The state of Virginia was represented by one team and two individuals at the 2010 Nike Cross Nationals held Saturday, December 4th at Portland Meadows in Portland, Oregon. Course conditions were arguably worse than ever in meet history as times absolutely went out the window as runners raced only for highest individual and team placement possible with one another. It was a mixed bag of results for the Virginia delegation in Oregon this weekend.
Photo by Ryan Kelly
The Midlothian boys had a disappointing showing in the mud at Portland Meadows for the 2010 Nike Cross Nationals. This year's Virginia 3A state cross country champions and NXN Southeast Regional team champions placed 21st out of 22 teams with 462 points. Competing as the Chesterfield XC Club, Darren Barlow led the Midlo boys as the team's top finisher in Oregon with a 103rd place finish (17:43) and sophomore Sean Willard was one of the team's individual bright spots in 108th place (17:50). Nonetheless, the Midlothian had a very successful season in becoming the fourth boys' team from Virginia to qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals (Midlothian - 2006, Thomas Jefferson S&T - 2007, Jamestown - 2008) and winning their fourth state cross country team title in school history.
Photo by Ryan Kelly
Hidden Valley's two individual qualifiers in Annie LeHardy and Haley Cutright had much better showing than the Midlo team in Portland. Both Hidden Valley seniors competed last year at NXN when their team qualified as an at-large berth and used their experience from a year ago to their advantage to improve upon their 2009 NXN finishes. LeHardy went from 52nd place in the 2009 race to 26th place (19:28) in 2010 as the Group AA state cross country champion was the highest finisher among the Southeast Region individual qualifiers. Her teammate Haley Cutright was only 12 places behind in 38th place (19:51) to improve drastically from her 90th place finish in the 2009 Nike Cross Nationals. LeHardy and Cutright look to build upon their fall success into the track season, which Cutright has never ran track before while LeHardy has never ran indoor track. The possibility is more likely for both happening for the first time in the 2011 track season, which could help form a potential state record chasing 4x800 with teammates Carolyn Bethel and Ashleigh Torres.