Western Albemarle competed in two meets over the weekend of January 14th-15th, ready to smash personal records. The Virginia Showcase and The Walter Bass Invitational were both competitive meets where Western was able to fight to the finish for fantastic times and PRs.
This competitive meet was one of the biggest in the nation, hosting over 2000 runners. At this meet, high school times of Olympians were smashed, records were broken, and many WAHS distance girls got the chance to compete against the best in the country. For most of these Western distance runners, it was the first race back since Nike Regionals in November, so they were settling back into racing. Jenna Stutzman ran her first races since October when she was sidelined due to an injury. She ran a 5:23 in the Invitational Mile, a fantastic first race back, and then followed it with an even better 1000 (3:05).
Hailey Hodson ran an all-time PR in the 1600, running a blazing 5:36. She ran confident and strong, and her 1000 the next day was even more successful. She came in 2nd in her very competitive heat with a 7 second PR (3:14). Grace Cook and Lily Smith also ran all-time 1600 PRs (5:32 and 5:48, respectively), both great times, especially for underclassmen. Lily and Grace competed the next day as well, running excellent races. Lily won her heat in her first 1000 ever, running an incredibly smart race in 3:24, and Grace ran a 3200 indoor PR of 11:52.
Eleanor Abell, a senior, ran the 3200 in a competitive heat, finishing at 12:40. She paced well and ran her best indoor time yet! Sadie Adams, a freshman, ran in both the 1600 and the 2-mile Invitationals. In the 2 Mile, she raced against some of the top distance runners in the country and hung on to run her best indoor time.
AJ Torrence traveled to VA Beach to race her first-ever 1000 (3:35). AJ’s hard work at practice is really paying off. AJ got PR after PR this past cross country season, and she’s paving the way for an even better track season! Sienna Collier, a junior, had strong performances in the 1000 and 500, earning PRs in both. Jordan Stone, who’s also a 500/1000 runner, had outstanding first races back. She struggled with anemia in cross country season but came back at The Showcase with strong performances. She continues to improve at every race and left this meet with qualifying regionals time in both of her events.
Photo credit: Cherie Witt
Walter Bass Invitational
The VA Showcase wasn’t the only competitive meet this weekend. Teams from all over the state traveled to Liberty University for one of the most competitive meets of the season.
In addition to coming in first in the pole vault, Henry Sullivan came in 2nd place in the 55-meter hurdles this weekend. He ran an incredible 7.64, just .02 seconds off the top hurdler in his event from South Lakes. This places Sullivan 10th in the state, tied with a runner from Highland Springs. Just a second behind Sullivan, Bridger Clarke (8.71) got his indoor PR in this event as well. For the girls 55-meter, Caroline Pearson ran a 11.37, her all-time best.
The boys’ 4×400 out-paced their steep competition and pushed to first. They came in with an impressive 3:31, roughly 52 seconds per 400. The 500 runners had a great showing as well, with Matthew Burch running a 1:08.94. This placed him 2nd overall. His teammates, Ben Nitzsche (1:09.54) and Rutger Pittman (1:10.22) were just behind him. Ollie Sauerwein also ran a phenomenal race, coming in at a blazing 1:36. Caroline Wildermuth followed 5 seconds behind her.
Freshman Raina Fitzwater had a strong performance in Pole Vault, placing 2nd overall. Raina, Elizabeth Strobach, and Cierra Halloran all vaulted to State qualifying times. Freshman Charlie Strobach placed 5th for boys in Pole Vault.
In addition to the sprint and field events having a great showing, the distance events were just as successful. Nate Sullivan ran his indoor PR in the 3200, placing 10th overall. He ran a 10:09, leading the way for his teammates. Jake Greenstein ran an amazing 3200 as well, getting a 3 second all-time PR. That’s a fantastic accomplishment on an indoor track, with double the turns as an outdoor track. He also got a 26 second indoor PR. Owen Shifflett, one of the top cross country runners in the state (and first at Nike Cross Regionals), came in 4th at 4:29 for the 1600. In the girls’ 1600, Helen Moak ran an outstanding 1600 time of 6:03, with this being her first time competing in a mile track event. Amelia Sims ran a 6:33, followed by Mabelli Sumner (6:46), an amazing seven-second PR.
Jonathan Kumer, a senior middle-distance runner, ran a 2:35 in the 1000, placing him 2nd place out of 119 runners. Owen followed behind with a 2:43 finish. Chris Carter, a freshman, finished out the trio with a fantastic 2:58.
Great job WAHS Warriors!