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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY

Galileo boys, girls advance to state after region championship win

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On Wednesday, the Galileo Magnet High School Falcons continued their winning ways in the 2021 Virginia High School League Group 1A Region B championships at Frazier Farms in Altavista.

This annual competition brings together skilled runners from all over the area to decide which three schools will advance to the state championship.

Ten member schools toed the line for the championship, but the outcome had a very familiar ending: another Galileo sweep of the boys and girls finals.

In the boys competition, Rappahannock County senior Luke Ellis claimed male runner of the year for the region by winning the race with his time of 16:45. Kristopher Schultz, an Altavista senior, placed second at 17:01.

Following closely behind in third-sixth place were the Falcons swooping in for a victory. Senior Cole Harbodin led the Falcon attack with 17:12 (third). Juniors Alexander Gomez-Hernandez (17:15) and Jackson Herndon (17:18) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Senior Jamison Mantooth came in sixth with 17:43, and fellow senior Dylan Kirk placed 12th with a 19:06 time. Other notable runners included Jack Lingle (19th) and Neil Shroff (20th).

The Galileo boys tallied five medals and finished in first place with 24 points. The victory marked the third straight region title and four of the past five years. Altavista Combined School came in second with 42 points and Buffalo Gap placed third with 88 points. All three schools will be advancing to the cross country state championship.

On the girls side, Galileo’s Carol-Anne Garrett became the first Lady Falcon to win the individual championship with her strong 20:55 outing. Garrett’s performance earned her the 2021 female runner of the year for the region. Senior Samaria Little, of Altavista Combined School, finished second with a time of 21:25.

After that, the Lady Falcons soared to the finish line.

Junior Camilla Rodriguez placed third with a 21:29 time, junior Rowan Kirk placed fifth with 21:40 and sophomore Ava Wray placed seventh with 22:18. Freshman Sophia Markowitz came to the finish line 12th with 24:11. Natalie Owen, in her first race since Sept. 4, rounded out the top 20.

Having graduated four of their top five runners from last year’s region championship team, many outside of the program anticipated Galileo to have a “down year” this season.

Instead, the young Lady Falcons spread their wings and soared their way to a fourth consecutive region crown. Galileo’s team score of 27 points out distanced Riverheads High School that placed second with 45 points, and Altavista Combined School that finished third with 77 points. Both Riverheads and Altavista will also advance to the state championship as well.

Galileo’s boys are currently ranked No. 1 in the VHSL 1A division ahead of the state championship Nov. 13 at Green Hill Park in Salem.

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