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.
HILLSVILLE –– On a night when Carroll County won big on the field, it must have felt like a loss in the locker room after long-time head coach Tom Hale announced his plans to step down after 15 years at the helm of the Cavalier football team.
Hale met with the media following a dominating 77-28 victory at Tommy Thompson Field over neighboring Patrick County (0-10) and said he felt like it was time to move on.
UPDATE: In the time since this story was written, the VHSL has adjusted Grayson County's ratings points in accordance with Alleghany, N.C.'s schedule. Grayson County now is rated 14th in the 2A West Region.
There is still a lot to be decided in the western half of the state as high school football draws down to its final week of the regular season.
HILLSVILLE –– Times were, Carroll County slugged it out all season only to match up against a River Ridge District powerhouse in the playoffs. This year, it’s all kind of backwards.
The Cavaliers concluded their first regular season as a member of that River Ridge and will move on to a postseason devoid of Cave Spring and Hidden Valley. Carroll solidified its No. 5 standing in the eight-team district with a 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 senior night win over 6A Patrick Henry and will open Conference 24 tournament play Monday against an opponent to be determined.
ROANOKE –– Patrick Henry scored touchdowns on three of its first six plays, rolled up a 35-0 lead after one quarter and zoomed past Carroll County 70-22 in a River Ridge District game Friday at Merrill Gainer Stadium.
The Group 6A Patriots remained in a tie for first place in the RRD standings at 7-2 while Carroll County dropped to 1-8.
HILLSVILLE –– Back in mid-September, Galax cross country runner Cliff Conley turned in a time of 16 minutes, 38 seconds on the 3.1-mile Southwestern Virginia Training Center course. It was a very solid time, but Conley crossed the finish line more than a half-minute behind Matthew Farmer of Rural Retreat.
Since that race, Conley has edged closer to and finally broken the school record for a 5-kilometer race. He did so again on Wednesday.
INDEPENDENCE – Back-to-back trips to the Twin Counties provided similar results for the Narrows football team after another lopsided loss Friday night – this time a 55-22 drubbing by Grayson County at Bill Strong Field.
The Blue Devils (5-4 overall, 2-2 MED) guaranteed themselves to finish at or above .500 for the regular season after running over traditional MED bottom-feeder Narrows (3-6, 1-3) in front of their home crowd.
HILLSVILLE –– Salem will overmatch most of the football teams it plays, Carroll County included. But the Cavaliers refused to roll over against one of the most storied football programs in the state.
The Spartans jumped out to a 33-point lead but Carroll County managed to put up 21 points in the second half, eventually taking a 47-21 loss in a River Ridge District game Friday at Tommy Thompson Field.