24 enough for 24

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Lady Cav XCers win Conference 24 with 24 points

By Mike Forster



We're still working our way through what the VHSL's new structure means and how it works.  Do districts matter?  Who is in what conference?  Is yours a north, south, east or west school?

Well, one thing remains true, no matter how you slice and dice the new setup:  The best team gets the top prize.

That was the case on Wednesday when Jefferson Forest's Erin Saunders blew away the field in taking first place in the first-ever Conference 24 championship, held at JF's home course at Wolf Branch Farm.

Saunders led a contingent of talented trotters bedecked in red and black.  The Lady Cavs zipped their way to win Conference 24 with a team total, appropriately enough, of 24 points.

The Lady Cavs and the Cav men will both be heading to Chancellor, where they'll run in the 4A-North regional.  The guys earned that right by making things interesting for Conference 24 winner E.C. Glass.

The Cav men were led by Benjamin Ottman, who seems to be making the most of his senior-year campaign on the cross country circuit.

So, Conference Coach of the Year Jerome Loy will pack a full bus for the trip to  Chancellor's Loriella Park for today's (Wednesday) 4A-North championship.

Girls team results

1. Jeff Forest 24

2. E.C. Glass 35

3. Salem           120

4. Bassett           122

5. GW-Danville              123

6. Carroll County           125

7. Pulaski County          183


Boys team results

1. E.C. Glass 25

2. Jeff Forest       42

3. Salem           104

4. Bassett           127

5. Carroll County           131

6. Pulaski County           144

7. GW-Danville              203

8. William Fleming         204


The story of the day was Saunders  The jaunting junior ran the fastest time of any girl, ever, at Jeff Forest's home course at Wolf Creek Farm.

Saunders fended off initial challenges from Elizabeth Davidson before ditching the Glass freshman at about the 3/4 mile mark.

"It was a nice day for running," said Saunders.  "It wasn't too hot and there was no wind.  I knew I had to go out and give it all I've got."

Saunders did just that, as she trucked home with a time of 18:35, nearly 35 seconds ahead of Davidson, a rather remarkable runner in her own right.

"I think the team has come together well, even with the injuries," said Alyssa Shupe, noting Laci Sorrell was at the event in a leg cast.  "Someone always steps up."

In addition to Saunders, team captain Carson Wilkerson was one who stepped up.  The senior went to the starting line with a fever (unbeknownst to her coach), and ran as hot as her forehead, crossing the line as JF's fifth finisher, locking in the win.

The rest of the top ten went thusly:

3. Madelynn Knight  JF  19:56

4. Alyssa Shupe    JF  19:59

5. Kate Carrington   EC  20:19

6. Abby May     JF  20:34

7. Kami DeCarmo    EC 20:48

8. Sydney Haynes    CC 21:02

9. Eliz. Kelleher      EC  21:12

10.Carsen Wilkerson JF  21:26


Top ten boys

1. Peter Seufer    EC  16:52

2. Justin Ginnings    SL  17:15

3. P. Mortemousque EC  17:21

4. Benjamin Ottman  JF  17:34

5. Cooper Tedford     JF  17:39

6. Joe Seo    EC  17:41

7. Lucas Longo    EC  17:45

8. Patrick Cundiff    EC  17:49

9. Chase VanHorn   EC  17:55

10.Gelaw. Truesaw  GW 17:58


Don't for a minute think the Cavs were content with that performance.  Ottman was miffed at the end of the race.  "I don't care about my individual performance," he said, despite turning in quite a good one.  "I'm more interested in team results."

Loy told his guys:  "I know your are disappointed, but most teams would be thrilled to take home that 2nd place trophy." In addition to Ottman, who rose to the occasion on his last race at Wolf Branch Farm, Loy pointed to  11th place finisher Andrew Nolte, who "had the best race of his life," according to his coach.