STAB girls defend title, Woodberry places second at VISAA championship

Last year’s VISAA Division 2 championship came as a surprise to St. Anne’s-Belfield. And so with so many returning runners, the Saints came into the 2010 cross country campaign with both expectations and a strong sense of pride.

On Friday, the Saints picked up their second straight state title with its five scoring runners finishing 21st or better to best second place Trinity Meadowview by 30 points.

“It just feels so terrific to come out of this with a first place trophy, but also to have a senior runner who was suffering from iron deficiency (anemia) earlier in the year, come out and finish first for us,” said STAB coach Dan Wiggins. “What a way to go out.”

Senior Corinna Coffin was that first Saints runner to cross the finish line with her ninth place showing and time of 21:16.45 in spite of the fact that she had been limited in her ability to train much of the season.

As good as the runner/lacrosse standout was, it might not have been enough for STAB were it not for the flurry of her teammates that followed her 30 seconds later.

Starting with Meg Pritchard, the Saints took 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st in 20-second span as Samantha Moore, Julia Won and Audrey Schreck rounded out a train of STAB runners.

“It was really incredible being all together like that,” Pritchard said. “Coming around the second mile I kind of looked back and saw three girls wearing maroon and just flying.”

In a lot of ways, it wasn’t much different than a practice as the last four runners were pushed to finish by one another and not the competition.

“I think all of our hard work through out the entire season definitely paid off,” Moore said. “Obviously it showed in this race.”

By virtue of finishing in the top-20, Coffin, Pritchard, Moore and Won all earned All-VISAA Divison 2 honors. While Schreck missed out by one spot, the eighth grader likely won’t have to wait long to get a medal like her teammates.

Covenant’s Alicia Fox was the top finisher for the Eagles. Fox finished one spot ahead of Coffin in seventh place. The Eagles earned seventh place as a team. Nella Hendley gave Covenant a pair of top-25 runners with her 23rd place running.

Ankle injury can’t hobble Bennert, Woodberry

He spent much of the fall trying to maintain his fitness level in a pool. Kevin Bennert’s stress fracture in his ankle had him in a boot during the regular season. Yet in his last cross country race in a Woodberry Forest uniform, Bennert looked like he was in mid-season form as he edged teammate Thomas Garrison by just under three tenths of a second to earn a fourth place finish in the VISAA Division 1 championship.

“During the race all I could think about was that this was the last time I was going to be running here,” Bennert said. “So I wanted to leave it all out there.”

With Bennert and Garrison finishing 4-5 and Josh Trudgeon, Logan Ragfield and Addison Winston all finishing in the top-15, Woodberry Forest just narrowly missed a first place finish as a team, finishing second in impressive fashion, just four spots away from Trinity Episcopal and 115 ahead of Bishop Ireton.

“Today we put up six runners who earned All-State,” Bennert said. “This is the best team I think Woodberry’s ever had. At the beginning of the season Trinity looked like they were going to be untouchable. To be within literally spitting distance of them, with what those guys did this season, it feels incredible.”

After Bennert and Garrison crossed the finish line, Trudgeon took seventh place. Ragfield and Winston rounded out Woodberry’s scoring with 13th and 14th  place performances, but with Mathew Laws finishing 15th, the Tigers had six All-VISAA Division 1 runners with only five scoring spots available. The sixth member of the Woodberry team, Peter Shelton finished 26th making his team the only school to have all its runners complete the race with top-30 showings.

Hubbard, Yates and Shelley highlight local runners in Division 2 boys race

With Elias Hubbard’s seventh place finish and Michael Kidby’s 16th showing, the Miller boys secured third place in the Division 2 race.

Covenant’s Harrison Yates 21st place finish may have left him one spot away from earning All-VISAA honors, but the senior was the top finisher for Covnenat which took fifth place as George Brumbaugh helped out with a 26th place running.

Tandem’s Adam Shelley edged out Yates by six seconds to take 20th place overall.