The Mathews High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams both concluded their season with fourth-place finishes in the VHSL Group 1A State Championship meet Saturday afternoon at Great Meadow, The Plains.
Justin Adams and Kate van Emmerik each earned All-State honors, placing in the top 15 individually.
The girls started off the day with strong races across the board. Six of the seven runners ran personal records. Van Emmerik led the girls’ team, fighting to place 14th overall with a time of 21:21.
Ellie Gale (21:40, 17th), Kelly Nelson (21:53, 22nd) and Kaitlyn Thompson (21:58, 24th) followed van Emmerik closely, each running personal records and doing everything they could do contribute to the team score. Emily Brown ran a season PR of 22:58 to place 38th individually. Kristen Fauber (23:48, 59th) and Maria Spadaccini (24:51, 78th) also had strong finishes for the girls.
While only seven varsity runners are allowed to compete in post-season races, runner Logan Howlett played an equally important part in the team’s success. Due to a stress fracture, Howlett was unable to compete for the majority of the season. However, she continued to come to every practice and race to cheer her teammates on and help them achieve greatness.
Every girl on this team left everything she had on the course Saturday, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the team a podium finish. Coach Drew Greve was pleased with their performance. “I was really proud of our girls today,” he said. “It wasn’t the result they were looking for, but they truly raced like champions, and it was a great team effort. That kind of effort will take them very far in life.”
Scoring 97 points, Mathews was edged out by Chilhowie (96) and Rappahannock County (91) for second and third place. Radford (54 points) won the meet.
The Mathews girls had the best time spread of the race, with just one minute and 27 seconds separating their first and fifth place finishers.
After going undefeated in the regular season, the boys’ squad had an equally impressive race on Saturday, but fell short of finishing on the podium. Adams led the boys with an outstanding time of 17:01, placing ninth overall and tying the Mathews High School record for Great Meadow, now shared with William James (1999).