Athlete Spotlight: Kyle King Nov 24, 2010

Kyle King leads a group of Virginia boys going into Foot Locker South with hopes of qualifying for the national race in San Diego. The Grafton senior won his second consecutive state title two weeks ago at Great Meadow with the fastest time of the day in a 15:21 PR. With the college decision out of the way as he will follow in the footsteps of Coach Matt Gutridge to UVA, King has geared his season in the training and racing schedule to run his best at this point of the season in order to give himself a shot at a top 10 finish at McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte. After only racing two invitationals during the regular season and arguably only exerting himself near 100 percent effort in a dominant win at the Albemarle Invite and his Group AA state title repeat performance, King should have a lot left in the tank to go for a national berth on Saturday. recently interviewed King, one of Virginia's best chances to have a representative and qualifier in the boys' race at Foot Locker Nationals heading into this weekend's South Regional. (Photo above by Ryan Kelly)

Athlete Spotlight: Hannah Lowery Nov 20, 2010

  Stafford sophomore Hannah Lowery (pictured above by John Herzog) has had a very busy fall. Between winning numerous cross country invitational races as well as winning district, regional, and state titles to go along with helping the Stafford field hockey team advance all the way to state semi-finals, the Governor's School student Lowery has had a full plate for the past few months. She has at least moved field hockey off her plate for the time being and now only has one more race left to cap off one of the most impressive and successful cross country seasons in recent history by a Virginia high school female distance runner. Lowery won a total of five major invitationals this season, while taking only second twice to Cosby's Megan Moye at the competitive Oatlands Invite and Invite. Herself and fellow sophomore Sophie Chase of Lake Braddock have had two thrilling finishes with one another in their only two encounters this fall with Lowery getting the narrow win in both photo finishes determined by their chip timed feet. Since the two sophomores should make for a great rivalry over the next two years competing for state titles with only one able to be the champion, it would be fitting if both were to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals as two of the state's top hopefuls at the South regional next Saturday in Charlotte. However, the Stafford boys are expected to race on the same day at the Nike Cross Southeast Regional in Cary, North Carolina, so Lowery is still torn on which national qualifier meet to run in next week. While she has been a magician in being able to compete in cross country meets and field hockey games sometimes on the same day, she will unfortunately have to decide which race she will compete in next Saturday between Foot Locker South and Nike Cross Southeast. Either way, a West Coast-bound ticket earned to either Portland, Oregon for Nike Cross Nationals or San Diego, California for Foot Locker Nationals would be a well-deserved and well-earned trip for the 2010 Group AAA state cross country girls' champion Lowery.  

Athlete Spotlight: Annie LeHardy Nov 17, 2010

  Two years ago at the state cross country meet, Hidden Valley senior Annie LeHardy (pictured above by Frank Locascio) got the short end of the stick in a photo finish between herself and Brookville's Janel Reeves for the Group AA state title. As a senior in her last high school state cross country meet this past Saturday at Great Meadow, LeHardy made sure she would not be stuck in the same position again as she broke away from top ranked Mattie Webb of Western Albemarle and teammate Haley Cutright before the two mile mark. A state champion as a freshmen in track at 1600 meters, LeHardy continued to build her lead en route to matching the course record time of 17:34 set one year ago by Kathleen Stevens of Blacksburg with her second individual state title overall and first in cross country. Her performance also led Hidden Valley to a second straight Group AA state title, which builds momentum for the squad into the Nike Cross Southeast Regional as a returning NXN at-large qualifier from 2009. LeHardy and teammate Cutright certainly have excellent chances at qualifying individually for the national meet  in Oregon if there team is unable to qualify. interviewed LeHardy, who has a solid and consistent four year high school career under coach Daniel King at Hidden Valley.

Athlete Spotlight: Jon Ulrich Nov 17, 2010

Photo by Mike Somers   Awareness helped Jon Ulrich win the Group A state cross country title. He was aware before the meet by his Lebanon coaches that it was the first chip timed foot to cross the line and not the torso as is the case with most meets not timed by chips which would determine his and his teammates' place order as they figured to be in a close fight with several schools for a podium spot at Great Meadow. Not sure if Ulrich knew this knowledge would eventually gain him the state individual title as well. The Lebanon sophomore Ulrich now has the opportunity to join potentially four others in boys' state meet history to win three state cross country titles after winning a photo finish over Northumberland senior Mischa Turner which based off the photo did not appear in his favor. A member also of the highest finishing Region D squad at the state meet since 1988 with Lebanon's runner-up finish to Altavista, Ulrich started the season off strong with a win at the Run Fer Da Hills Invitational but an early season stress fracture hindered him to run behind teammate Bradley Rasnake in most races and workouts during the season before coming out on top at season's end. interviewed the sophomore state champion from Lebanon days after his dramatic state meet victory which he had to wait 20 minutes to officially find out that he was in fact the champion.

Athlete Spotlight: Ahmed Bile Nov 15, 2010

Photo by Ted Plunkett Annandale junior Ahmed Bile is the son of a 1987 world champion Abdi Bile from Somalia. 99.9% of today's high school runners in Virginia probably do not know who Abdi Bile is and probably a majority of their coaches do not either. However, both Virginia high school cross country coaches and runners know who Ahmed Bile is or now know all about him after his dramatic and remarkable last 100 meters kick to run down top ranked Silas Frantz of Douglas Freeman for the Group AAA state cross country title. He has only been running seriously for a year now after giving up soccer, which is scary for the competition to consider how much more development and potential is left in the tank for Bile. Fresh off his thrilling state meet victory, Bile now prepares for the Foot Locker South Regional and figures to be a late surging contender for a top 10 national berth. Earning a trip to San Diego this year or next fall would certainly show Ahmed is making a name for himself on his own accord and a different path to success than taken by his father, a NCAA champion at George Mason University. interviewed the 2010 Group AAA state cross country individual champion Bile on Monday evening after the state meet...

VA State Meet Coverage Central Nov 15, 2010

More state meet coverage being added throughout early part of week with featured interview articles, meet write-up, and more photos!   Group AAA Boys RESULTS - RACE VIDEO Photo by Mike Fewell   Photo by Mike Somers   Bile does not come into picture till late to snip Frantz at line, while Midlo boys put on one of most dominant wins in AAA history   Group AAA Girls RESULTS - RACE VIDEO Photo by Mike Fewell     Photo by Mike Somers   Lowery's form carries her to win over Chase in battle of two super sophomores, Midlo finds way to win 5th title in 6 years despite health and depth issues   Group AA Boys  RESULTS - RACE VIDEO Photo by John Herzog     Photo by Frank Locascio   Kyle King clocks fastest time of day (15:21) in repeat & repeling late pass by sophomore Madden, Blacksburg boys win a 1 point nail biter over Western Albemarle   Group AA Girls  RESULTS - RACE VIDEO Photo by John Herzog     Photo by Frank Locascio   Annie LeHardy's 17:34 ties course record and leads fast Group AA race & Hidden Valley girls to 2nd straight title   Group A Boys  RACE VIDEO - RACE VIDEO Photo by Mike Fewell   Photo by Mike Somers   Northumberland's Mischa Turner may have got the torso, but Lebanon soph Jon Ulrich and chipped foot win Altavista boys win 1st state title in school history, while Lebanon proves not your average Region D team   Group A Girls RESULTS - RACE VIDEO Photo by John Herzog   Photo by Ted Plunkett   Strasburg junior Katlyn Ayers is forced to work hard for 2nd straight title by runner-up Julia Estrada who leads George Mason to lowest team score of the meet.     VHSL State Cross Country Championships Saturday, November 13th Great Meadow - The Plains, VA RESULTS: GROUP AAA BOYS - GROUP AAA GIRLS - GROUP AA BOYS - GROUP AA GIRLS - GROUP A BOYS - GROUP A GIRLS RACE VIDEOS (6) - Group AAA Girls - Group AAA Boys - Group A Girls - Group A Boys - Group AA Girls - Group AA Boys VIDEO INTERVIEWS (22): Kyle King (Grafton) - Ahmed Bile (Annandale) - Hannah Lowery (Stafford) - Hidden Valley Girls & Annie LeHardy - Midlothian Boys Interview #1 - Midlothian Boys Interview #2 - George Mason Girls - Altavista Boys - Anthony Noegel (Blacksburg) -  Mischa Turner (Northumberland) -  Colonial Forge Boys - Colonial Forge Girls - Megan Moye (Cosby) - Tabitha Arwood (Lebanon) - Albemarle Boys - Anna Spiers (Maggie Walker) -  Western Albemarle Girls & Mattie Webb - Abraham Yacob (Robert E. Lee) - Erica Dobbs (Deep Run) - Rachel Byrd (Powhatan) - Ben Deal (Albemarle) - Albemarle Girls  PHOTO GALLERIES (6) - A total of 8,570 photos are now added from 6 photographers   State Champions Collage by Ted Plunkett. Click for full size. Herzog Gallery - 2,994 photos total from all races. Plunkett Gallery - 1,310 photos total from all races. Locascio Gallery - 1,703 photos total from all races.  Somers Gallery - 1,675 photos total. Hagen Gallery - 408 photos total. Kicinski Gallery - 480 photos total. Meet Page Meet Preview Pre-Meet Rankings: Team - Individual VOTE who you think will win the state title in these POLLS: AAA Boys Team - AAA Boys Individual - AAA Girls Team - AAA Girls Individual - AA Boys Team - AA Boys Individual - AA Girls Team - AA Girls Individual - A Boys Team - A Boys Individual - A Girls Team - A Girls Individual   VIS State Cross Country Championships Friday, November 12th Woodberry Forest School - Woodberry Forest, VA   VIS Division 1 Girls Individual State Champion Hannah Frazier (Bishop Sullivan) 19:11   VIS Division 1 Girls Team State Champions Bishop O'Connell 26 pts (20:16 avg)   VIS Division 1 Boys Individual State Champion Scott Newton (Collegiate) 16:29   VIS Division 1 Boys Team State Champions Trinity 39 pts (17:13 avg)   VIS Division 2 Girls State Individual Champion Madison Strickland (Denbigh Baptist) 19:55    VIS Division 2 Girls State Team Champions St. Anne's-Belfield 78 pts (21:44 avg)   VIS Division 2 Boys Individual State Champion Van Lewin (Broadwater Academy) 17:29   VIS Division 2 Boys Team State Champions Peninsula Catholic 63 pts (18:22 avg)       Van Lewin (Broadwater Academy) 17:27 All photos by John Herzog   RESULTS: DIVISION 1 BOYS - DIVISION 1 GIRLS - DIVISION 2 BOYS - DIVISION 2 GIRLS Photo Gallery by John Herzog - 2,366 total photos from all 4 races. Race Videos: Division 1 Boys - Division 1 Girls - Division 2 Boys - Division 2 Girls  Video Interviews: Coach Cindy Walls (Bishop O'Connell) - Coach Marcus Jones (Trinity) Meet Page Meet Preview Pre-Meet Rankings Division 1 & 2 Team Breakdown VOTE who you think will win the state title in these POLLS: Division 1 Boys Team - Division 1 Boys Individual - Division 1 Girls Team - Division 1 Girls Individual - Division 2 Boys Team - Division 2 Boys Individual - Division 2 Girls Team - Division 2 Girls Individual

State Cross Country Meets of the Past Nov 11, 2010

  "The Historian" provides a small look back at state cross country country meets of the past and the different locations which the meet was held. Great Meadow is the fourth location for the state cross country meet. Great Meadows has hosted the meet since 1994. Virginia Tech hosted the meet in 1993, and before that the meet was held at Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville (form the early 70’s). The 60’s saw the meet hosted by William and Mary on a 2.4 mile course. is also currently trying to find as many old state meet results (before the internet and as possible. We have collected complete results from all years in the 1990s at Great Meadow, the 1993 state meet at Virginia Tech, and brief results (top 10-15 individuals) from a few years in 1980s at Piedmont (84,86,88,89,90). If any long-time coaches or retired coaches have kept hard copies of these past results (especially complete results), we'd appreciate if you could fax (804-325-1077) to us. We'll be attempting to type up and post online as many state meet results that we collect during the month of November.

VHSL State Meet Preview Nov 09, 2010

It has been quite a journey for all the teams and individuals who have qualified to compete in Saturdays’s VHSL State Cross Country Championships. All participants and coaches have their own stories of how they got here between the fast times and slow, the victories and the losses, the surprises and the setbacks…the common theme is they all had to figure out how to handle both adversity and success in a positive direction to lead them to this point. Some are just happy to have made it this far, while others will not be happy with anyone else but a spot on that podium. The rankings are nice and generate interest as well as might motivate some teams and individuals to prove them wrong, but they really go out the window at the start of the Saturday’s races. The only rankings that matter are the official state meet results, but let’s delve into who might be some of the teams and individuals to look out for in all of the six races at the 2010 Virginia High School League Cross Country State Championships... Race Previews: Group AAA Girls - Group AAA Boys - Group A Girls - Group A Boys - Group AA Girls - Group AA Boys

Pre-VHSL State Meet Team XC Rankings Nov 08, 2010's final team rankings (top 16 deep) for Group AAA, Group AA, and Group A as well as Cream of the Crop (All-Class) before this Saturday's VHSL State Championships at Great Meadow.

Pre-VHSL State Meet Individual XC Rankings Nov 08, 2010's final individual rankings (top 25 deep) for Group AAA, Group AA, and Group A as well as Cream of the Crop (All-Class) before this Saturday's VHSL State Championships at Great Meadow.

Coach's Corner: Coach Mike Nestor (Ocean Lakes) Nov 08, 2010

The Ocean Lakes cross country program coached by Mike Nestor has proven that being a school from the Eastern Region does not automatically mean that you cannot compete with the best cross country teams in the fall and distance runners during the track season. Coach Nestor has coached two individual state champions in Stacey Nobles and Drew Paisley as well as an indoor state champion girls' 4x800 meter relay to go along with the numerous district and regional champion teams featuring many individuals qualifying for multiple state meets and All-State honors. At last week's Eastern Region Championships, Coach Nestor achieved a first since becoming the head coach of both programs a decade ago with the Ocean Lakes boys and girls sweeping the team titles. With few losses due to graduation from their current top seven for both boys and girls for the 2011 cross country season, Ocean Lakes can certainly try to go for another first next fall to become the first Eastern Region school with a pair of squads on the state meet podium. interviewed Coach Nestor following their regional title double as the teams hope to both break into the top five in state competition on Saturday...

Athlete Spotlight: Paul Gates Nov 08, 2010

W.T. Woodson junior Paul Gates (pictured above by Ted Plunkett) expected to be one of the top runners in the Northern Region this fall after a great track season clocking personal bests of 4:22 in the 1600 and 9:30 in the 3200 last spring. He was not out winning invitationals earlier in the season and others were taking the spotlight and top rankings for the region, but came through with a big victory at the Patriot District meet in one of the more competitive districts in the state with a 15:15 performance at Burke Lake Park. Gates followed up with a third place finish at the regional meet behind Annandale's Ahmed Bile and Chantilly's Sean McGorty and since none of the top three runners are seniors, the Northern Region should be even stronger and very exciting next fall with all three back to battle at Burke Lake. Gates gave up lacrosse last spring to focus only on running and his focus now is centered on a top 15 All-State finish Saturday at Great Meadow. interviewed one of the Northern Region's best in Gates prior to the state championships...

VHSL offering online ticket sales for cross country championships Nov 05, 2010

For the first time ever, the VHSL is offering online ticket sales for the VHSL Cross Country Championships on November 13, 2010.  Admission tickets are $8, or $9 with a donation to the VHSL Foundation.  Please share this link with your cross country athletes and parents.  Avoid the lines on Saturday morning and click to order you tickets on-line.