William Byrd junior Olivia Hurd has qualified to run in the state Class 3 cross country meet at Green Hill Park this Saturday. Olivia is scheduled to run at 11:45 am in the Class 3 girls’ race.
Green Hill will host girls and boys races in Class 1,2 and 3 in west Roanoke County. The Class 1 girls open the day at 10:30 am, followed by the Class 1 boys at 11:15 am. The Class 3 girls, with Hurd, go at 11:45 am and the Class 3 boys will follow at 12:30 pm. The Class 2 girls run at 1 pm and the Class 2 boys finish up the day at 1:45 pm. The Class 4,5 and 6 state races are all at the Great Meadow course near Warrenton.
Hurd qualified for the state with a sixth place finish in the Region 3D meet at Sugar Hollow Park in Bristol last week. The top three teams advanced as well as five individuals not on those teams. Abingdon won the team title, followed by Christiansburg and Lord Botetourt. Hurd was the third finisher not on one of those teams.
Makaleigh Jessee of Abingdon was the individual champion in the girls’ race, running a time of 18:16.2. Hurd’s time was 19:42.5, the best of her high school career to date.
This was the second time in the past three years that Sugar Hollow has hosted the meet, so many of the runners who were freshmen or sophomores two years ago were familiar with the terrain, including Hurd. She was in the top five for most of the race, falling to sixth just past the two and a half mile mark.
“Olivia was a determined runner and she stayed committed throughout the race,” said Byrd coach Eric Royal. “As I ran around spot to spot cheering the girls on and whistling for them, Olivia continued to respond to the competition, meeting the challenges not only from them but the ones with herself.”
Olivia’s time was the third best among girls who have run for Byrd under Royal, behind only Eric’s daughter Alisha and Darby McPhail.
“I couldn’t be prouder of her,” said Royal. “She has earned another state rock and I look forward to her running at Green Hill Park.”
Maci Glass was next across the line for Byrd, also setting a personal record with an 18th place finish at 21:08. Maci missed All-Region acclaim by three spots.
Claire Glover was 22nd with a personal best of 21:39 while Emma Gordon, in 42nd, and Rebecca Qui, in 49th, completed the Byrd scoring. Gracie Mick and Riley Roth also ran for Byrd and both set personal best times as the girls finished seventh as a team.
In the boys’ Region 3D race freshman DeShawn Austin ran the best race of his young career with a personal best time of 17:43 for 19th place. Isaac Thiessen of Abingdon was the winner with a time of 15:26.
Austin’s time was over a minute and 20 seconds better than his previous best despite running most of the race with one spike, losing his left shoe early in the race.
“DeShawn has continued to get faster as the season has gone along, and running 17:43 puts him into the top 20 all-time for my runners,” said Royal. “ He has really been a great addition to the boys’ team.”
Stephen Underwood was the next Terrier across the line with a 58th place finish in 20:04, which was a personal best for the freshman. Brayden McCulloch was 63rd, Reagan Lilley was 67th and Dakota Bell rounded out the scoring in 68th. Bodie Gonzalez and Matan Morse also ran for Byrd and both had personal best times.
The Terriers finished 10th as a team with Abingdon also winning the boys’ team title. Christiansburg and Lord Botetourt were second and third and also will run as a team in the state meet at Green Hill Saturay.