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VHLS Cross Country Meet: Indians’ ‘awful’ day is awesome

BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH

THE PLAINS—A few moments after the Group AAA boys cross country meet ended, Stafford’s Ian MacLeod walked over to coach Pete Augrom.

“That was awful,” he said.

And that sentiment seemed to wash over much of the team on this blustery day at Great Meadow.

The Indians had entered the race hoping to seize their first state championship since 1996. But when they saw three Albemarle runners near the lead group at the finish line, they figured those hopes were dashed.

Augrom gathered his runners after he found out the final results.

“Albemarle had 102,” he said, face straighter than a pencil. “And we had 87. We won a state title.”

At that, several Indians dropped to the ground as a mix of joy, fatigue and disbelief swelled into one magical moment.

Yes, Albemarle had placed three runners among the top 10. But Stafford had prevailed for the same reason it had been successful all season: Its team was remarkably deep and balanced.

“We really thought we lost and we were all kind of down afterward,” MacLeod said, smiling. “Then we really couldn’t believe it. We’d always talked about winning state titles, but we never really thought we could, until this year.”

The Indians, who did not win their district meet, placed five runners among the top 45 overall yesterday.

Greg Bohmke finished 11th in 16 minutes, and MacLeod came in 13th, just over one second later.

Joey Abbatiello (26th place), Brandon Hinton (34th), Chapin Baxter (45th), Ryan Hazelgren (92nd) and Tanner Wendtladt (98th) rounded out Stafford’s team.

Last season, the Indians entered this race bubbling with anticipation. Then they placed fourth, one spot away from the medal stand.

That served as a motivator throughout this season and during the final stretch yesterday. The Stafford runners in the lead group blitzed past one competitor after another during the final push.

“Afterward, they felt like this was the hardest thing they’d ever done,” Augrom said. “I knew they’d have to put out that kind of effort to win this.”

Colonial Forge’s Brian O’Loughlin was the top individual from the area, placing fifth in 15 minutes, 41 seconds.

Last season, O’Loughlin was near the lead during the final stretch, but he lost steam as a pack of runners zipped past him at the end.

This season he was aware of that, and he maintained his kick across the line.

“I gave it my all during those last 600 meters,” he said.

Colonial Forge’s David Pennessi placed 16th overall, and Riverbend’s Shaquon Wilkins came in 20th.

Chancellor standout Michael Waller was the top finisher in the Group AA meet, placing 24th in 16:39.

On the girls side, Mountain View star Kimberley Ficenec placed 15th in the Group AAA race in 18:50.2.

“There was a lot of wind blowing and lots of competition,” Ficenec said. “Mentally, you have to be strong.”

Colonial Forge’s Frances Morales and Jenna Walker placed 22nd and 24th, respectively.

King George’s Haley Armentrout was the area’s top finisher in the Group AA race, placing 19th in 19:32.

GIRLS

GROUP AAA

Team results (top five and local teams): Midlothian 87, 2. Ocean Lakes 100, 3. West Potomac 125, 4. Oakton 143, 5. Maggie Walker 181, 6. Colonial Forge 195.

Individuals (Top 3 overall and local finishes in top 50): Sophie Chase (Lake Braddock) 17:33, 2. Nicole Park (Ocean Lakes) 18:20, 3. Megan Moye (Cosby) 18:21, 15. Kimberley Ficenec (Mountain View) 18:50, 22. Frances Morales (Colonial Forge) 18:59, 24. Jenna Walker (Colonial Forge) 19:05, 37. Emily Debrito (North Stafford) 19:26, 45. Lilly Moore (Colonial Forge) 19:37.

GROUP AA

Team results: 1 Blacksburg 46, 2. Hidden Valley 101,3. Christiansburg 110, 4. Jefferson Forest 111, 5. Grafton 170

Individuals: 1. Carolyn Bethel (Hidden Valley) 18:13, 2. Crystal Nelson (Millbrook) 18:30, 3. Katie Fortner (Cave Spring) 18:50, 19. Haley Armentrout (King George) 19:32.

GROUP A

Team results: 1. George Mason 37, 2. Strasburg 70, 3. Wilson Memorial 74, 4. Radford 164, 5. Floyd County 169, 11. Washington & Lee 297.

Individuals: 1. Hannah Rose (Wilson Memorial) 19:05, 2. Kaitlyn Ayers (Strasburg) 19:35, 3. Michele De Mars (George Mason) 19:42, 35. Kathryn Beddoo (Washington and Lee) 21:41.

BOYS

GROUP AAA

Team results (top five and local teams): 1. Stafford 87, 2. Albemarle 102, 3. Oakton 128, 4. Mills Godwin 161, 5. Chantilly 167, 7. Colonial Forge 201.

Individuals (Top 3 overall and local finishes in top 50): 1. Ahmed Bile (Annandale) 15:16, 2. Sean McGorty Jr. (Chantilly) 15:21, 3. Adam Visokay (Albemarle) 15:34,5. Brian O’Loughlin (Colonial Forge) 15:41, 11. Greg Bohmke (Stafford) 16:00, 14. Ian MacLeod (Stafford) 16:01, 16. David Pennessi (Colonial Forge) 16:04, 20. Shaquon Wilkins (Riverbend) 16:10, 26. Joey Abbatiello (Stafford) 16:35, 34. Brandon Hinton (Stafford) 16:33, 45. Chapin Baxter (Stafford) 16:43.

GROUP AA

Team results: 1. Blacksburg 76, 2. Western Albemarle 123, 3. Lafayette 126, 4. Loudoun County 146, 5. Skyline 148

Individuals: 1. Thomas Madden (Skyline) 15:33, 2. Nick Link (Blacksburg) 15:47, 3. Patrick Joseph (Loudoun County) 15:49, 24. Michael Waller (Chancellor) 16:39, 45. Dylan Platt (Eastern View) 16:56.

GROUP A

Team results: 1. George Mason 65, 2. Parry McCluer 113, 3. Wilson Memorial 119, Radford 126, John Battle 128, 14. Washington & Lee 380.

Individuals: 1. Walker Mogen, Jr (Radford) 16:33, 2. Brandon Poff (Central) 16:47, 3. Brad Rasnake (Lebanon) 16:50.

Adam Himmelsbach: 540/374-5442

ahimmelsbach@freelancestar.com

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