Fleece, down and more fleece were the layers for the day with a 38 degree temperature and winds gusting to 25 mph at the start of the Virginia High School League’s state cross country meet last Friday. The 2A girls were the first off the starting line, where the extra layers of clothes stayed on until the last warning call.Then, the runners headed into a stiff breeze.
By the time the first mile was finished, Mason’s top four runners were solidly in the top 15 spots and their strong positioning carried through to the end.
Freshmen Logan Funk and Estelle Timar-Wilcox and junior Blaise Sevier worked together throughout the race as they have throughout the post-season. They ran together until the approach to the last long uphill, when Funk took the lead, followed by Timar-Wilcox and Sevier.
Funk shattered her previous best time with a new personal record of 19:39 to finish 3rd overall, the highest freshman finish on the day. Timar-Wilcox also achieved a personal record, placing 8th (20:03) in her first State appearance. Blaise Sevier was steps behind in 9th (20:07), marking the third time she’s finished in the top 10 at states.
Next in for the Mustangs, making a total of 4 runners to earn All-State honors, was freshman Linnea Skotte in 13th place (20:23). Skotte’s time was also a personal record. Rounding out the scoring for Mason was sophomore Mia Sawyer in 30th place (21:28), improving her finish by 5 places over last year and achieved a season’s best time. Her sister, sophomore Anna Sawyer, placed 43rd (21:59), achieving a personal record in her first appearance at the state meet and sophomore Brooke Meinhart placed 44th (22:01). It was her second time placing in the top 50 at states.
While Mason was just three points behind Maggie Walker Governor’s School at regionals last week and was just as close in points at mile one and two, the gap widened Friday during the third mile. The Dragons placed first with 38 points and the Mustangs earned second with 57.
The girls’ state championship performance was their best since 2011, carried there by Funk’s performance, the highest since since Michelle DeMars finished in 3rd at the 2011 state meet.
The boys teams benefited from more sun, but there were also stronger winds. The Mason team worked their way up to the front steadily throughout the race. As a team, their combined times put them in 11th place at one mile, 9th at two miles and, by the finish at 3.1 miles, they placed 6th. They might have placed in the top 5 as they did at the regional meet if it weren’t for the addition of second place Floyd County High School from the 2A West region.
Three Mustang seniors were the first to finish for Mason: Jackson Jost crossed the line in 30th with a season’s best 17:45. It was the third time he’s finished in the top 30 at states. Beamlak Hailemariam was a stride behind in 31st with a personal record of 17:48 in his first run at states and James Pala gained ground in the final stretch, placing in 33rd place (17:56) and improving his previous state finish by 14 spots.
The next four runners were at states for the first time: junior James Schneider came in 54th (18:17) and senior Timothy Gilmour completed the scoring for the team with 60th place (18:22). Seniors Jonathan Gilmour and Charlie Field finished in 67th (18:28) and 71st (18:36) place, respectively.
Dominant Maggie Walker had its five scoring runners in the top 10 and won with 26 points, Floyd County was second with 108, Strasburg High School was 3rd (123), Robert E. Lee and Wilson Memorial High Schools were a point apart in 4th and 5th (142, 143). The Mustangs had a total of 165 points for 6th.