Finally, the cross country season is starting to heat up. Over the past few weeks, a handful of big meets took place around the nation, but nothing of any true substance. This weekend, there is no less than a half dozen meets that will showcase the top team and individual talent. Let the races begin!
Four of the top NTN Southeast boys teams square off at the Great Meadow Invitational Saturday, while a huge match up between Foot Locker South #4 Thomas Porter (Jr., Mountain View) and Foot Locker South #5 Jason Witt (Sr., Midlothian) will take place up front. On the girls side, US #2 Midlothian, VA will look to power over the field.
Surprises, and upsets, were all the rage Saturday at the Great Meadow Invitational, in Virginia. Nursing a few injuries, boys US #10 Midlothian, VA, took a disappointing fourth. However, Midlothian senior Jason Witt earned himself the individual title. Meanwhile, girls US #2 Midlothian, VA, took care of business, placing their top five in the top twenty-six, while team leader Louise Hannallah finished first.
Talk about a close finish! There may be a new face and name to go along with the four billed pre-season Foot Locker contenders among Virginia boys (Dorrell, Witt, Graves, and Porter) in Potomac School's Johns Ross. His 15:21 5K at Nike Outdoor Nationals was certainly a promising sign to end the spring, but his race this past weekend at the Great Meadow Invitational cemented himself as a Foot Locker hopeful as he gave another hopeful in Jason Witt all he could handle as nearly ran down the Midlothian senior at the line with less than two tenths of a second separating him from Witt and the win. (Photo by Eric Cassel) NEW: WATCH VIDEO OF THE FINISH! While all of the preseason predictions, rankings, and message board banter is great in generating interest and excitement for the season, it all becomes null when the actual races begin and the results show who really is better than who. The Great Meadow Invitational certainly showed the unpredictable nature of the sport of cross country with plenty of surprises and upset performances. While the Oakton boys seized the top ranking in the state already heading into this weekend from Midlothian, Midlothian still was ranked as the #1 ranked team in the Southeast. The losses of a transfer and as well as an injury to two of their top returning runners coming into the season proved to make Midlothian a very vulnerable team as Oakton put up a dominating victory at Great Meadow with a team score of 57 points and team average of 16:31 (5k), while two other squads in Jamestown (2nd, 90 pts, 16:36 avg) and Mountain View (3rd, 104 pts, 16:41 avg) finished ahead of last year's NTN squad in Midlothian (4th, 114 pts, 16:39 avg) as well. Midlothian's ace Jason Witt opened up with a second straight Great Meadow win (15:38.01), but not before a last second scare from a late charge by Potomac School's Johns Ross (15:38.19). Meanwhile, the US #2 Midlothian girls (73 pts) took care of business with a solid par team run as the Lady Trojans had nearly five in a very tough top 25 (#5 was 26th) to crack with many of the state's top tier individuals in the race. Maryland school Winston Churchill caught many of the Virginia schools off guard pulling in a runner-up finish (112 pts) to Midlothian as they were led by race champion Louise Hannallah. Hannallah pulled out a 18:34 5K win in a very tight finishing top three (all pictured above by Linda D'Amato) with Osbourn Park's Ariel Karabinus running a big PR for second in 18:36 and early race leader Kathleen Lautzenheiser of Midlothian settling for third in 18:39. The Western Branch girls represented the Eastern Region very well with a third place finish (136 pts) and must now have great confidence of the potential to become the first team from the region in quite some to make into the podium in the AAA state race with a third place showing at Great Meadow. Great Meadow Invitational Race Videos: Varsity A Girls - Varsity A Boys Great Meadow Invitational Photo Gallery by Linda D'Amato - More photos to be added.
The 2007 Great Meadow Invitational looks to be one of the first major invitationals in Virginia having many of the best of the best racing against one another. A total of four NTN Southeast ranked boys teams will be present with #1 Midlothian, #4 Mountain View, #8 Oakton, and #9 Oakton. Meanwhile, individual race should be exciting as well with two potential Footlocker finalists in Thomas Porter and Jason Witt going head to head, which will be an early season preview of the AAA state battle. Oakton's Joe Lorusso and Jamestown's Andrew Colley also will make for a great race up front while leading their nationally ranked programs. The US #2 ranked Midlothian girls will obviously be heavy favorites at Great Meadow led up front by a pack of All-State caliber runners including 1600 meter state champion Kathleen Lautzenheiser (pictured left by Linda D'Amato winning 2006 Great Meadow Invite). Kristen Wolfe, the defending Central Region champion from James River, will be a strong individual contender to challenge last year's Great Meadow Invite champion Lautzenheiser. There will be some solid teams behind the Midlothian girls as well including 2006 AAA third place squad Douglas Freeman and Eastern Region title contender Western Branch.Team List
Photos taken by Linda D'Amato from the 2007 Great Meadow Invitational held at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia on Saturday, September 8th.
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