Lady Cavs reign supreme

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Saunders, Shupe lead way to Region III title

By Mike Forster

  Talk about domination.

Jefferson Forest's girls team won the Region III cross country championship, leaving no doubt as to which is the top crew.

"That was fun to watch them run and defend the title," said JF Head Coach Jerome Loy, who saw his ladies collect a sixth straight Region III crown.

The Lady Cavs took two of the top three spots and saw five of their runners finish in the top 20.  When the math was complete, JF had 37 points, well ahead of runner-up (and chief nemesis) E.C. Glass.

The Hilltoppers gained a bit of glory as their guys took top honors in the other race. 

On the ladies side, Lady Cav Erin Saunders took top honors, turning in her second best performance of the year on a cold and hilly Harrisonburg course.  The win can serve as a bookend to Sanders' Seminole title, which she nabbed last week.

"Rarin" Saunders edged out teammate and best buddy Alyssa "Shuper-shonic" Shupe, who won the Region III individual title last year.  This year, a niggling foot injury has hampered the sophomore a bit.

"The cold weather helped Alyssa," assessed Loy.  "She's strong and that was a decent performance for her."

The two saw E.C. Glass dynamo Kate Carrington take off like a blast at the start line.  It wasn't until the 1.5 mile mark that they were able to catch up to their Hilltopper pal.  Carrington had enough gas in her tank to nab fifth place, behind second place finisher Darby McPhail of Byrd and Liberty's Kennedy Flynn, who took fourth.

On the ladies side, Jeff Forest will be joined at States by runner-up E.C. Glass, Byrd and Fort Defiance.  Likely hitching a ride to Great Meadow (near Warrenton) on Saturday with the Lady Cavs will be Liberty's Flyin' Flynn.


Women's team scores

1. Jefferson Forest (JF)  37

2. E.C. Glass (EC)  69

3. William Byrd (WB)  96

4. Fort Defiance (FD) 132

5. Lord Botetourt (LB) 141

6. Turner Ashby (TA) 145

7. Spotswood (SP) 152

8. Rustburg (RB) 172

9. Rockbridge (RK) 203


Women's top 15

1. Erin Saunders     JF  19:34

2. Darby McPhail   WB  19:59

3. Alyssa Shupe        JF  20:06

4. Kennedy Flynn   LH  20:17

5.Kate Carrington   EC  20:25

6. Ana M. Lopez    WB  20:26

7. Qubree Daniel    FD  20:27

8. Burke Kelleher   EC  20:28

9. Sam Francis       RB  20:32

10.Carsen Wilkersen JF 20:38

11.Courtney Rice    NS  20:39

12.Kate O'Connor  WB  20:39

13.Clair Brooks      WY 20:40

14. Abby May     JF  20:41

15.Eryn Turney    LB  20:43


The JF boys, alas, finished well out of the money and will attend States only to cheer on their gal pals.

Caleb Pollard had the tough break of finishing in 16th place, one spot away from qualifying as an individual competitor.  He was edged by Harrisonburg's Jonas Zimmerman, by one second on Zimmerman's home course:  A tough way for Pollard to close out his senior-year campaign.


Men's team scores

1. E.C. Glass (EC)  62

2. William Byrd (WB)  78

3. Fort Defiance (FD) 105

4. Turner Ashby (TA) 108

5. Spotswood (SP) 109

6. Jefferson Forest (JF)   122

7. Lord Botetourt (LB)   127

8. Rockbridge (RK)   185

9. Liberty (LH) 203


Men's top 15

1 David Cedillo       BK 16:30

2 Michael McBane  LB  16:49

3 Devin Kestner     WY  16:54

4 Trey Gibson         WB 16:55 

5 Collin Montgomery EC 16:57

6 Cimarron Nicely   AL  16:59

7 Alex Thibodeaux  FD  17:04 

8 Craig Danner       LH  17:24

9 Gaige Kern           AL 17:24

10 Max Hamilton     SP  17:29

11Alex Kearney      Lee 17:32

12 Josh Showalter   TA  17:36

13 David Barrett     SR  17:37

14 Peter Seufer       EC  17:38

15Jonas Zimmerman HB 17:43


Liberty's Danner praised the race winner.  "He's in a league of his own," noted Danner, of Cedillo.  "He's very focused."

Liberty Head Coach Kelly Jennings has seen remarkable progress in her program this year.  This was the first time a Jennings-coached Liberty team has qualified for regional competition. 

With the school sending Flynn and Danner to States, the wish is that Liberty will find seeds for future success.  "I hope to see the program grow and more kids to want to run and be successful like this group," noted Jennings

Danner noted that the school has been especially supportive, with cross country accomplishments being broadcast during school announcements.

Barrett may have been the biggest surprise of all.  The senior was racing in only his second varsity race of the season, having been sidelined by a knee injury.  "I went in with the attitude that whatever happens happens and it would all be OK," said SR Head Coach Joe Hubble.  "(Coach Joe) Curcio had said before the race to not count David out because he has a lot of heart...(and) the heart of a champion showed on Thursday.  

"David raced very well by setting himself up within the front pack early, and then just running well the rest of the race.  It was a beautiful course, and viewer-friendly, so we could watch all of it develop.  David even came up with a final kick at the end to hold off two other runners and catch a third."