Crytser Runner-Up Finish Leads Hawks’ Effort At XC States
By Andrew Stoddard; Photos by Tim Crytser
On Saturday, April 24, the Hanover girls’ cross country team and individual qualifying boy Ethan Coleman went toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the state on a challenging course at the Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg for the VHSL Class 4 State Cross Country Championships.
The girls’ race went first at 10 AM that morning, a change from the originally scheduled time of 1 PM due to inclement weather forecasted for later in the day. Sophomore Alli Crytser went into the championship race as one of the top runners in Class 4, with an opportunity to win the state title. She did not disappoint, finishing in the runner-up spot with a time of 18:55 for 5K on the undulating hills of Oatlands. She was only six seconds behind state champion Ava Gordon of Loudoun Valley High School, who successfully defended her XC title from the fall of 2019.
As a team, the girls finished seventh overall in Class 4, a classification that is arguably the toughest in Virginia for girls’ cross country. Freshman Hannah Clarke rounded out a strong first cross country season with a 39th place finish (22:10). Filling out the seven-runner roster for the Hawks were Erika Osborn (57th/24:12), Lizzy Tierney (60th/24:28), Meredith Soiland (64th/25:58), Nicole Smith (65th/26:09), and Monica Arechiga (66th/26:25). Five of the seven girls were running in their first state cross country meet, with Crytser and Osborn being the only returners. Furthermore, all seven runners are underclassmen, so there is a lot to look forward to next year for the girls’ team.
In the boys’ race, Ethan Coleman acquitted himself well as an individual qualifier, getting as high as 18th place before ultimately settling for a 29th place finish and a 5K time of 17:32. This was Coleman’s second straight appearance in the state cross country meet, improving significantly from his 47th place finish in the fall of 2019.
The Loudoun Valley girls and Jefferson Forest boys claimed the Class 4 team titles, while Loudoun Valley senior Matthew Smith emerged as the individual champion in the boys’ race (16:22).
Hanover now moves on to the outdoor track season, with the first meet scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 8 at 3 PM. Congratulations to the cross country team on a great season!