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Comets have strong showing at cross country region meet

SoVaNow.com / April 15, 2021


The Halifax County High School cross country team had six runners compete at the Region 4D championships but in the end were unable to advance anyone to the region finals.

Coach David Riddle said it was an excellent effort from the boys and girls teams.

Running for the boys Drew Salley was less than 30 seconds away from advancing in competition. Riddle said for Salley this would be back-to-back seasons where he just came up a little short.

Salley placed 19th with a time of 18:13. The competition at the tournament ran deep. Jefferson Forest’s Timothy Krone was first with a time of 16:53.

“For the second straight year, Drew Salley came as close as we have had anyone in a good while at making it to regionals,” Riddle said. Last year, he was less than 30 seconds away, and this year was the same.

“The region pretty much returned most of the top guys from last year, so the competition was tight once again. Still, he had a solid race and gave it as all, capping off one of the best careers that we have had on the guys side.”

The balance of the Comet boy’s times were Will van Opstal (36th) 20:10; Ethan Kirkhart (38th) 20:39; JT Francis (44th) 21:56; Trevor Riddle (47th) 24:38; Luke Redd (49th) 27:58.

“The entire group had a solid run and came within a few points of getting past Amherst for sixth.”

Riddle noted that the team knew the course and runners would present a challenge on the day. Forest and Blacksburg each have reputable cross country programs.

“We knew this was going to be the toughest course and the toughest competition that we had seen all year, and it proved to be the case,” Riddle said. “Blacksburg and Jefferson Forest are constantly among the best programs around, and many of the other schools have solid runners at the top as well.

The girls team also had six runners on the course. Lydia Wenzel in 31st place with a time of 27:58 paced the Comets. Zoie Lamanna of Jefferson Forest won with a time of 19:43.

Morgan Crenshaw (33rd) 29:35; Mallory Salley (34th) 30:29; Jenna Hall (35th) 31:12; Ashley Irby (36th) 31:25, and Susanna Watts in 37th posting a time of 35:52 rounded out the Comet’s times.

“On the ladies side we also fought hard, but just ended up being bit by many of the nagging injuries that we have seen all year,” Riddle said. “Still, with most of our core group returning next year we will use our offseason to work on getting them up to their potential.”

Riddle said with all the kids had to deal with this year in light of COVID-19, he was extremely proud of the way his team performed.

“Coach Palmore and I can’t say enough for what this group went through to make this season happen. They followed the COVID protocol above and beyond what we expected,” Riddle said. “They did their daily wellness checks online often without even being reminded, dealt with all the temperature checks, kept their distance and space as needed, and wore the masks whenever they were not running and never complained one bit.

“I would go as far as to say that they did better than most young people and most adults that I have observed during the pandemic. We can’t say enough about their dedication to making sure that they got back to doing this sport that we all love and making sure that the season took place.”

Boys:

1. Blacksburg 292.

2. Jefferson Forest 34

3. Pulaski 66

4. EC Glass 113

5. Salem 155

6. Amherst 179

7. Halifax 182

GW - No Score

Girls:

1. Blacksburg 22

2. JF 40

3. Salem 72

4. HC 120

GW, Glass, Amherst, Pulaski - No Score





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