The conditions could not have been better back in 2008.
Photo by Ted Plunkett For years the Dominion District, consisting of schools from Chesterfield County, has been one of the most competitive districts in the state for cross country, producing a plethora of great runners. Manchester had the state champion boys and girls teams in 1997, and James River won the girls championship in the fall of 2002, but however recently the team to beat recently has been Midlothian High School. With the last four girls state championships, and numerous state championships on the boys side too, Midlothian has had a grip on the Dominion District. Their streak of individual champions in the district however came to an end this year as James River junior Ted Richardson stepped out from Midlothian’s shadow and onto the podium and into the state spotlight.
Stan Morgan had just started to coach cross country at Midlothian High School when the Lake Braddock girls were wrapping up their four year streak of Group AAA state team championships. Fast forward 20 years later and Coach Morgan is still at Midlothian and during that time has built a program to a similar statewide and nationally recognized stature of Lake Braddock as shown with the Lady Trojans recently matching the feat of four consecutive state cross country titles last weekend at Great Meadow. With only one senior graduating from their top 7, his team has a strong chance of becoming the first AAA school to win five straight state titles. The former football player and quarter miler on the track has become arguably one of the most successful high school cross country coaches ever from the state of Virginia. Most of Morgan's coaching success has came after the age of 60, but he has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. MileStat.com's Brandon Miles interviewed Coach Morgan following another state championship by the Midlothian girls.
The monkey is now off his back. Thomas Porter now can call himself a state champion. Porter, a promising star as a freshmen including a national title in the freshmen mile, had several near misses of a state championship prior to this fall to make his victory in the AAA boys state race all more bittersweet. Another senior looking for his first cross country state title made Porter dig deep for the win in Atlee's Ben Dejarnette. Dejarnette and Porter had made up a lead pack of four regional champions with Eastern Region champ Bobby Peavey and Northern Region champ Leoule Degfae for over 2 miles. Dejarnette made a move with 1000 meters to go on a long downhill stretch to try to gap Porter, but the Northwest Region champ countered one back in the gate to surge past Dejarnette for a 15:13 victory. The defending indoor 3200 state champion Dejarnette took runner-up with a time of 15:18. Porter will now turn his attention to November 29th in Charlotte for the Foot Locker South Regional as he attempts to join rare company as a three-time national qualifier.
Stacey Nobles raced against history, while the Midlothian girls joined history. The Ocean Lakes senior Nobles became on the third South Hampton area female athlete to win a state cross country title, while the Midlothian girls became only the second team to win four consecutive AAA state cross country titles.
Interview with Group AA boys state champion Andrew Colley of Jamestown.
Interview with AAA boys state runner-up Ben Dejarnette of Atlee.
Interview with Midlothian senior Paige Johnston, member of the past 4 AAA girls state team champions.
Interview with Group A boys state champion Ben Veilleux of Clarke County.
Interview with A girls state champion Megan Marsico of Glenvar.
Interview with AA boys state champion Andrew Colley of Jamestown.
Interview with AA girls state champion Janel Reeves of Brookville.
Interview with AAA girls state champion Stacey Nobles of Ocean Lakes.
Interview with AAA boys state champion Thomas Porter of Mountain View
Group AAA boys race from the 2008 VHSL State Championships. Thomas Porter of Mountain View won the individual title and Oakton boys won the team title.
Group AAA girls race from the 2008 VHSL Group AAA State Championships. Stacey Nobles of Ocean Lakes won the individual title and Midlothian girls won the team title.
Taken on 11/8 at Great Meadows
Group AA boys race from the 2008 VHSL State Championships. Andrew Colley of Jamestown broke the course record and the Jamestown boys won the team title.
Group AA girls race from the 2008 VHSL State Championships. Janel Reeves of Brookville won the individual title, while the Blacksburg girls won the team title.
Group A girls race from the 2008 VHSL State Championships. Megan Marsico of Glenvar won the individual title and George Mason girls won the team title.
Group A boys race from the 2008 VHSL State Championships. Ben Veilleux of Clarke County won the individual title, while Clarke County boys won the team title.
Interview with Oakton coach Phil Tiller at the 2008 VHSL State Championships.
Interview with Blacksburg coach James DeMarco at the 2008 VHSL State Championships.
Monday & Tuesday: More meet stories, summaries, & interviews! There was no timing malfunction, the Run High timing group did an excellent job with the meet results and their chip timing system, Jamestown senior Andrew Colley and Glenvar junior Megan Marsico are the now fastest ever at Great Meadow for the VHSL State Championships. The course had been modified in recent years, but nothing can be taken away from the individual performances by the Group AA state champion Colley and Group A state champion Marsico. Colley had plenty of company in his race for nearly 2 1/2 miles, but put the hammer down for an impressive last 1000 meters of the race to nip Alan Webb's 15:03 performance at the 2001 state meet (on the old Great Meadows course) in a 15:02 victory. Marsico had to run solo from the gun as she rolled through the first mile in 5:17 and second mile in 11:07 en route to bettering the old course record time of 2008 SEC champion Catherine White from the 2005 state meet by 10 seconds with a 17:38 personal best performance in one of the later races of the day. Porter's desire for first state championship fuels his final kick over Dejarnette Group AAA Boys: Thomas Porter (Mountain View) 15:13, Oakton - 70 pts (16:19 team average) Nobles upsets defending champ Lautzenheiser for win, but no one close to keeping Midlo girls from 4th straight title Group AAA Girls: Stacey Nobles (Ocean Lakes) 18:15, Midlothian - 72 pts (19:00 team average) Group AA Boys: Andrew Colley (Jamestown) 15:02 Course Record, Jamestown - 61 pts (15:51 team average) LeHardy and Hidden Valley girls have to settle for painfully close runner-up to Brookville's Reeves & Blacksburg girls Photo by Tom Hoerner Group AA Girls: Janel Reeves (Brookville) 18:26, Blacksburg - 47 pts (19:04 team average) Veilleux returns Clarke County to state champion glory in swift solo run Group A Boys: Ben Veilleux (Clarke County) 15:37, Clarke County - 34 pts (16:34 team average) Group A Girls: Megan Marsico (Glenvar) 17:38 Course Record, George Mason - 51 pts (20:19 team average) COMBINED RESULTS: BOYS - GIRLS VHSL State Championships Photo Galleries (3,896 photos uploaded so far!): D'Amato Gallery - 510 total photos from Group AAA Hoerner Galleries: Group AA Girls (378 photos) - Group AA Boys (352 photos) Miles Gallery - To be added on Sunday (will include all races). Plunkett Gallery - 1367 total photos from all races. Paisley Gallery - 621 total photos from Group AAA & AA races, AAA awards. Rigler Gallery - 511 total photos from all races. Saunders Gallery - 157 total photos from Group AAA boys & girls races. VHSL State Championships Race Videos: Group AAA Boys - Group AAA Girls - Group AA Boys - Group AA Girls - Group A Boys - Group A Girls VHSL State Championship Interviews: Podcast Interviews: Thomas Porter - Stacey Nobles - Andrew Colley - Janel Reeves - Ben Veilleux - Megan Marsico - Paige Johnston - Ben Dejarnette Video Interviews: Coach Tiller (Oakton) - Coach DeMarco (Blacksburg) Plenty more coverage to come from Great Meadow including photos, video, interviews, stories, and the always interesting combined state meet results!
Photos taken by Tom Hoerner of the AA girls race from the 2008 VHSL State Cross Country Championship held at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia on Saturday November 8th, 2008
Virginia High School League State Championships, Great Meadow, The Plains, Virginia, Saturday, November 8, 2008. Photos by M. Saunders.
Photos taken by Ted Plunkett from the 2008 VHSL XC Championship held at Great Meadows, The Plains, VA on November 8th.
Photos taken by Tom Hoerner from the 2008 VHSL State Cross Country Championship Boys AA Division held at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia on Saturday November 8th, 2008
Photos taken by Linda D'Amato from the 2008 VHSL State Championships
VHSL FLASH RESULTS: Both course records fall. Andrew Colley clocks 15:02, bettering the mark of 15:03 set by Alan Webb; Megan Marsico's 17:38 was 10 seconds better than previous mark set by Catherine White; Thomas Porter outkicks Ben Dejarnette over the last 400 meters for the AAA win; Midlothian wins 4th straight title; Jamestown, led by Colley, placed 3 in the top 6 for the win; Oakton boys also impressive in victory; Stacey Nobles over Kathleen Lautzenheiser; Blacksburg girls over Hidden Valley by virtue of a sixth runner; Clarke County boys, led by individual champion Ben Veilleux; George Mason halts Clarke County girls' streak. MileStat.com will have comprehensive coverage of Saturday's VHSL State Cross Country Championships at Great Meadow. Results, photos, race videos, interviews, stories, and more! State titles & course records on Colley and Marsico's minds Plenty to look forward to in the Group AAA, Group AA, and Group A races... Glenvar junior Megan Marsico and Jamestown senior Andrew Colley are capable of course record runs after recent all-time historic performances. Marsico has ran the nation's 3rd fastest time for 3 miles at 16:51 and among the top 30 nationally with a 17:45 5K performance. Colley's converted 3.05 to 5K performance from his district meet ranks him 3rd in the US at 14:54. State meet course records at Great Meadow are held by Alan Webb at 15:03 (2001) and Catherine White at 17:48 (2005). Colley will have more competition in his race to push him with some of the state's fastest found in Group AA, while Marsico will have to run a record time solo in the Group A. US #11 Jamestown boys are gunning for their first state title since 2001 and end the Region II dominance of champions in their last hurdle to clear before the NXN Southeast Regional. A Region II squad has won the Group AA boys title every year since Jamestown won the title in 2001 and two Region II squads in Potomac Falls and Western Albemarle figure to be the biggest threats for the VA #1 ranked Eagles. Midlothian girls are attempting to join the Lake Braddock girls (1985-1988) as the only AAA team to win 4 straight titles with potential their toughest challenger yet in the Northern Region champs from Thomas Jefferson. Midlothian senior Paige Johnston will be running in the Lady Trojans' top 7 for the fourth straight year at Great Meadow and could potential be a member of four state champion squads. Two crowd favorites Thomas Porter and Ben Dejarnette battling it out in the Group AAA boys race for their first state cross country championships after dealing with second place finishes, falls, illness, and bad luck in past state meets. In the 2007 state race, Mountain View's Porter was a runner-up to Jason Witt, while Dejarnette was one spot away from All-State with a 16th place battling illness. Neither wants to come up short again at Great Meadow. George Mason girls have had their number all season, but Clarke County girls have won 4 straight Group A titles and could upstage Midlothian making it 4 in a row with an upset over their Region B rival. Blacksburg and Brentsville girls have the history of state championships on their side, but the 2008 Hidden Valley girls have talent and momentum on their side after knocking off the defending state champs from Blacksburg at the Region IV Meet. Blacksburg and Brentsville have victories over Hidden Valley this season and will try to keep the Lady Titans from winning their first state title. The technological evolution of the state meet....chip timing will be used for the first time this year! And more!
Virtual meet scoring for the VHSL State Championships. Note that individual qualifiers are not included and only team qualifiers.
Thomas Porter has qualified for Foot Locker Nationals twice. He won a national title in the freshmen mile and earned All-American honors. Add numerous district and regional titles to his list of credentials. He has been one of Virginia’s best distance runners over the past few years. However, one honor has eluded him in the form of an individual state title. His time window to win a state crown is not running low. His time is now. The three-time Northwest Region champion Porter is one of two popular race favorites along with Atlee senior Ben Dejarnette. Dejarnette has at least one state title under his belt in a 3200 meter victory at last March’s indoor state championships. However, Dejarnette has had his share of misfortunes in cross country including last fall when an intestinal illness hampered his performances in championship season. So naturally with Porter coming up just short on multiple occasions as a state runner-up in cross country and track as well as Dejarnette having his share of ups and downs, both runners will have a large contigency of fans rooting for them to pull out the victory at Great Meadow this weekend.
The Midlothian girls will looking to put themselves in history right along with the greatest dynasty previously among AAA girls in their pursuit of a fourth straight AAA state cross country title at Great Meadow this weekend. Another state title would tie Midlothian for the most consecutive AAA girls state team championships with the great run by the Lake Braddock girls from 1985 to 1988. There may have been better versions of the Midlothian girls over the past few years, but the 2008 Midlothian squad still has to be considered the best team in the state of Virginia heading into Saturday’s VHSL State Championships. The potential is there for the team to be just as dominant though in another state victory. One athlete who has been a member of all three state championship teams running varsity as a freshmen for the Lady Trojans is Paige Johnston. Johnston, now a senior, will be given the rare opportunity this weekend to see if she can be a part of state championship all four years of high school.
The best team in the state of Virginia and the #11 ranked team in the country will be featured in the 11:15 am and second race of the day with the Jamestown High School boys cross country team from Williamsburg. The Eagles have soared head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the Commonwealth, regardless of classification, this fall. Their victory in the invitational division at the Maymont Festival and fourth place finish in Eastern States Championships race at the Manhattan Invite against the best high school cross country teams on the East Coast have asserted this team in a class of their own. It could be argued that the 2008 Jamestown boys are the boys’ team of the decade in Virginia, but their historical standing will all be determined by how they finish their seasons especially this weekend at Great Meadow.
Virginia High School League cross country rankings by MileStat.com prior to this weekend's state championship at Great Meadow. Top 16 teams (only state qualifiers) and top 25 individuals for each classification are ranked based off of regional meet performances.
Photo by Rick Samaha The Jamestown boys’ cross country team won the Bay Rivers District Championship in impressive fashion, placing five runners in the top 15 places. The Region 1 Championship was eerily similar, as six of Jamestown’s runners placed in the top 10. Most of the attention was placed on front-runner Andrew Colley, who broke the course records at both meets, running 14:36 and 15:45 respectively. Right behind Colley, however, were his teammates Junior Colin Mearns and Senior John Holt. Mearns and Holt finished second and third respectively at both the district and regional meets, securing the Jamestown victories. The pair forms the backbone of the Jamestown squad. Their top 10 individiaul finishes at both Maymont and Manhattan were the keys to the Eagles establishing themselves as a team worthy of national rankings and recognition from their performances at both meets.
With the impressive times that come consistently from the larger AAA and AA division in Virginia State track, the A group is often pushed to the back of people’s minds. Clarke County High senior, Ben Veilleux, however has proven this year that the smaller division A is still capable of producing runners that can compete on the highest level, and in a lot of cases, come out on top.
Hidden Valley’s upset over the previously AA top ranked Blacksburg girls for the Region IV title last week has created a similar situation as a year ago with a renewed belief for several teams of their chances to win the Group AA state team title instead of conceding a win to Blacksburg. The Hidden Valley girls are in great position to begin a string of state titles by defeating two teams in Blacksburg (10 state titles) and Brentsville (7 state titles) who have a great history of championship glory in November.
Cream of the crop rankings prior to this weekend's state cross country championships. VA #1 ranked boys team: Jamestown VA #1 ranked girls team: Midlothian VA #1 ranked boys individual: Andrew Colley (Jamestown) VA #1 ranked girls individual: Megan Marsico (Glenvar)