Castlewood used the strategy of running in a pack to help pace each other Wednesday to win the Region 1D cross country championship at Veldon Dotson Park. The plan worked.
Hicks’ second-place time of 17:35, behind the winning time of 17:08.05 by defending VHSL Class 1 state champion Jordan Keith of Holston, led Castlewood to the team title with a score of 32.
The Blue Devils got a fourth-place finish from Owen Lindsey, a fifth-place finish from Zachary Owens, a seventh spot from Dylan Ingle and a 21st-place finish from Jackson Salyers to finish with a team score of 32.
J.I. Burton, led by Lindsey Owen’s third-place finish with a time of 17:45.5 and ninth-place finish by Evan Stapleton (19:08.07), finished second with 61 points, while Keith’s Holston squad scored 69 points to finish third.
Castlewood, J.I. Burton and Holston all advanced to the VHSL Class 1 state championships on Nov. 16 at Green Hill Park in Salem.
Running in the pack formation was the key for Castlewood’s success, Hicks said.
“During the season, it wasn’t too close together, but that’s what we’re trying to do as we got closer to state,” Hicks said of the plan of running in the pack. “In practice we all try to run together and we all try to stay as close as we can. It helps save time for everyone.”
Keith, a senior, said the state championship next week brings a little pressure with it since he’s the defending champion.
“It’s nerve racking really,” Keith said. “It’s just different. I feel like I can push it a little bit this coming week. I think I’ll get there. I’m getting there.
“It’s the last time I’ll run at state. It’s just different.”
Five individuals not on the top three teams qualified for the state championships. Those include Patrick Henry’s Tyler Gregory and McKinley Kestner; Chilhowie’s Lucas Blevins; Rural Retreat’s Lachen Streeby; and Hurley’s Micah Blankenship.
GRUNDY WINS GIRLS TITLE
In the Region 1D girls championships, Grundy edged out Rural Retreat 37-38 to take the regional title.
Grundy got a fourth-place finish from Jessi Looney and a seventh-place finish from Alexsis Porter on the way to winning the championship.
Castlewood, led by senior Adrianna Hall’s fifth-place finish, was the third team from the region to qualify for the state championships with 46 points.
Patrick Henry’s Catherine Grossman won the meet with a time of 21:53.45. She and teammates Zoe Davenport (22:18.65), who finished second, and Sarah Tirado qualified for the state championships as individual competitors.
Eastside’s Gracie Cress and Anna McKnight also earned individual bids to the state championship.