Prince William News
Wed., Nov. 14 - Last Saturday in The Plains at Great Meadows, the Bobcats broke the top 10 for both the boys and girls in the Group AAA state finals.
BHS boys bring back bronze
© Gainesville TimesThough the 2010 varsity football team is the only collective group from Battlefield ever to bring back a team championship from states, several other sports programs are renown in Haymarket for at least making it to the finals and excelling there.
Baseball, softball, golf, gymnastics, soccer, lacrosse and cheerleading teams have all made it to the finals along with individuals and teams from swimming, track and cross country groups.
When it comes to the future of Battlefield sports though, it may be time to consider the cross country program as a potential contender for gold.
Last Saturday in The Plains at Great Meadows, the Bobcats broke the top 10 for both the boys and girls in the Group AAA state finals.
For the first time in program history, the boys team made it on to the podium, earning third place behind champion Chantilly (57 points) and second-place Midlothian (72 points).
Meanwhile, the girls finished seventh overall while the team's top runner, senior Nicole Carter, closed out her storied career with her first all-state finish.
She ended up in 13th place among all runners and 11th for those on teams as she crossed the finish line in 18:33.
"I definitely did try to stay with the pack," said Carter, who overcame a twisted ankle from earlier in the week to make the stage. "The last 800 (meters), I was so worried someone would pass me."
Earlier during the Group AA finals, the Brentsville boys came in fifth place.
While defeating 11 other teams is impressive in itself, the Region II champions were not thrilled as they sat near their folded up tent afterward, clearly disappointed from the showing.
What else can you expect from a boys program that produced six state title winners from 1998 to 2007?
(The Brentsville girls have eight state titles but failed to qualify this year.)
Seniors Ben Lemons (16:24) and Kyle King (16:27) finished one after the other for 11th and 12th among team runners but missed out on all-state finishes due to a handful of individual competitors finishing ahead of them.
"I threw everything at it today," said Lemons about trying to keep up with the leaders.
As seniors, "We were really motivated to get up there and place," added King.
He trailed Lemons for most of the race but caught up during the final stretch.
"I knew I should be up there with him," he said.
Juniors Richard Knab (42nd; 17:08) and Corey Tooke (46th; 17:15) ended up only seven seconds apart and freshman Robert Theimer (61st; 17:27) checked in as the Tigers' No. 5 runner.
Meanwhile, senior Mike Blair (71st; 17:46), who started the year as the Tigers' pace setter but fell back after injury, and junior Daniel Broemmel (75th; 17:47) crossed the finish line one second apart as Brentsville's final two.
"Realistically, I would have expected to have been second today," said head coach Darrell Earman. "I thought Ben and Kyle ran about what I expected."
Like he said about the girls team at regions, Earman explained that the team "had a very average race but you can't come to this level and be average."
If there is any silver lining for the Tigers, it's that none of the boys raced at states before and four of them are set to return to the team next year.
"We're going to go back to work," said Earman. "Our goal next year is to get on the podium."
Also on Nov. 10 in Fauquier County, Patriot took its first-ever team to states as the boys ended up 14th out of 16 teams competing in the Group AAA finals.
Junior Nick Bussian (32nd; 16:28) led the way for the Pioneer group that also featured sophomores Ryan Small (50th; 16:45), Joshua Small (53rd; 16:47), Andrew Derstine (85th; 17:23), Brendan Lavell and Alex Hellios (102nd; 17:55) along with senior Chris LaFayelle (93rd; 17:39).
Considering that Patriot qualified for states in only its second year in existence, it's reasonable to infer that the team with five sophomores and a junior could be legitimate contenders locally against Battlefield next year.
Meanwhile, Battlefield (128 points) did not place a single runner in the top 10 for the boys. In fact, none of them even qualified for all-state recognition.
What carried the Bobcats to the bronze turned out to be the strength of its depth chart, as the Bobcats have demonstrated throughout the season.
Only 37 seconds separated the team's best runner, senior Luke Mazzu, from its No. 5, senior Cameron Henken.
Mazzu (16:03) earned 12th place among those competing on teams and came in 20th overall.
Junior Haben Zemichael (17th; 16:12) checked in nine seconds later and was followed by senior Conner Lee (24th; 16:18), junior Ryan Miller (29th; 16:23), Henken (46th; 16:40), junior Aaron Hill (51st; 16:45) and senior Brandon Lee (92nd; 17:34).
For Zemichael, simply competing at states with a dry set of clothes turned out to be a challenge this past week.
He reported that his basement flooded, soaking just about everything he could wear.
However, he did not let that stop his training as the resourceful junior slid into spandex and hit the treadmill running instead of hitting the pavement outside.
"It's going to help grow our program," said coach Jeff Michaelis of the boys' third-place finish. "Hopefully, we'll get more interest."
While Carter out-legged most of her teammates by a full minute or two during the girls race, freshman Georgia Matthews solidified herself as the face of the Battlefield teams to come.
Matthews will have a shot at replicating Carter's feat of competing at states four years in a row after coming in 24th overall at 19:26, just 53 seconds behind her senior teammate.
Sophomore Rebecca Howe (42nd; 19:59) also had a strong showing alone with junior Emma Thornberg (45th; 20:01), ending up only two seconds apart on opposite sides of the 20:00 mark.
Freshman Kyla Carte (54th; 20:18) rounded out Battlefield's top five while senior Sarai Arbus (72nd; 20:38) and Hannah Schwennesen (91st; 21:17) completed the seven-member competition roster.
"We have a solid program to build for next year," said Michaelis, later adding, "Now they'll start to see we're not just going out for a jog."