After winning state championship titles at the Virginia High School League’s indoor track championships in March, the Galileo Magnet High School cross country teams now have stamped their ticket to the state championships.
At the Region 1B championships Tuesday night at Angler’s Park, Galileo swept both the boys and girls title races for the second year in a row. The win marks Galileo girls’ third consecutive year capturing the regional title. For the boys, it was their second consecutive win and third regional title in the past four years.
The Lady Falcons took to the course first — and in typical Galileo fashion — the team attacked the course as a pack.
Leading the way was King University commit Morgan Whitley, who finished second overall with a time of 20 minutes, 53 seconds. Galileo went on to claim seven of the top 11 spots in the final standings.
Medalists for Galileo include Whitley, Christa Zakary (fourth), Carol-Anne Garrett (sixth), Caroline Woods (seventh), Sydney Stone (eighth), Rowan Kirk (10th) and Natalie Owen (11th).
The Lady Falcons will arrive at the state championship with aspirations of winning the title that eluded them a year ago. To win this year, Galileo must beat George Wythe. Also expected to be in contention will be Auburn and Parry McCluer.
The second race Tuesday featured the Falcon boys. While this year’s team looked different from the Galileo roster at last year’s region championship, the end result was the same: another region championship title. Galileo placed five boys in the top 10 and all seven boys in the top 15.
Sophomore standout Jackson Herndon led the Falcons for the first time with a finishing time of 17:52 that placed fourth overall. Joining Herndon on the medal stand was Dylan Kirk (fifth), Alex Gomez (sixth), Walter Thompson (seventh), Jamison Mantooth (ninth), Cole Harbodin (11th) and Dillon Jones (14th). The boys also are in contention to win the state championship.
The Falcons will be chasing the heavily favored Parry McCluer, of Buena Vista, for the win. Parry McCluer is the defending champion.
“I like our chances next week,” Galileo coach Mark Bryant said. “We have a strong group of boys and girls who have worked hard and will certainly give every ounce of effort for their team. I can’t ask for more than that.”
The state championship races are set for April 23 at Green Hill Park in Salem. The girls race is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and the boys will start at 3 p.m. Each athlete will be given two admission tickets and the remainder of the 500 tickets will be sold as general admission.