Julia Wood, Rappahannock County’s ace cross country runner – who two weeks ago won the 1A Girls Cross Country State Meet – added another win to her impressive slate of victories Saturday morning when she captured the Freshman – Sophomore Girls Race at the 30th-annual Foot Locker Cross Country South Region Championship at Charlotte’s McAlpine Park.
Wood, a freshman, won the event with a time of 18:23 over the relatively flat North Carolina 5-K course, besting 76 other girls from 13 southeastern states ranging from Virginia and West Virginia westward to Texas.
Culpeper’s Aaliyah Cyrus and Kellie Hyde also ran in the freshman-sophomore race. Cyrus, a sophomore at Culpeper County High School, bested her teammate with a time of 20:12 (42nd overall among freshmen) which is a personal best and 34 seconds faster than her 3A state meet time. Hyde ran a 20:26, which put the sophomore 26th among 10th graders.
“All three girls did well in the race,” former Culpeper assistant cross country coach Devin Cornwall said. “It was a good turnout from our area.”
Other local high school runners in the races included Liberty High School’s Taylor Brown, who finished 34th in the junior race with a time of 19:54.
A father and twin 12-year-old daughters from Warrenton also made the trek to Charlotte, running “just for the competition and to see if it was another sport the girls wanted to pursue,” Troy Holland said.
Troy, running in the Mens’ Masters finished 10th (out of 73 runners) with a time of 17:46 while Kira finished in 39th place (13:09) and Hannah, 20 seconds slower for a 51st-place finish. A total of 71 girls ran in the 11-12 aged race which was on a shorter 3-K course.
Cornwall added that he noticed how represented Virginia was at the event and how well state runners did.
“There were almost 400 runners from the state and we had several others besides Julia to win races,” Cornwall said. “They have state teams in the seeded races and Virginia won that too.”