Western boys, girls sweep Ragged Mountain Cup in race’s full return


For the first time since 2019, the Ragged Mountain Cup was run in pretty normal fashion with masked fans and most of the squads that usually toe the line at Panorama Farms. 


During the pandemic the cup has been more time trial than race, but Tuesday, racing was back, chip timing was in place and the Western Albemarle girls and boys cross country squads swept the championships.


The Warriors’ girls squad broke the Ragged Mountain Cup record by more than two minutes, with the squad’s A relay posting a time of 47:51 with senior Jenna Stutzman’s 11.25.9 leading the way in the relay, freshman Sadie Adams taking second and Grace Cook and Hailey Hodson taking sixth and seventh. 


“It was really nice, it’s hopefully a signal to me that the rest of the season will be pretty normal,” Stutzman said. “It was nice to have the whole team here, that’s an experience we missed out on last year — and all the spectators. It really feel like the cross country vibe that I’m used to, back in the day.”


In the open race after the relay, there was an anomaly where two of the race’s best runners running there as Covenant didn’t field a relay team. Covenant sophomore Maddie Gardiner clocked the fastest time of the day there with an 11:06.0 to outpace Stutzman’s top finish in the relay and teammate Reese Dalton took second with an 11:32.5, putting her third overall in the individual standings. 


Covenant’s Maddie Gardiner and Reese Dalton embrace after placing first and third individually via the open race. Photo by Kristi Ellis


It bodes particularly well for the Warriors that junior Jordan Stone led Western’s second relay team, the squad that placed third as a team, with an eighth place finish, since five runners will score during normal races this season. Throw in Elanor Abell and Sienna Collier taking 12th and 13th and Western has a combination of top end talent and depth that should make the Warriors a force to be reckoned with this fall. 


“The team went out there and just did what they wanted to and smashed their times,” Stutzman said. “We did a time trial last Thursday and compared to the time trial, it was wonderful. We definitely have a bigger team this year and all the miles, that builds a community and we’re seeing that in how we’re racing.”


The Albemarle girls placed second as a team, with sophomore Madelyn Gypson’s third place finish and Jenna Coleman’s fifth place finish. Junior Hanna Guyton took 11th and sophomore Savannah Meriwether finished 21st. 


Monticello’s A relay took fourth and Albemarle’s second squada took fifth while William Monroe grabbed sixth, Louisa seventh, Fluvanna eighth and Madison ninth.  Kate McLearen’s fourth place finish sparked the Mountaineers while Sophie Farley took ninth for Fluvanna and Charlotte Anderson was 10th for the Mustangs.


On the boys side, Western’s clocking of 41:32 outpaced second place Woodberry Forest by more than a minute. The Warriors had four top eight finishes in the relay, led by junior Owen Shifflett in third, senior Jade Mawn in fourth, junior Nate Sullivan in seventh and freshman Henry Kimbrough in eight. Like the Western girls, it was a good sign for the Warriors’ boys that Jonathan Kumer, a senior running for the Warriors’ B team that finished seventh in the relay, took sixth overall individually. 


“The past year we came out here with no spectators, no fans, just us running our hearts out so it’s definitely special to come back and have fans this year,” Shifflett said. “Just getting a good race for the start of the season is really cool.”


Woodberry got a boost from individual winner Ferenc Kovacs, a Hungarian runner who had a breakout performance with a time of 9:37.8. Louisa’s Nicky Emmert wasn’t far behind with a 9:46.5 to take second place overall, leading Louisa to a third place finish as a team with help from fellow senior Caiden Davenport who took ninth overall. Tandem sophomore Charlie Kalnite had a breakout performance with a fifth place finish individually. 


Charlottesville’s boys team finished fourth in the relay while William Monroe took fifth, Albemarle took sixth and Monticello grabbed eighth. Fluvanna’s squad finished ninth and Albemarle’s second relay team took 10th.