Touching an unbelievably deep Blacksburg squad (the Bruins three through seven runners would have easily won the title) may have been out of reach, but Western Albemarle’s girls cross country team put together a big-time performance at Friday’s Group 3A state meet, rolling to a third place finish behind champion Blacksburg and Loudoun Valley.
Monticello High finished fifth in the girls race, capping one of the Mustangs’ most successful campaigns ever as a team.
As she has for years, senior Annie Taylor paced the Warriors, this time with a fourth place finish overall behind individual champ Bonnie Angermeier of Blacksburg, Loudoun Valley’s Ciara Donohue and Blacksburg’s Jennifer Fleming.
Chance Masloff checked in 13th place overall as the Warriors’ second finisher. Then senior Annie Lorenzoni took 28th, freshman Zoe Clay grabbed 34th and junior Erica Grupp came in 35th.
Monticello took fifth with a solid performance by junior Laura Habermeyer (22nd overall), sophomore Renee Craft (26th), sophomore Kate Walz (41st), senior Isabelle Hermsmeier (46th) and junior Gena Lewis (48th).
On the boys side, Gannon Willcutts put together a monster run to finish second overall for Western Albemarle. He finished behind Loudoun Valley’s Andrew Hunter who torched the course, setting a new state record by six seconds, finishing in 14:41.
Willcutts clocking of 15:35 put him within a minute of Hunter’s historic run. It also boosted Western to a fourth place finish as a team. Fellow junior Trevor Stutzman took sixth overall for Western while Jack Ehlenberger took 46th, Ethan Sewell took 58th and Ben Skinner took 61st.
The Warriors finished well off champion Brenstville’s pace as that squad placed five runners in the top 17 to wrap up the title ahead of runner-up Blacksburg. Lafayette finished third on the strength of a trio of top 15 finishes.