It was pretty clear that Western Albemarle’s Gannon Willcutts, as long as he ran up to his potential, was going to win or at the very least be near the top of the leaderboard in Great Meadows.
Willcutts delivered in his final Group 3A state championship meeting, winning the individual title with a time of 15:35, outpacing Blacksburg’s Sam Teller by 15 seconds.
After that, Willcutts just needed his teammates to deliver.
They did, with five finishes in the top 35 allowed Western to out-point second place Blacksburg with 60 total points to the Bruins’ 64. That effort pushed Western’s boys cross country team to a state title a year after the Warriors finished fourth in the state.
The team title was Western Albemarle’s first since 2000 according to the VHSL record book and Willcutts’ individual championship was the Warriors’ first ever.
Trevor Stutzman finished seventh for Western and Jack Ehelnberger wasn’t far behind in ninth as the Warriors’ senior trio set the tone early. Freshman Cyrus Rody-Ramazani then ran a strong race in 16:54 to take 25th overall while Davis Greene, a sophomore for the Warriors, took 34th overall. He finished just four seconds ahead of Elijiah Hodges of Blacksburg, the Bruins’ fifth finisher and picked up critical points in the process.
Western sophomores Max Miller and Max Feuerlein took 41st and 42nd overall, which gives the Warriors a strong foundation for a title defense, even with Willcutts moving on after this year.