The Atlee boys cross country team took home the school’s first state title in the sport in the Class 5 meet Friday at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg.
The Raiders finished with a team points tally of 40. Glen Allen finished second with 53 points. Atlee coach Neil Mathews said his team made it their goal back in the winter to win a title in cross country, after some runners were unable to compete at states for indoor track and field.
“They said, ‘You know what, instead of being down about that, let’s focus on trying to go and win the cross country state championship,’” Mathews said.
“To watch them go from a thought in practice where the light bulb came on for one athlete, to everybody believing in one mission, one job to get done, and they pulled it off, that was cool.”
Mathews added that his team was fully aware the school had never won a title in cross country despite a rich track and field history.
“To be part of that first one ... the sacrifices they had to make to get there, it’s just very special,” Mathews said.
Douglas Freeman junior Brett Bishop won the individual title with a time of 16:22. Mills Godwin freshman Berkley Nance placed second at 16:33.
Atlee sophomore Travis Albon came in fourth overall in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 16:48. Junior Josh Leonard placed eighth at 16:59. Freshman Patrick Allen came in at 17:10, and senior Ian Sellors was right behind Allen at 17:12, good for 13th and 14th overall, respectively. Top-15 finishers qualify as All-State honorees.
Sophomore Andre Chavez rounded out the Raiders’ top-20 finishers, he came in 18th at 17:28. Senior Stephen Wiecek (18:42) and junior Ryan Sherrill (18:46) placed 47th and 48th, respectively.
Mathews said the leadership of Sellors, a “stalwart” who’s dealt with injuries, was pivotal for an otherwise young group. Leonard also was injured much of last year, and emerged this year as a top runner.
“Those two being reinfused with those young guys made all the difference, they’re really good leaders, I think they steadied the ship and the young guys’ energy, excitement and enthusiasm pushed us through,” Mathews said.
For Glen Allen, junior Ben Hagerich (9th place, 17:01) and senior Jackson Morvan (10th, 17:04) procured top-10 finishes. Sophomores Dorian Frick (15th, 17:13) and Eric Fagan (17th, 17:17) weren’t far behind. Junior Jason Latina (24th, 17:41) rounded out the scoring efforts for the Jaguars.
On the girls side, Midlothian (54 points) finished second, and Deep Run (83 points) came in third. Albemarle won the meet with 48 points.
Mills Godwin senior Landin Bostian finished second overall in the girls race at 19:02.
Midlothian junior Gabriella Garcia placed third with a time of 19:10. Senior Caroline Bowe (19:51) finished sixth, and junior Nicole Quiram (21:01) came in 17th. Sophomore Kylie Bonser (19th, 21:09) and seniors Ally Marmo (28th, 21:27), Chloe Martin (29th, 21:37) and Katherine Krievs (32nd, 21:57) completed a strong collective showing for the Trojans.
Deep Run sophomore Sydney Walters (19:43) finished fifth, and senior Riley Schindel (20:38) placed 13th.