When twinges of an injury started affecting UVA commit Libby Davidson, she put aside her dream of a Foot Locker Nationals title to aid her E.C. Glass to the first Virginia State Championship title in school history.
By Johanna Grestchel, MileSplit (Nov. 25, 2016)Libby Davidson will be in North Carolina this Saturday for the Foot Locker South Regional. She's a two-time Foot Locker Nationals qualifier and one of the top returners to San Diego, but this year she won't be racing. The E.C. Glass (Virginia) High senior, who will run for the University of Virginia next year, placed just fourth at the Virginia 4A state meet two weeks ago. The placement was unexpected and her time, 18:25, is over a minute slower than her state meet record of 17:12 [broken this year by Kate Murphy in 17:08]. Davidson was supposed to win state this year -- and maybe nationals. She won the Virginia 4A state cross country title as a freshman and sophomore but had to settle for runner-up honors last year behind eventual Foot Locker champion Weini Kelati. This was also supposed to be the E.C. Glass senior's year to go for the Foot Locker title herself after recording sixth place finishes in 2015 and 2014. So when Davidson developed some nagging tendonitis in her hips, she was faced with difficult decision: should she have shut down her season completely, or rest through the VHSL regional and state championships - ultimately, so she could be ready for nationals. Or, should she have run through the pain and go for broke? Because 2016 is also the year that her team was supposed to win their first state cross country title. Van Porter, the E.C. Glass head coach, said that he never knew the extent of her discomfort. "I may have shut her down for the state meet [if I had known]," he said. "But she was not to be denied. E.C. Glass had never won a state cross country championship and that was one of the few things she hadn't checked off her list. She would have crawled across the finish line and she probably would have still broken 19 minutes." Davidson confirmed via phone last week that her season ended at the state meet. Her doctor gave her tentative approval to run, but she prefers to look ahead to the indoor season and not risk exacerbating the injury. It's a tough break for one of the most consistent distance runners in the nation. But she never reconsidered her decision. "I would never sit out," she said. "I would do whatever I need to do for my team. If me not running meant them not winning, there's no way I wouldn't run. I was ready before that state meet. I was like, 'it's gonna be my day,' and even though it wasn't, to be able to hold that trophy with those girls was the best feeling." In Davidson's freshman year and sophomore years, she won the individual state title while the team placed second. Last fall, Davidson was runner-up to Kelati and the team placed third. This fall is Porter's first as head coach of the cross country program, though he has coached in an assistant role for the past five years. "We knocked on the door of a state title the past three years but we could never get through it," he said. "Our team is mostly mid-distance runners and they do not like running that 5K." E.C. Glass has seen great success from the middle distance crew. The 4x800m relay placed third at New Balance Nationals Indoor in 9:02.96, and No. 5 cross country runner Maddie Rennyson led a 1-2 sweep in the 800m at the outdoor state meet. "It seemed like they were injured and tired by the end," Porter said of past cross country seasons. "This year when we came into the state meet, we were completely fresh and it paid off." All five scorers placed in the top 16 to outpace Loudoun Valley High, 36 to 88 points, and everyone except Davidson set a lifetime best for 5K, including Libby's little sister, freshman Jette, who actually led the beginning of the race. "I couldn't catch up with her, I was so scared!" Libby said. "The funny thing is, someone tripped her at the mile and she went down flat on her face and she got back up and still broke 19!" Jette earned all-state honors with an eighth place finish. Her final time of 18:56 was a 30-second PR. The state meet was a challenging parenting moment for Sarah Davidson, Libby and Jette's mother. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," she said. "As a mother, it was so hard because there's Jette who has just broken 19 and I want to go say, 'good job, baby,' but I'm carrying Libby out of the corral and Jette looks at me and says, 'I just wish Libby was happy.' "I was watching Libby do her warm-ups at state and she's limping. Then I have to turn around and be all peppy, go-go-go! Life's not always fair. It's hard not to feel like you've been punched in the gut as a parent. My friends are like, 'how's Libby?' And I said, 'better than me.' I shed more tears than her." 'Peppy' and 'go-go-go' is actually a pretty accurate way to describe Libby's final minutes of the race. She had long since dropped back from eventual state champion Noel Palmer and her own E.C. Glass teammate Brooke Manion snuck up next to her. "When Brooke was passing me, I was like, 'you got it!' And then she kept talking to me, 'Libby, you gotta catch her!' And I was like, 'no, you gotta catch her!'" Manion placed third and Davidson was fourth; both girls are seniors. Jette and a few other varsity runners from the E.C. Glass state titlist squad will make the trip to McAlpine Park for the Foot Locker South Regionals on Saturday. Libby wasn't sure if she'd be up for the trip, but last week she said she wanted to go. She'll be part of a panel on Friday night featuring several top returning athletes. Without the pressure of having to compete herself, Libby offered her own predictions for nationals: she says fellow Virginian Kate Murphy will win NXN and North Carolina state champion Nevada Mareno will win Foot Locker. Earlier this fall, Libby and Jette accompanied Sarah to Hawaii as their mom qualified and competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. When asked how her athletic accomplishments have influenced her children, Sarah thought for a moment, then said, "Everyone around you has set a goal and put in a lot of hours to meet that goal. The kids see that and they see people cross the finish line with elation in their eyes. "They learn that it's okay to work hard, set a goal and sometimes you make it and sometimes you don't."
Check out all the awesome races and interviews for free here!
Knowing how talented and stacked the girls 6A race was it was no surprise that the race went fast. Though it was stacked, one athlete just showed that on that day she was the best ever. Lake Braddock Secondary senior and Oregon commit Kate Murphy blew past the field the final mile and went on to run a state meet and course record of 17:08.
Directly because of the reclassification by the VHSL for 2017-2019, the state XC meet is going to look a whole lot different next year. For starters, there will now be four regions per each classification and according to the most recent information, all teams will qualify to regionals.
Peter may be nine minutes older than little sister Natalie, but he was not the first to bring home some hardware this weekend.
Four of the six state champions return for next XC season. Here are the full rankings for the 500 best returning athletes. Price Owens leads the group on time but it is definitely Peter Smith and Peter Morris at the top of this list.
Going into states it was clear that we had a great race ahead of us. James Madison entered as the favorite but twice defending champions Lake Braddock could not be counted out.
Libby Davidson is a beast. She is a two time state champion and also now holds the second fastest time ever at states. At the start of the season this was going to be a huge year for her. It was her chance to win that Foot Locker title and also to reclaim her 4A State title. But most of all she wanted that team title for E.C. Glass.
Watch all race videos from 2016 VHSL State XC Meet.
Check out all photos taken by Jon Fleming, Jon Herzog, Lisa McArthur, and Mary Ann Magnant from the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships.
Results hub from all of this weekend's state championships across the country plus links to coverage and meet merges.
Hear from over 2 dozen state champions, runners-up and third place finishes over the past two days at Great Meadow for the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships.
All 6 classification races have been completed for the 2016 VHSL State Championships run over 2 days on the same course at Great Meadow. Let's see who truly is the best in Virginia high school cross country in a results merge!
Watch the 5A boys race from the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships.
Watch the 5A girls race from the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships.
Watch the 6A boys race from the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships.
Watch 6A girls state race from the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships.
Your go to location for all updates and results from all 16 state championship races this weekend.
Watch race videos from the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia.
There are seven state championships this weekend
Results merge from all 3 classification races (3A, 2A, 1A) on the first day of the 2016 VHSL State Cross Country Championships. Updated merge including 4A thru 6A races will come later on Saturday after day two races are completed.
Photos taken by Jon Fleming, John Herzog, Lisa McArthur and Mary Ann Magnant from the first day of the VHSL State Cross Country Championships!
A total of 9 major state championships this weekend across the country and below can find virtual meet previews for each race in the state meets in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia. MileSplit will be on-site at all of these meets with coverage!
Luray High runs in honor of their late cross country coach
The best and most difficult about winning a XC team title is the fact that it takes five runners. It makes it the most true team state championship of our three seasons. Here are the the top 20 rankings for both boys and girls ranking 5th runners. That means, these rankings removed the top four athletes from all the teams in the state. To view the full rankings click the links below.
Coach Chrisman though had a great gauge on how good this team was. Early on in the season he assured Pitts and Meadows that things would fall in place this year.
Photos from the VHSL States at Great Meadow.
It was just a year ago that everyone thought we were crazy to predict that five VA boys would qualify for Foot Locker Nationals so hear us out first before thinking we are crazy on this.
The normal virtual meet function is great but we went ahead and did the work for you. Here are the virtual meets for the teams competing at the state championship meet this weekend. These virtual meets only include the scorers for these races which are the top six teams from each region.
But right now it is a year where we potentially have three of the greatest five distance stars ever in VA all running in their final XC State Meet.
Just two months ago it was looking like Peter Smith was on the verge of becoming a big name in our sport. The performances were there last outdoor season giving off the clue that he was going to make a big step in the right direction this season.