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Cross country teams qualify for regional race

Mary Popek finished in ninth-place, and Ethan Collie recorded an 11th-place finish to pace the Halifax County High School girls and boys cross country teams to third-place finishes overall at the Western Valley District cross country championships, held Thursday at Waid Park in Franklin County.

Both the Comets’ girls and boys teams qualified for the Northwest Regional race to be held Thursday at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville.

Popek, Emma Worsley (10th) and Baylee Snead (13th) all finished in the top-15 to earn all-district honors for the Comets girls, while Collie, Vatsal Lal (13th) and Gabe Pool (15th) earned all-district honors for the boys team.

Lucy Morrison and Andrew Liegey just missed all district honors, each finishing in 16th-place in their races.

Patrick Henry High School won both the boys and girls races with scores of 15 and 22 points, followed by Franklin County High School (48 and 59), Halifax County High School (74 and 67), William Fleming High School (118 and 103) and GW-Danville High School (147 and 134), with the top four teams qualifying for the Northwest Regional meet.

Coach Brady Taylor said team-wise the Comets finished where they probably should have.

“We would have liked to finish in front of Franklin County, but they had some of their top runners back for districts that didn’t run last week,” Taylor noted. 

“We had some good individual performances today as well.  Mary and Emma pushed each other around the course and ran smart races.

“Baylee did a great job today.  She pushed herself to pass a couple girls over the last mile and had a strong finish. She was sick and missed last year’s district race, so it’s great for her to be able to finish so high this year.”

The Comets’ girls team had other competitors running a strong race, Taylor added. 

“If Lucy had another tenth of a mile she may have caught the number 15 runner and earned all district as well,” explained Taylor.

“She made up a lot of ground over the last half mile but just ran out of room at the end, and Jessica Conner finished fifth for us and had a great day as well.

“She was our number seven runner for the last couple of races but she really stepped up when it counted.”

Taylor pointed to some strong finishes on the boys side, as well.

“Ethan, Vatsal, and Gabe all ran well,” he pointed out.

“At one point in the race they were all six or seven spots away from the top-15, but they worked their way up through the pack.

“Andrew (Liegey) had an off day and still finished 16th, which is nothing to be ashamed of.

“Sergio (Velazquez) had one of his better races of the year and took the number five spot for us.

“He’s been running well the last couple of weeks and is peaking at the right time of the season.”

“We’ll put in another week of practice and try to earn some personal records next week at regionals.” Taylor added.

“Panorama Farms can be a fast course if we get good starts, so we’ll see what happens next week.”

 

Girls results

9. Mary Popek 25:12

10. Emma Worsley 25:33

13. Baylee Snead 26:46

16. Lucy Morrison 27:08

19. Jessica Conner 28:35

20. Emily Nester 28:51

21. Emily Hansen 29:12

Race winner – Melissa Teeple, Franklin County 20:34

 

Boys results

11. Ethan Collie 20:11

13. Vatsal Lal 20:23

15. Gabe Pool 20:51

16. Andrew Liegey 21:27

19. Sergio Velazquez 21:48

20. Evin Morrison 22:49

24. Gannon Griffin 23:14

Race winner – Zachary Paget, Patrick Henry 18:27