Western Albemarle made a clean sweep of the team titles at the Ragged Mountain Cup on Tuesday at Panorama Farms. The Western Albemarle girls were favored to win and it ended up being a no contest race between them and the rest of the girls' relays after first leg Emily Moffett battled with Louisa's Hannah Best (12:17) for the fastest split of the day at 12:13. The defending Cup champions from Albemarle (2nd, 55:11) were never in contention with the Group AA #3 ranked Western Albemarle girls (50:53), who finished strong with anchor leg Mattie Webb to win by a margin of victory of 4 minutes and 18 seconds.
The Western Albemarle boys may have took heavy losses due to graduation, but the tradition did not graduate as the Warriors certainly put their work in the summer, which gave them an earned advantage over the competition including private school #1 ranked Woodberry Forest. Fork Union front loaded with two strong legs to get out to a large lead including Josh Morris (10:13) battling on opener with Woodberry Forest's Kevin Bennert (10:17) in a potential state meet preview to the second exchanges, which Fork Union proceeded to open up a huge lead with a 10:01 leg from their newest Polish addition with Wojciech Czernek. Fork Union's lead evaporated quickly on the third leg though as Western Albemarle's lack of a front runner may have put them behind early, but having four solid legs under 11 minutes pulled them up into the lead for the final exchange and leg for Derek Armstrong to bring it home in a 10:21 split for a 43:25 overall win for Western.
After Blacksburg in Group AA, it was a crapshoot in projecting the next best teams in the classification with so many graduation losses for last year's top teams. Coach Lindy Bain may not have a runner on his team of the caliber of Tyler Stutzman or Kyle Satterwhite at Western Albemarle this fall, but he has a solid group which together could find itself on the state meet podium come November.
Albemarle took second and third behind Western Albemarle with their "A" (44:12) and "B" teams (44:24), which were separated by only adozen seconds as their appears to be a solid team to form around Anthony Kostelac when he returns to racing action in October. Albemarle had 8 guys run within a 17 second range from 10:57 to 11:14. Kostelac was seen running just fine around the cross country course at Panorama Farms, with some impressive surges uphills to get to different points of the course to cheer on his teammates.
Fork Union actually has five strong runners, but two of which are only sixth and seventh graders though and unable to run varsity for the team. Their last name might sound familar to track fans. Lomong. Yes, the younger brothers of US 1500 Olympian Lopez Lomong are now attending Fork Union Military Academy. In their very first high school race in the states, the Lomong brothers placed third (Peter - 12:06) and fifth (Alex - 12:24) respectively in the open two mile race, which followed the varsity 4x2 mile relay race.
Good Read: Lomong helps brothers share in American dream (UniversalSports.com)
Ragged Mountain Cup - Complete Results
Ragged Mountain Cup Photo Gallery by Brandon Miles - A total of 667 photos from the varsity and JV races.
Ragged Mountain Cup - Race Videos
Complete results, photos, and race videos to be posted soon!