The high school cross country season shifts into high gear this weekend for City/County schools with the 27th annual Augusta County Invitational.
The meet, hosted by Wilson Memorial, takes place Saturday at the Wilson Workforce Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville. It features six races — two high school races, two middle school races and two developmental races — with a total of 26 school/club teams represented.
The meet starts with the boys and girls middle school races at 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., respectively. The boys high school race is at 10 a.m., followed by the girls race at 10:30, and the meet concludes with boys and girls developmental races at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Buffalo Gap, Fort Defiance, Robert E. Lee, Riverheads, Stuarts Draft, Waynesboro and Wilson Memorial will be joined in the high school races by Grace Christian, Stuart Hall and Fishburne Military School. Other schools competing include East Rockingham, Luray, Nelson County, Page County, Parry McCluer, Stonewall Jackson, Eastern Mennonite and Collegiate School of Richmond.
The Green Hornets last year held off Collegiate, the Little Giants and the Leemen for the boys team title. Those four should battle it out again Saturday.
Expect a tight race for individual honors. Defending champ Jacob Warner will get challenges from, among others, teammate Oliver Wilson-Cook, Wilson’s Vincent Leo and Kyle Bryant, Luray’s Derrick Wood, Waynesboro’s Stuart Vailes and Fort Defiance’s Fisher Wheeler.
The girls race should be a barnburner, too. Look for Wilson to battle it out with Robert E. Lee, East Rockingham, Collegiate and Fort Defiance.
Individually, Parry McCluer’s Sophie Dryden and Wilson’s Natalie Prye, who finished second and third, respectively, last year behind Waynesboro’s Grace Brooks, are back to go for the top spot. Expect them to get pushed by the Little Giants’ Addison Stevens, East Rock’s Kailee Franklin and Claire Koeppen, Lee’s Sophie Kozlowski, the Green Hornets’ Olivia Farley and Fort Defiance’s Brianna Allen.
Four middle schools will battle for team and individual medals. City/County schools Kate Collins and Shelburne will battle with Luray Middle School and North Fork Middle School of Quicksburg.
Also participating are four running clubs, which will have young runners competing in either the middle school or developmental races.
The clubs are: Middlebrook Road Runners of Staunton, Mountainside Running Club of Stuarts Draft, Northern Augusta Road Runners of Fort Defiance and Plumbum Pes Running Club of Quicksburg.