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Maroon Tide finishes strong at own invitational

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Galax runners had their best team showing in 10 years, earning top-three places for both teams.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– More than 400 runners representing 24 schools made the 2011 Maroon Tide Invitational cross country meet the largest in its 18-year history, giving more credence to the fact that the Galax varsity teams had their best showings in a decade.

The 3.1-mile Southwestern Virginia Training Center course will host the Region C meet in a few weeks, making the event an attractive stop on the cross country circuit for several Southwest Virginia schools.

The Maroon Tide finished second in the field of 18 complete boys’ teams and the Galax girls were third among 12 teams in their race, with four runners on each team posting career best times.

Day-long rains let up shortly before the start of the event.

“The conditions were great for the kids,” said Galax coach Tony Quesenberry. “The rain quit just before the race, leaving cool, cloudy conditions which resulted in some great times being run.”

Trevor Quesenberry, Issac Jordan and Chandler Quesenberry all broke the 18-minute barrier for the first time, and the Tide’s No. 1 runner, Travis Cockerham, flirted with the 17-minute mark, placing sixth in a field of 126 runners with a time of 17 minutes, 8 seconds.

Trevor Quesenberry placed 19th in 17:46, Jordan was 23rd in 17:56 and Chandler Quesenberry finished 24th in 17:59 as the Maroon Tide accumulated 95 points as a team. Parry McCluer placed its top five runners among the first 25 overall to win the team title with 72 points. Radford, led by individual winner Walker Mogen (16:18) was third, followed by John Battle (110) and Floyd County (166) in the top five. The second five was comprised of Marion (186), Patrick Henry-Glade Spring (204), Giles (204), Carroll County (250) and Bland County (262).

Glenvar (278) was 11th, trailed by Narrows (323), Grayson County (333), James River (343), George Wythe (351), Northwood (426), Holston (460) and North Surry, N.C. (487).

James Kasper of Glenvar was second overall in 16:49 with Matthew Farmer of Rural Retreat (16:52), Brent Swiney of John Battle (16:53) and Jake Munsey of Giles (17:04) completing the first five.

Cockerham led the second five ahead of Bland County’s Josh Goodman, Owen Morgan of George Wythe, Ben Haderer of John Battle and Parry McCluer’s Robert Cook. 

Kendall Haynes of Carroll County finished two seconds outside of the top 20, earning a 21st-place showing with a time of 17:50. Grayson County’s Tyler Pauley was 29th to lead the Blue Devil boys.

Galax’s Kevin Loftin was 58th in 19:43 and Matthew Calton was 107th in 23:04.

The Maroon Tide placed their first five among the top 25 overall in a girls’ race packed at the top with runners from Galax, Parry McCluer and Floyd County. Parry McCluer took the team win with 47 points, led by individual winner Katy Patterson (20:29).

Galax got its five scoring runners across the finish line before Floyd County’s, but the Buffaloes had three of the top eight runners, keeping its team total down to 62 points, just five ahead of Galax’s 67.

Ashley Jordan led the Maroon Tide girls with a sixth-place finish in 21:25 and Lindsey Ayers ran a career-best 21:41 to place 10th in a field of 93. Megan Boyles (21:50) was 12th while Jennifer Laws (19th, 22:44), Alexandra Moreno (25th, 23:03) and Keely DeZern (49th, 24:56) all posted their career-best times. Jessica Salinas was sixth among Galax girls in 27:34.

“Both the boys’ and the girls’ teams have continues to improve each week and we’re starting to see the results of all the training miles and workouts they have been doing the last two months,” said Quesenberry.

Galax finished 20 points ahead of fourth-place Radford and Glenvar was fifth with 131 points. PH-Glade Spring (132), Rural Retreat (188), George Wythe (188), John Battle (258), Marion (285), Northwood (288) and North Surry, N.C. (327) rounded out the field.

Carroll County had two runners in the top 25. Elise Zyvlosky placed 18th in 22:39 and Kaitlin Horton was 22nd in 22:51. Hayley Reavis (23:20) and Olivia Wyatt (23:29) led Grayson County, finishing 31st and 33rd, respectively.

Alix Gennette set a new course record in the boys’ 2-mile middle school race, posting a time of 11:36 to break the old record of Radford’s Walker Mogen by two seconds. Carroll County’s Tyler Barrett placed eighth and Forrest Webb was 10th.

Sophia Webb of Carroll County was second and Sydney Haynes eighth in the girls’ middle school race while Grayson County runners Emma Wyatt (third), Mary Beth Cunningham (fifth) both had strong showings.