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WMHS boys XC qualifies for the state meet

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The William Monroe boys and girls XC teams went to the Regional Meet focused on making school history with the boys team becoming state meet qualifiers. Top 3 teams and top 5 individuals after the teams advance to the State Championship! The Dragons attended the Milestat invitational in mid October at Pole Green Park to get a feel for the course to prepare for the Regional meet Wednesday, November 2nd. However, the course was different on race day with a second mile through the autumn splendor of woods with steep downhills, challenging uphills, hair pin turns, bridges over flowing creeks, changing terrain of gravel and mulch all to be traversed upon on two abreast trails while battling with competition and fighting for position! On paper the boys were ranked 3rd behind Maggie Walker and Meridian. They knew they had to perform on race day with a fire to beat Meridian after placing second to them in a tie breaker for the District Title and to qualify for the State Meet!

The gun went off and the strategy was to have the Dragons top 5 in the lead pack of 20 with our top racers in the top 10. In a thrilling race that went from start to final kick the trio of Evan Young, Schuyler Nitzsche and Aiden Dumas jockeyed for position with boys from Maggie Walker, Warren and Meridian navigating for top spots. Close behind were Lance Frye and Nathan Lindegren to round out Monroe’s top 5 scorers, finishing the top 7 were Will Baker and Caleb Buckland.

The tight knit lead pack stayed intact through the tactical twists and turns of the woods to come out to the flatlands of fields with less than a mile to go to open up and let the speed roll. The pack strung out with Warren, Meridian and Maggie Walker boys and Monroe’s Evan Young surged to the lead in the last .1, in a crowd pleaser, crossing the line to claim the individual Regional Title with a time of 17:23! Close behind were Schuyle Nitzsche (6th, 17:46), Aiden Dumas (7th,17:50) for All Region Honors! To round out the top 5 scorers were Lance Frye (18th, 18:26) three spots out of All Region Honors and Nathan Lindegren (28th,18:52) followed by Will Baker (32nd, 19:08) and Caleb Buckland (40th, 19:28).

The Dragon racers compiled a score of 40 points to claim the Regional runner up title behind Maggie Walker and bring home the hardware while claiming honor over Meridian boys defeating the Mustangs by 13 points.

On the girls side, Elli Pursel was ranked 21st and finished at exactly that and was a heartbreaking one spot out of state qualifying with a time of 22:05. She was followed by the pack of teammates Livia Kilby (44th, 24:33) Marley Van Doren (45th, 24:35) Paige Hoffman (49th, 25:37) Shiloh Thompson (51st, 25:39) to round out the top five scorers! Close behind were Elizabeth Kilby (53rd, 25:55) and Sarah Perry (27:21). The Lady Dragons finished seventh in the Region!

The story of the day was the outstanding strategy and race execution from the boys XC team. This team stepped up and raced to their potential as individuals and a team! Well done, congratulations for making a dream and vision a reality!

Thank you to the many well traveled, spirited, loyal parents, family and friends who have cheered the Dragon’s XC teams on throughout the season, you all empowered the athletes’ races and helped this dream become a reality! We have one more trip to share together this season, let’s make it awesome!

The State Meet is Saturday, November 12 at Green Hill Park in Salem, VA. Wishing these stellar Dragons a grand finale race!

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