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Galax’s boys and Grayson County’s girls both won highly-competitive battles and each brought home a region cross country championship Wednesday.
At the Region 1A West meet at Sugar Hollow Park in Bristol, Galax placed all five of its scoring runners among the top 14 finishers, including individual champion Cliff Conley, to hold off Radford and Auburn for the team title.
In a battle that saw a tiny 10-point spread between first place and third, Galax took the crown with 44 points, five below runner-up Radford’s 49. Auburn was five points in back of the Bobcats with 54. Rural Retreat (122), Bland County (134) and Eastside (204) also qualify for the Group 1A championships Nov. 16 in Manassas, as do the top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team.
Conley, a junior, trimmed four seconds off the time he posted on the same course in an invitational meet three weeks ago and posted a winning time of 15 minutes, 44 seconds to win the boys’ championship by 16 seconds of Matthew Farmer of Rural Retreat.
Overall team depth played a key role in the Maroon Tide’s title. Galax, Radford and Auburn all had three runners finish among the top 10, with Galax’s Dustin Matthews placing sixth and Daniel Hix taking 10th, but the Maroon Tide’s Dominic DiGiacomo and Chandler Quesenberry crossed within three-tenths of a second of one another in 13th and 14th, respectively, to outrun Radford’s No. 5 runner by 30 seconds and secure the team title.
Farmer and Bland County’s Zach Otey (11th) and Jacob Cross (15th) were the only runners not from Galax, Radford or Auburn to finish among the top 15.
“Dominic really stepped up today and provided us with the depth that we needed to overtake Radford and Auburn,” said Galax coach Tony Quesenberry. “Those teams were running the best they had all year.”
Galax advanced as a team to the state meet for the 20th time in its 25 years of competition. The Maroon Tide girls had battled injuries throughout the season but qualified for state for the 11th time after edging Haysi by two points for the sixth and final team spot.
With just five runners competing, Galax didn’t have the depth enjoyed by most of the field, but the Maroon Tide did have balance. Two Haysi runners finished ahead of Galax’s lead runner, but the Tide brought all five of its girls to the finish ahead of the No. 4 Haysi runner to eke out the state berth.
Ashley Jordan ran her best race of the season and led the Maroon Tide with her 18th-place finish in 23:39. Megan Boyles (28th), Lindsey Ayers (29th), Keely DeZern (38th) and Kelsey Williams (39th) gave the Maroon Tide five finishers within a two-minute span.
Radford freshman Mary Elliot took the individual championship in 19:21, a minute and 11 seconds ahead of teammate and runner-up Cameron Schafer. The Bobcats also claimed the team title with 30 points, 28 better than Chilhowie. Auburn (95), Patrick Henry (101), Rye Cove (117) and Galax (131) rounded out the state qualifiers.
Region 2A West
Wednesday at Dan Daniel Park in Danville, Grayson County’s No. 5 runner was the difference as the Blue Devils edged Floyd County for the girls’ team championship.
Floyd County and Grayson County had met at regular season invitationals three times in the regular season, with the Blue Devils taking two team wins. Wednesday, Grayson held a one-point lead over the Buffaloes after each team’s top four runners had crossed, and Blue Devil fifth runner Kayla Osborne outran Floyd’s No. 5 by five positions to lock up the team title by six points for Grayson.
Mary Beth Cunningham led the way for the Blue Devils with her third-place finish behind individual champion Annie Grumbine of James River and runner-up Mary Easton of Lebanon. Emma Wyatt placed eighth for Grayson, Olivia Wyatt crossed in 12th and Natalie Ruiz aided in the team’s strong overall finish with a 17th-place effort.
“We knew going in that it would be a tight race between us and Floyd on the girls’ side,” Grayson coach Lucas Austin said. “I thought our girls did a great job of running under pressure. We thought that our No. 3, 4 and 5 runners would have to run really well, and they did. I thought it was a great team effort from a wonderful group of young ladies.”
Floyd County claimed the boys’ team championship while Tyler Young of Grayson County placed fourth in the individual standings, earning a spot in Saturday’s Group 2A state meet in Manassas.
Region 4A North
Jefferson Forest won the girls’ team championship and Millbrook took home the boys’ title at the regional meet at Loriella Park in Fredericksburg.
Carroll County junior Kenzie Marshall placed 44th overall in a field of 119 runners with a time of 21:50, and the Cavaliers’ Sydney Haynes finished 53rd in 22:10.
Region 1A West championships
Wednesday, Sugar Hollow Park, Bristol
Boys’ team results
1. Galax (Gx) 44; 2. Radford (R) 49; 3. Auburn (A) 54; 4. Rural Retreat (RR) 122; 5. Bland County (BC) 134; 6. Eastside (E) 204; 7. J.I. Burton (JIB) 230; 8. Patrick Henry (PH) 251; 9. Northwood (N) 261; 10. Rye Cove (RC) 278; 11. Council (Co) 278; 12. Castlewood (Ca) 285); 13. Thomas Walker (TW) 337.
Boys’ individual top 20
1. Cliff Conley (Gx)15:44
2. Matthew Farmer (RR)16:00
3. Jared Downing (A)16:27
4. Trevor Dominy (A)16:32
5. Adam Johnston (R)16:36
6. Dustin Matthews (Gx)16:37
7. Sam Van Noy (R)16:46
8. Caleb Hallinan (A)16:55
9. Schafer Cole (R)17:07
10. Daniel Hix (Gx)17:14
11. Zach Otey (BC)17:17
12. Tyler Agnes (R)17:31
13. Dominic DiGiacomo (Gx)17:35
14. Chandler Quesenberry (Gx)17:35
15. Jacob Cross (BC)17:44
16. Mark Johnston (R)18:05
17. Stewart Malcolm (R)18:09
18. Andrew Frazier (A)18:12
19. Jacob Wynn (RR)18:14
20. Nathaniel Mitchell (N)18:18
Girls’ team results
1. Radford (R) 30; 2. Chilhowie (Ch) 58; 3. Auburn (A) 95; 4. Patrick Henry (PH) 101; 5. Rye Cove (RC) 117; 6. Galax (Gx) 131; 7. Haysi (H) 133; 8. Castlewood (Ca) 219; 9. Craig County (CC) 222.
Girls’ individual top 20
1. Mary Elliot (R)19:21
2. Cameron Schafer (R)20:32
3. Ckareekeea Branch (Ch)21:10
4. T.J. Howell (Ch)21:31
5. Alaney Bishop (A)21:39
6. Carly Porter (R)21:45
7. Stephanie Hill (RC)21:49
8. Elliott Van Noy (R)21:57
9. Makaela Schramm (Ch)22:08
10. Kara Stewart (PH)22:26
11. Taylor Henderson (PH)22:32
12. Maggie Edwards (H)22:39
13. Laura Puckett (R)22:51
14. Vivian Rollers (RC)22:55
15. Laurel Miller (A)22:59
16. Rachael McCoy (Hurley)23:22
17. Hannah Mondrage (H)23:36
18. Ashley Jordan (Gx)23:39
19. Aaron Carnett (G.Wythe)23:42
20. Bailey Vance (A)23:42