William Byrd junior Olivia Hurd ended her cross country season on a high note last Saturday with a 13th place finish in the VHSL state cross country meet at Green Hill Park in West Roanoke County. That’s good for All-State honors in Class 3.
“What a way to end the 2021 cross country season!” said Byrd coach Eric Royal. “ Having just the third girl achieve All-State under my time at Byrd. Olivia was super focused the last six weeks of the season and really asserted herself into the next level of runner. What a post season she had, All-BRD 3rd, All-Region 6th and All-State 13th
Hurd was third in the Blue Ridge District race, then took sixth in the region to earn a spot in the state field. Her time of 19:38.9 was four seconds better than her regional time and the best of her high school career.
“Olivia had a great race,” said Royal. “She was aware of her place and what it would take to stay there. After the race she told me, ‘I was uncomfortable the whole time,’ I just smiled at her. As a distance runner you need to be able to put the discomfort away and just focus on running fast.”
Hurd was the only Byrd runner in either the boys or girls race.
“ I was talking with coach (Brad, football) Lutz earlier in the week about the upcoming state meet, and I told him, ‘of course I would love to have a team going, however it is super cool to plan every workout specifically designed for making Olivia the best she can be for that day.”
Royal and Hurd went out to the course on Friday and discussed strategy.
“Olivia applied it almost perfectly,” said Royal. “She outran several runners who beat her in the region meet. From the very start of the race she was in the top 15 and did an incredible job fighting to stay there.”
Coming into the last 800m Olivia was closing in on the group in front of her, going into 13th place and closing in on 12th, finishing less than a second behind the 12th place runner, 19:38.1 t 19:38.9 for Hurd.
“After the race I was not sure if All-State was top 10 or 15,” said Royal. “Covid changed it last year. After confirming it was top 15, we all screamed a bit and hugs went around the group. I hope Olivia’s success will inspire others to #GETOUTANDRUN.”
The winning time in Class 3 girls race was 18:30.by Ava Bordner of Skyline High. Team champions were the Maggie Walker Governor’s School girls and the Abingdon boys.