West Virginia Claims Boy’s Individual Crown for 2nd Year
Kaitlyn Workman Top West Virginia Girl’s Finisher
Alan Webb (L) with Team Captains - Photos by Rollie Jacobs
Running on a tough and hilly Smokey Glen Farms 5K course, Eric Graf broke away from the field after the 2 mile mark and never looked back to notch the victory at the sixth annual Battle of the Potomac in Gaithersburg, Maryland yesterday. Brandon Doughty had won this race last year in 16:42 and the question of the day was whether a runner from the outmanned West Virginia team could overcome the odds and again take first place. Graf answered that question decisively, powering away from the field to win by 17 seconds with a time of 16:28. It was a clear cut victory made sweeter by the presence of U.S. mile record holder Alan Webb at the finish. Webb held the finish line tape as Graf broke through for the victory and later chatted with Graf about his accomplishment.
Eric Graf leads Evan Laratta
Eric Graf Winning in 16:28
Joining Graf in the top twenty were Ryan Graf (5th; 17:03), and other fellow Jefferson runners Andrew Milliron (13th; 17:37) and Sam Munnis (19th; 17:48). Cameron Davis of Westside just missed a top twenty spot finishing 21st with a time of 17:51.
In the Boys team competition, Maryland, led by Evan Laratta’s 3rd place finish (16:49) took the crown, scoring 115 points to Virginia’s 151 points with each team’s top ten finisher’s counting towards the overall score. Maryland placed five runners in the top ten and 10 in the top twenty to secure the win and claim the Potomac Cup. Second place Virginia was paced by Louis Colson’s second place finish with a time of 16:45. Outnumbered West Virginia, with only 14 runners entered in the race, finished third with 199 points.
In the Girl’s Seeded competition, Kaitlyn Workman finished sixth to claim the top West Virginia finisher’s spot. Workman, who runs for Preston during the season, passed two runners in the last mile and finished in 20:35. Whitney Workman earned the second top twenty finish of the day with an 18th place finish in 22:02. State qualifier Vivian Ruiz of Washington just missed a top 20 finish, taking 21st with a time of 22:10.
Kaitlyn Workman surges at the start
Workman finishes 6th
Virginia used a steady series of strong performances from their athletes to capture the girl’s Potomac Cup title, scoring 89 points to Maryland’s 121. Virginia was led by Bailey Kolonich who burst to the front of the field between the first and second mile to win by 20 seconds in 19:56. Second place Maryland was led by Charde Barnes who nipped fellow Marylander Abbey Daley as both girls posted identical times of 20:16. West Virginia did not have the 10 runners entered necessary to post a team score.
In other races, Andrea Petit of Morgantown posted the best West Virginia finish of the day in the Girl’s Open race finishing fourth in 21:32. Joining Petit in the top 20 were Anya Wallace of Jefferson (12th; 22:33) and Rachelle Rigby (14th; 22:36). In the Boy’s Open race, Shane Rigsby of Musselman was the top West Virginia runner finishing 11th in 18:51.
Andrea Petit hits her stride
Shane Rigsby attacks the hill
Middle Schoolers also have a chance to compete at the Battle of the Potomac. Collin Hayes brought home the top West Virginia finish in the 2.5 K race with a 13th place finish in 10:55. Sydney Rigsby finished in 12:22, could for 8th place and the top girls Middle School finish.
Collin Hayes makes the pass
Sydney Rigsby crosses the finish
Overall it was a good day for West Virginia athletes at an excellent, well-run American Running Association competition. The day was only diminished by the comparative lack of West Virginia participation. Despite running outmanned in every race, and three weeks after the close of the West Virginia high school season, West Virginia represented itself very well. And as the individual finishes show, West Virginia has strong cross-country programs, tradition and culture. Perhaps next year, more of West Virginia’s elite runners will take the opportunity to compete. Given deep and talented West Virginia participation, bringing home the Battle of the Potomac team titles against the best of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia is not out of the question and would bring West Virginia high school cross country significant notice at the mid-Atlantic and national level.