Albemarle girls cruise to Conference 16 title

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Albemarle’s girls cross country team rolled to a win in the Conference 16 championships Tuesday, outpacing runner-up Atlee 24-65 to earn an automatic berth in the Region 5A North meet.


Ryann Helmers led the charge for the Patriots, blowing away the field with an 18:30 at Panorama that was a full minute and a half faster than the runner-up, Orange County standout Caroline Marquis. The next four Patriots followed Helmers’ individual title in a tight pack, finishing within 17 seconds of one another. Natalie Li’s fourth place finish led the way ahead of freshman Madelyn Zarzyski and senior Emma Weaver who took fifth and sixth. Freshman Beth Shifflett rounded out the scoring effort in eighth place.


Kenzie Lloyd and Halley Dillenbeck didn’t score, but finished 10th and 11th for Albemarle, giving the Patriots a whopping seven of the top 11 spots in the race. Laney Owen of Atlee and a pair of Patrick Henry runners along with Orange’s Marquis occupied the other four spots.


Marquis led the way for a fifth place Orange finish, with Alden Carter coming in 23rd and Mary Oelrich coming in 25th while Gracie Stieger took 27th and Daisy Floyd finished in 28th. All four of those runners are set to return next year with Oelrich and Floyd just being freshmen.