MECHANICSVILLE – Hanover County teams dominated the Region 4B cross country championships at Pole Green Park last Wednesday afternoon.
The Hanover girls and Lee-Davis boys claimed their respective team titles and advanced to the Virginia High School League Class 4 state championships at Great Meadow Park in The Plains Saturday, as did Patrick Henry’s girls (second place) and boys (third).
The Confederate girls finished fourth, as did Hanover’s boys.
“They girls had a really good day,” said Hanover head cross country coach Rich Firth. “It was our first regional title in school history for cross country.”
The Hawks won while one of their best runners – senior Rachel Crytser – was on a bit of a leash.
“Rachel Crytser has been out all year with a foot injury,” Firth said. “She ran this race, but we held her back. We didn’t want her to go too hard too fast because she was coming off of the injury. She sacrificed for the team and wound up fourth place overall.”
Another Crytser did even better. Alli Crytser – Rachel’s sister, a freshman – won the individual championship.
“[She] ran spectacularly, as she has all year,” Firth said of the younger Crytser.
Alli Crytser finished in 18:10.8.
The two Crytsers were joined in the top 10 by teammate Erika Osborn, who finished sixth. Delaney Childs finished 12th and Mackenzie Joiner 13th to round out the Hawks’ scoring five for a total of 36 points. Bella Faudale finished 15th.
Patrick Henry likewise had three top 10 finishers: Emily Morris (second), Emmy Joyce (fifth) and Kali Dennehy (10th). Melanie McAdoo finished 16th and Olivia Joyce 28th to round out the Patriots’ top five for a total of 61 points.
Lee-Davis’ Desirae Horsley finished ninth and Tessa Santelli 14th.
In the Region 4B boys race, Lee-Davis easily outpaced Louisa County and Patrick Henry, 52 points to 74 for both the Lions and Patriots. Louisa won a tiebreaker for second place by virtue of its runner Branden Wood, who finished first.
Confederate head cross country coach Neil Mathews said his runners performed well under pressure.
“We had a good day,” Mathews said. “Our guys were, for the first time, in a pressured situation. A lot of these guys had always been on the second string, or the B team for years and this year has been their turn. They had a really good summer and they had a really good regular season.”
Always the coach, Mathews said they have a bit more work to do.
“We were slightly off from where we wanted to be – where their goals were set for the region meet – but still that hard work, I think, carried them through,” Mathews said.
Gerrit Moyar led Lee-Davis with a third-place finish. Grayson Clark finished eighth, Austin Runne 10th and Payton Fox 14th. Josh Gray rounded out the Confederates’ scoring five with a 17th-place finish.
Patrick Henry had three runners in the top 10: Carter Burcham (fourth), Luke Taylor (fifth) and Trevor Mason (sixth). Michael Leff (15th) and Alex Davis (44th) rounded out the Patriots scoring five.
Hanover’s top finishers were Ethan Coleman (ninth) and Cole Myers (14th).
Both Atlee’s boys and girls finished sixth in the Region 5B championships that followed the 4B championships at Pole Green last week. Rachel Mudd’s second-place finish helped lead the Atlee girls. George Henning led the Raider boys with a 10th place result.
The state championships begin Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. for the Class 4 girls. The Class 4 boys race begins at 11:15 a.m. The Class 5 girls race begins at 1 p.m. following the Class 6 races. The final race of the day will be the Class 5 boys, starting at 1:45 p.m.
Dave Lawrence can be reached at email@example.com.