Both Western cross country teams explode at Region II championship

Western Albemarle coach Lindy Bain is big on his runners that close out races for him, and after Thursday’s performance at the Region II championship, that’s not hard to understand why. The Warriors’ William Plews-Ogan finished 27th overall, but remarkably, his time was not necessary as all seven of Western’s top runners put together top-30 times, but only five counted. Not surprisingly, with three runners sandwiched between a second place showing from Derek Armstrong and a 17th place finish from Adam Schiller, the Warriors cruised to the Region II title to earn their spot in the Group AA championship.

Loudoun County’s Tommy Curtain was able to edge Armstrong by three seconds, but after the Western senior took second with a time of 16:12, Western occupied four of the next 15 finishes. Henry Giles, David Taylor and Ben Schiller finished eighth seconds apart to earn respective tenth, 11th and 13th place honors. Adam Schiller rounded out the scoring for Western, but Gavin Ratcliffe and Plew-Ogans 20th and 27th place finishes would have registered on every single other team at the meet.

Both Monticello and Louisa County joined Western in Winchester at the meet. The Mustangs managed a ninth place finish while the Lions came in 11th.

Mustangs senior Nathaniel Hermsmeier put together a time of 16:41 to earn eighth place. As a result he earned an individual slot at the Group AA championships.

The Warriors and the lone Monticello runner will travel to the state title race on Saturday November 13.

Webb, O’Connell lead Warriors with 1-2 punch

Looking to make good on a vow to earn a spot on the podium at the Group AA championship, the Western girls took that next step needed to do so as they handedly won the Region II title behind four top-10 and five top-30 finishes as well as a first place showing from Mattie Webb in Winchester.

The senior led the Warriors by finishing the race in 18:59 and nearly a minute later, teammate Killian O’Connell gave her squad a 1-2 finish, breaking the 20-minute mark with her time of 19:58.

Just a few seconds behind O’Connell, Katie Farina and Claire Johnson flew in together with Farina taking eighth place at 20:10 and Johnson taking ninth just one second behind.

Freshman Sarah Grupp’s 21:33 time gave Western all five of its scoring runners a top-30 finish, and although Warren County was able to match that, the Warriors outpaced Wildcats by placing twice as many runners in the top-10.

The Warriors advance to the Group AA championship on Saturday November 13.

Two other Jefferson District squads participated in the meet. Monticello placed ninth while Louisa County took 11th.

The Mustangs’ Madeline Hermsmeier placed 12th at 20:24 and will adavance to the state championship as an individual.