Both the Western Albemarle boys and girls cross country teams finished second in the state championship meet at Great Meadows in The Plains Nov. 16.
The girls lost to Blacksburg High School, the state’s current reigning power, but had their best finish since Western claimed three straight state titles in 2002-04. Annie Taylor finished second in the race at 18:48 and Averi Witt placed fourth at 18:53. Chance Masloff finished 15th, Alice Ducharme 31st and Sarah Grupp 41st to give the Warriors a score of 78. Blacksburg, lead by race winner Bonnie Angermeier at 18:37, scored 35. Taylor dueled Blacksburg’s Emily Beatty down the final straightaway to secure Western’s spot on the podium. Runners who place in the top 15 at Great Meadows earn all-state honors.
The Western boys expected to challenge Blacksburg—the winner of the last four state titles—for the championship and had beaten them in the regional race the week earlier. The Warriors succeeded at that goal but were surprised by Williamsburg’s Lafayette High School, which won the meet. Gannon Willcutts finished second at 16:05 and Chris Ferguson was 12th at 16:19. Andrew DeJong, Nathaniel Hashisaki and Trevor Stutzman rounded out Western’s top five. Six Warriors placed in the top 31.