Monticello, Western both put together strong days at Region 3A West cross country

Gannon Willcutts didn’t mess around at the Region 3A West cross country championship Tuesday. The Western Albemarle senior didn’t just win, he won emphatically.

Willcutts unleashed a 15:47.80 time, beating second place Gaige Kern of Allegany by 21 seconds en route to the individual title at the Blacksburg High School Cross Country course.

Willcutts’ effort was good enough to spark the Warriors to a second place finish as a team, with Trevor Stutzman’s eighth place, Jack Ehlenberger’s 24th, Ben Skinner’s 34th and Ethan Sewell’s 50th rounding out the scoring runners for the Warriors. Blacksburg won the team title with two runners, Sam Teller and Jacob McCoy leading the way with third and fourth place finishes respectively.

Monticello’s Andrew Gonce finished 26th and advanced to the state meet with that clocking.

Western advances as a team to the Group 3A championship.

Over on the girls side, Monticello and Western battled for second place behind powerhouse Blacksburg, who coasted to the title with five scoring runners in the individual top six, including the top four runners. Western’s Annie Taylor and Chance Masloff took seventh and ninth respectively, but Monticello squeezed in enough runners to edge out the Warriors by nine points. Sophomore Renee Craft led the pack of Mustangs in 14th place overall, and a trio of Monticello runners followed in 18th, 19th and 20th — Isabelle Hermsmeier, Gena Lewis and Laura Habermeyer. Kate Walz rounded out the scoring runners for the Mustangs in 26th.

For Western Erica Grupp in 24th, Annie Lorenzoni in 27th and Zoe Clay in 32nd wrapped up the Warriors’ efforts.

Blacksburg’s Bonnie Angermier won the individual title with a time of 18:28.99.

Both Western and Monticello will advance to the girls Group 3A championship as the top six squads advance to the meet.