2003 AA Cross Country Preview: Male Individuals

There appears to be eight elite runners that should make All-State. However, the next seven spots are wide open. The race for the top spot looks to be a two-man race unless a dark horse emerges. Will Williams a rising senior of Rockbridge County and Justin Hatch a rising senior of Christiansburg are the clear favorites to battle for the title of AA State Champion.

Williams Even though Williams struggled in the mud at last years VHSL Cross-Country meet and came across the finish line in 17:03.86, he has the better numbers of the two. Williams came back the next week at Foot Locker South held at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, NC to finish as the top junior with an outstanding time of 15:49.12. Williams also had an outstanding track season with personal best times in the 3200m of 9:31.57 and 1600m in 4:28.82.

Hatch Hatch had a disappointing state showing due to a streptococcus infection and struggled home in 17:10.26. However, he seems to be ready for his senior season after running the Claytor Lake 5K road course in 15:50. Hatch also had an outstanding track season and beat Williams at the AA State outdoor meet in the 3200m. His personal best in the 3200m is 9:40.67 and 1600m are 4:29.15. It should be a great battle, and hopefully we will get to see them compete in some early season meets.

Bierlein The next six runners stand tall over the rest of the field and are the only six runners in AA that have Milestat elite performances at the VHSL Cross-Country Meet or Footlocker South, or have run a 3200m under 10 minutes, a 1600m under 4:30 or have an 800m elite time. They are Matt Bierlein of Fauquier, James Printz of James Wood, Joel Hanlon of James Wood (may be moving to Millbrook), Sean Bossman of Tabb, Zack Frye of James Wood, and Jordan Bowman of Fort Defiance. Beirlein has the fastest 1600m (4:20.42) and 800m (1:56.71) of all returning Cross-Country runners. His 16:45.86 at last years VHSL meet is the second best time of a returning runner. James Printz has the best returning time (16:41.53) from the VHSL meet of anybody in the field. Printz also posted a 9:50.14 3200m and a 4:38.53 1600m. Joel Hanlon ran 16:58.86 at last year's State meet and had a great track season with a 4:27.10 1600m and a 2:03.34 800m. Jordan Bowman ran a 16:54.43 at Footlocker, had a 9:51.87 3200m and a fast 1600m in 4:28.34. Sean Bossman ran a fast 3200m in 9:44.14 and 1600m in 4:36. Zack Frye ran 16:50.75 at last years VHSL meet and posted very good times in the 3200m (9:58.34) and 1600m (4:33.64).

The next seven available spots open to the designation of All-State are wide open. The leading contenders are: Andrew Friski of Rockbridge County (17:07.38 VHSL meet), 10:04.47 3200m and 4:38.48 1600m, Donnie Mikels of Rustburg (16:57 VHSL meet), 10:07 3200m and 4:30.34 1600m, Kyle Russell of James Wood (17:12.61 VHSL meet), 10:03.14 3200m and 1:58.77 800m, Stephen Knight of Spotswood (17:28.22 Footlocker South), 4:30.22 1600m and 2:01.95 800m, Jordan Jarrells is the top underclassman (16:54.35 VHSL meet), and 4:39.44 1600m, Ryan Kent of Tabb (17:24.61 VHSL meet), 10:14.92 3200m and 4:36.00 1600m, Pat Eggleston of Brentsville District ran a 10:02.35 3200m and 4:39.63 1600m, Owen Parkinson of Fort Defiance (17:15.10 VHSL meet), 10:00.07 3200m, Jared Roncaglione of Gretna (17:27 VHSL meet), 4:31.62 1600m and 2:02.95 800m, Lance McDaniel of Pulaski County (17:15.97 Footlocker South), 10:12.21 3200m and 4:39.95 1600m, Scott Adams of Hidden Valley (16:48.60 Footlocker South), Nathan Chambers of Marion (17:29.96 VHSL meet), and 10:19.02 3200m, Kevin Kadak of Jefferson Forest (17:17.56 VHSL meet and 4:40.33 1600m, John Horst of Christiansburg (17:01.27 Footlocker South), Jeffrey Weeks of Fort Defiance (17:13.02 VHSL meet), Jeffrey Wheeler of Tabb (17:18.50 VHSL meet), Will Farlow of Jefferson Forest (17:15.91 Footlocker South), Robby Corbett of Fort Defiance (17:20.29 VHSL meet), Derek Hizer of Fort Defiance (17:26.73 at VHSL meet and 17:27.13 Footlocker South), and Miles Morrison of Rockbridge County (17:27.80 VHSL meet).

In November, we will see how the favorites perform and if any other surprises emerge as they usually do in this crazy sport called Cross-Country.