On Monday, Nov. 4, the Galileo Falcons cross country team hosted the VHSL Region 1B Championships at Anglers Park. With nine schools in attendance and some very strong individuals on both the boys and girls side, the Falcons prepared for their biggest test of the season and accomplished a school first along the way, a Region Championship sweep.
The girls’ race was the first race of the day and the Lady Falcons came in hungry. Galileo placed five runners in the top 12 to claim their second consecutive regional championship. Leading the way was junior standout Morgan Whitley who finished second overall behind former 1A State Champion Rachel Weghorst from Rappahannock County and ahead of bronze medalist Casey Allen of Altavista. Having lost to Casey on the same course eight days earlier by a margin of 38 seconds, Morgan’s time of 21:16 faired 26 seconds better than Allen Monday. “Morgan was absolutely terrific today” claimed Coach Bryant of Galileo. Following Whitley was senior captain Angel Lin who placed sixth overall in her final home race as a Falcon. Also claiming medals for the Falcons were Sydney Stone (8th), Christa Zakhary (9th), and freshman standout Camila Rodriguez (12th). This strong performance lead the Lady Falcons to the team title, beating out a strong Riverheads team by 18 points.
The boys were up next in a highly contested battle. Galileo and Riverheads would go back and forth throughout the race in their attempt to capture the team championship. The Galileo boys placed six runners in the top 15 overall to capture the regional championship that eluded them last season. This marks the second region crown in three years for the Falcon boys. Up front for Galileo was the dynamic duo of Cole Harbodin and senior Owen Wood, a recent Bridgewater College commit, who would place third and fourth overall respectively. Also placing in the top 15 to garner medals and help secure the region title were Jamison Mantooth (8th), Victor Cano-Barranco (11th), Dylan Kirk (12th), and senior captain Jackson Wiles (14th). The Falcons finished 11 points ahead of last year’s champion Riverheads who, a year ago, prevented Galileo from winning back to back boys titles.
Both the boys and girls will be competing in the VHSL 1A state cross country meet on Saturday, November 16 at Green Hill Park in Salem. Still currently ranked second in the state, the girls will look to continue their momentum and finish the season off strong, hopefully bringing a top two finish back to Danville. The boys team are big underdogs going into the state meet and are projected to finish fourth overall. When asked about state championship preparations, Coach Bryant states “the pressure is not on us to win, the pressure is on the other teams to stave us off. But, truthfully, at this point in the season there is no work left to be done, we just have to run the race the way we have prepared all season and hope that the other teams fall back to us.”