The 37th annual Metro Cross Country Race will be held at Green Hill Park today, Sept. 29. The Lord Botetourt and James River boys and girls are entered in the event, which includes most of the schools in the Roanoke Valley.
The women’s varsity race will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the men’s varsity championship at 5:45 p.m. Each team can have up to seven runners with the top five in each race scoring for the team.
The first Metro race was held in 1974. Patrick Henry Coach Lloyd Woods thought a cross country race that featured the best in the Roanoke Valley area would be a good thing for distance-running athletes and for bringing attention to the little-known sport of cross country. The local cross country coaches met and agreed. Among them were Richard Browder of Andrew Lewis, Lynn Stewart of Northside, Richard Pitts of Glenvar, Sam Shackleford of Cave Spring and Henry Fulford of William Fleming. William Byrd did not have a cross country team at this time.
The first meet was held on the Patrick Henry High School course and Browder was meet director. Over the years the meet has been held at the Baptist Children’s Home in Salem, at Glenvar High School, Fallon Park, the Roanoke College Elizabeth Campus, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, and the current location since 2005, Green Hill Park in Roanoke County. Current meet directors are Tommy Maguire and Laurence Loesel of Cave Spring High School. This year the meet will have 23 schools participating.
Lord Botetourt won the Metro championship in 1995 and finished second in ’97. Individually, LB runners Robert Pauley won the race in 1994 and Will Wyche was the champion in ’97. Andrew Pauley was the runner-up in ’92 and Zeke Hunsberger took second in ’08.
The LB girls have never won an individual or team Metro title although Heather Chaffin finished second in 1994 to four-time champ Trish Nervo of Glenvar.
The Cavaliers were off last week as they prepared for the Metro. James River had a meet at Greenfield last week as the Knights played host to their fellow Pioneer District schools. The River boys and girls both finished third as a team.
Individually, Britta Grim of River won the girls race with a time of 23:30. Maggie Grumbine was third overall at 25:07.
Ethan Brannan, a first year runner, finished second overall for the boys with a time of 19:26. Dylan Coleman was eighth.
The Knights haven’t traditionally been in the Metro, but new coach Butch Lewis was instrumental in getting James River included.
“We run many of the same teams every week, and this will give us a look at some really good runners,” he said.