Midlo XC Races at States

2018 State Cross Country Meet

Photo by: David Benjamin
The Midlo XC Boys enjoy the glory of becoming State Runners-Up at the VHSL State Championship Race.

On November 10, 2018, Midlo’s Cross Country team competed in the VHSL Region 4A State Cross Country Championships at Great Meadows. This competition hosts the finest athletes in the state, and every competitor in attendance wants to win a state title. The meet challenged and pushed every athlete to their limits, forcing them to run up multiple hills, through two rivers, and across sinking mud pits while enduring the 31 degree weather. Despite the immeasurable pain the athletes experienced, everyone left with many exceptional memories that will last a lifetime.

As the freezing morning air began to lift, the boys’ race began, and the deeply bonded teammates, Max Etka, Ian Gray, Brian Tavenner, Will Gardner, Joey Maguire, Ben Scott, and Andrew Steenkamer, determined to execute a race that would make Coach Stan Morgan proud. As the race progressed, Etka ran in the leading pack, fighting to earn an all-state title. Close behind, Gray, Tavenner, and Gardner stuck together, using teamwork to push through the pain. Although every runner felt exhausted, the Midlo Varsity Boys pushed as hard as they could in hopes of finishing on the podium. As the finishing line approached, Etka gave it his all and finished in an extraordinary sixth place, making him an all-state athlete. This finish made history; Etka blocked the Loudoun Valley boys from scoring their second consecutive perfect score, and led his team to the podium. Close behind, Gray used his speedy skills to fend off two competitors, finishing in eighteenth place; next came Tavenner in twenty-fourth, Gardner in thirty-first, and Maguire in thirty-ninth. Completing the race in fiftieth place, Scott sprinted down the chute, and Steenkamer rounded out the formidable team with a fifty-third place finish. The collective efforts of all teammates led to Midlothian’s team finish in second place, earning the title of VHSL State Runners-Up. Etka, a senior, earned the title of all-state athlete, a great honor; he notes that it felt wonderful to “accomplish [his] goal of breaking up the Loudoun Valley boys,” and “amazing to be second to the best team in the nation (Loudoun Valley).”

At 10:30 am, the starting gun sounded, and the Midlo Varsity Girls began their twenty-minute endeavor. The team consisted of: Caroline Bowe, Katherine Krievs, Annabel Schepker, Olivia Morris, Chloe Martin, Nicole Quiram, and Lena Caffall. As the runners began the first mile, Schepker, Bowe, and Krievs stuck together, progressing rapidly through the packs of runners. Close behind, Martin and Morris pushed, finishing the first mile in a high position. The next 2.1 miles proved a test of strength, determination, and grit, for every step taken held importance. As the finishing line approached, Bowe used her speed to cross the line in twenty-third place, despite a comedic, yet tragic, challenge she endured; three minutes into the race, Bowe lost her shoe in the mud, requiring her to run the remainder of the race with one shoe. Close behind, both Krievs and Schepker gave their all in the last fifty meters, finishing in thirty-ninth and fortieth place. Morris followed in forty-sixth place, Martin in forty-eighth, and Quiram in fifty-first. Caffall finished in sixty-first place, finishing ahead of a competitor by mere seconds. Regarding the team competition, the collective efforts of all of the girls resulted in the team finishing in fourth place overall.

After the conclusion of the races, Midlothian athletes bid farewell to the Great Meadows SportsPlex, and every runner felt proud of their performance. After Thanksgiving, Midlo’s Cross Country team will travel to Cary, North Carolina to run in Nike Cross Regionals.