After winning an individual state title at the VHSL Class 3 state cross country championships last season, Western Albemarle’s Owen Shifflett admitted he was disappointed in his seventh-place performance at this year’s VHSL Class 4 state cross country championships.
Shifflett eradicated that sour taste from his mouth on Saturday when he took home top honors in a loaded field at the Nike Southeast Cross Country Championships at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
“Winning at NXR meant a lot to me and gave me a huge confidence boost,” Shifflett said. “I’ve been running hard all season without getting the results I wanted and finally it all fell into place. It was so exciting to see many of my teammates run their personal best times too.”
Shifflett captured gold with a time of 15:10.09, outlasting Graham Mussmon (15:12.6) to take home a victory against 186 of the top high school runners in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“I had a great race,” Shifflett said. “My plan was to stay with the pack for as long as I could and not take the lead until the end. I knew that there was one final hill that I needed to save energy for. When I got to the hill, I decided to kick and try to make a gap between me and the rest of the pack.”
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Shiflett admitted that his expectation for the race was to win it. After some self-evaluation of his season, including racing against some of the top runners in Virginia, he felt like he learned a lot about himself and how to handle pressure situations against elite competition.
“It was definitely a challenge having the top runners from the Southeast running against me,” Shifflett said. “Even though we compete against each other, when we crossed the finish line, we became friends. I hope to run with some of them again soon.”
Team-wise, Western Albemarle runners competed under the Crozet Crew team name and finished fifth overall with a score of 172 points.
Jade Mawn (15:45) finished 19th overall and Henry Kimbrough (15:49) was 22nd to give the Crozet Crew three runners in the top 25. Nate Sullivan finished 88th with a time of 15:31, followed by Jonthan Kumer (17:01), Jake Greenstein (17:33) and Jeb Blackman (18:06).
Adams takes home silver
Sadie Adams had a sensational freshman campaign for the Western Albemarle girls cross country team, earning a top 5 finish at the VHSL Class 4 state cross country championships to garner all-state honors.
Adams added some more accolades in her final race of the season with another standout effort during the Nike Southeast Regional Cross County championships.
The freshman completed the 3.1-mile course in 18:06.04 to earn silver, less than 30 seconds behind Raleigh Catholic’s Hannah Rae Shaffer (17:49) in another high profile race against top runners in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“I went into NXR hoping to just run my race and a get a good time for the season,” Adams said. “I had no expectations or exact strategies for the race, I just wanted to go out there and have fun. I did and I’m so proud of my team for getting fifth at such a competitive meet. It wasn’t a PR for me, though I’m super excited I came in second. Our team ha been working hard all season and it paid off.”
Adams and her Western Albemarle teammates raced under the team name Crozet Crew and finished fifth in the team competition with 162 points.
Grace Cook (19:24.6) finished 37th overall for the Crozet Crew, followed by Emma Schmitz (19:52.5), Hailey Hodson (20:04.6) and Lilly Smith (20:38.2),
The Albemarle High School girls team, which raced under the team name Panorama Farms, had several runners perform well at the meet.
Madelyn Gypson finished 19th overall with a time of 19:02 to lead Panorama. Jenna Coleman (19:09) was 23rd, followed by Eva Weaver (20:35.1) and Savannah Meriwether (21:31.60).