River senior Noel Preece (left) chases down a Maggie Walker
runner in Saturday’s state cross country meet.

James River’s Will Miller won the state Class 2 cross country championship for the second year in a row when he smoked the field on the Great Meadows course last Saturday.

State meets for all six Virginia High School League classifications were held on Friday and Saturday at the horse farm in The Plains, and both James River and Lord Botetourt were represented.

Miller ran a time of 15:40 to win the race by 22 seconds over Oliver Wilson-Cook of Robert E. Lee of Staunton High. Will’s time was the fourth fastest out of all the runners in all six classifications. It was the second year in a row Miller won the state championship in his age group. He improved his time on the Great Meadows course by 31 seconds after last year’s winning time of 16:11.

James River was fourth as a team. Maggie Walker won the team championship with 61 points, followed by Wilson Memorial at 80, Central of Woodstock at 85 and James River with 100 points even.

After Miller, River’s next best time was 17:21 by Noel Preece, who finished 17th among 103 runners in the race. Next was Dalton Simmons in 29th at 17:38, and also scoring were Camden Powell in 35th at 17:47 and Zach Hodges in 39th at 17:52. William Fowler was 48th at 18:04 and Cole Miller was 53rd in 18:11.

James River’s boys cross country team finished fourth in the state meet Saturday. From left,
front, are Camden Powell, Cole Miller, William Fowler, Dalton Simmons, Logan Bingeman, Zach
Hodges, Will Miller and Noel Preece; back, coaches Bill Divers and Butch Lewis.

“I was hoping we could be second, but fourth in the state isn’t bad,” said coach Butch Lewis.

The Knights will lose four runners from this team, Fowler, Simmons, Hodges and Preece, who sat out much of the season with an injury but came on strong at the end.

“We’ll miss those four, especially Noel,” said Lewis. “He worked very hard to get to where he was at the end of the season. We’ll lose some good runners but we’ll be okay.”

Lord Botetourt had three runners in the Class 3 race on Saturday, two girls and a boy. In the boys race Connor Hayes finished 62nd among 103 runners with a time of 17:57. The winning time was 15:41 by Karl Thiessen of Abingdon High and the Western Albemarle boys won the state championship.

From left, Sofia Hernandez, Connor Hayes and Brooklyn
Hornback represented Lord Botetourt in the state meet.
Submitted photo

Western Albemarle also won the girls team championship and Parker Albright of Cave Spring won the individual crown with a time of 18:25. Lord Botetourt’s Sofia Hernandez was 51st among 100 girls with a time of 21:24 and LB’s Brooklyn Hornback was 70th at 22:27.

“We are very proud of what they accomplished running on a cold day Saturday,” said LB coach Robert Sullivan. “The two girls are ninth graders so this helps develop a solid foundation for next years girls cross country team. It was rewarding to see Connor get to run in the state meet his senior year. Great conclusion to his high school cross country career.”

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