CHESTERFIELD - When you have a big meet like the massive Virginia Track Coaches Association invitational - held Sept. 28 at Pocahontas State Park - you can race against all sorts of different characters, training styles and experiences, said Powhatan Cross Country team captain Gavin Timmons.

And on that Saturday, Timmons treated the boys varsity A race like one of Powhatan’s tempo runs, allthewhile amping up his run to a race-pace speed.

“Mentally everything was still like a practice,” Timmons said, “just with extra people.”

The end result?

Timmons recorded a 16:46.7 - his second-best time overall - as well as a 15th place finish in a varsity A race field that featured high-level competitors from places like Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Richmond and Northern Virginia.

“I’m pretty excited that I got this time,” Timmons said. “I’m excited to build upon this, because it’s a good base to start.”

Timmons saw that some of the runners around him were a little stronger on the hills, so he’s looking to put in some more hill work as the season goes on.

His goal is to get another personal record, and he’s going for challenging that Powhatan school record this year.

“We’ll see how it turns out,” Timmons said, “and I just want to have fun this year. Just having fun is really important.”

The overall varsity A race winner was Sean Stuck (15:33.6), who paced West Springfield in its team win with a low score of 46 points. Deep Run, led by overall runner-up Colby Burcham (15:34.8), was second with 95 points.

Remaining top 7 finishers for Powhatan in the varsity A boys race were Davis Tester (18:51.1), Jackson Tester (18:58.6), Gavin Rice (19:22.4), Russell Holland (20:40.9) and Stevie Bigham (21:41.7)

On the girls’ side, freshman Rebecca Ray is actually in the midst of her first-ever season running cross country. It’s gone pretty well, she’d say - her Powhatan team is really nice and really fun.

“I feel like I’ve really improved a lot,” Ray said. “The coaches are great, the people are great and they really push me.”

Ray was Powhatan’s top runner in the girls varsity A race on Saturday, recording a time of 23:03.0 and a 69th-place finish overall.

“It was really nice to see the other competition and be able to get better and improve,” Ray said, adding that she wants to start working on hills more, as far as sprinting up the hills and staying with her competition.

“And I feel like I can visualize positive images when I’m running,” Ray said.

The remaining top 7 finishers in the girls varsity A race for Powhatan were Virginia Bird (23:54.1), Lucy Redlich (24:02.4), Alexis Elzey (24:14.6), Alyssa Gorman (24:27.5), Sophie Dolan (25:42.4) and Audrey Lennon (25:44.9).

Mary Caroline Heinen paced Maggie Walker Governor’s School in its 77-78 team win over West Springfield with the individual race-winning time of 18:12.4.

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