a way to win Northwest Regional titles. Last February, Woodford won the indoor regional 3200 title and it was a surprise. Last May, Woodford defeated several runners with faster personal and season bests for the outdoor regional 3200 title. Despite being a two-time regional champion on the track and winning several invitationals, Woodford was not considered an odds on favorite to win the cross country regional crown on Thursday as well. Woodford made a break for the win at the major hill found at the two mile mark on the Panorama Farms 5K course and never looked back. At the end when he crossed the line with a personal best time of 16:02, he finally looked back in the chute to see his teammate Harnel Paultre kicking past others for second place in 16:08.

The Commonwealth District was essentially the state qualifier meet for the Northwest Region boys' teams with four of the state's top 10 ranked programs advancing on. The regional race itself ended up becoming a re-run of those four teams with the chance that the order might get re-arranged. The order changed for all four Commonwealth District teams from districts to regions, while still maintaining their position in the top four to advance to the state championships. The VA #3 Colonial Forge boys came in as the favorites and had escaped an upset barely at the district meet at the hands of the VA #4 Stafford squad. Despite posting a team average two seconds faster than last year's AAA state champions from Mountain View (16:38) posted in their 2009 region win, Colonial Forge (16:36 average) would not be able to hold Stafford off for a second straight week.  Coach Pete Augrom's squad at Stafford averaged 16:26 at Panorama Farms with only a 35 second spread for a top five which nearly all placed among the top 15 for All-Region. Stafford's Tyler Oliver (4th, 16:11), Ian MacLeod (10th, 16:20), and Greg Bohmke (11th, 16:22) held their own against a solid performance from Colonial Forge's front three in Brian O'Loughlin (6th, 16:15), Jordanis Lozier (7th, 16:16), and David Pennesi (9th, 16:20).  While Colonial Forge was winning the meet through three runners, Stafford (55 pts) made up the difference then gained its 20 point advantage over Colonial Forge (75 pts) in the critical #4 and #5 runner spots with Brandon Hinton (15th, 16:38) and Joey Abbatello (18th, 16:45). . The Riverbend boys (3rd, 83 pts) qualified for their school's first state meet appearance in school history, while host school Albemarle (4th, 95 pts) could very well match or better their regional finish at next week's state meet.


The Colonial Forge girls went into the regional championships considered favorites to win, despite a strong season and Cardinal District title for the defending regional champions from Osbourn Park. Osbourn Park's chances of repeat certainly were hurt when one of their top runners Kayla Tyrrell had her season cut short before the district meet due to a stress fracture injury. If Tyrrell had been in the lineup for the regional meet, it may have made things more interesting with Osbourn Park girls (88 pts) slipping to third place behind Albemarle (2nd, 87 pts) by one point, but it also might have been insignificant on the team outcome with the way which the Colonial Forge girls raced. Averaging 19:37 as a squad by placing their top five among the top 20 and under 20 minutes, Colonial Forge girls had arguably their best team performance of the season to generate lots of momentum for a state meet podium run next week. Colonial Forge showed some power up front with four ahead of Osbourn Park's first finisher with Shaina Manuel (4th, 19:21), Jenna Walker (8th, 19:21), Lilly Moore (10th, 19:34), and Hannah Dickinson (13th, 19:41). It was fitting that senior Colleen Wade, who was a member of the last regional team champions for Colonial Forge as a freshmen, wrapped up the team scoring and regional team title in 20th place with a time of 19:58 as the team's fifth finisher. The Mountain View boys were unable to defend their regional title this week and will be unable to defend their state title next week after failing to advance out of the ultra competitive Commonwealth District, but at least Coach Dave Davis will have a girls' team representing Mountain View in state competition as the Lady Wildcats finished fourth with 96 points.

Northwest Region Championship Results: Boys Race - Girls Race

Northwest Region Meet Photo Gallery by Michael Somers