Oaks Third at Invitational
Natalie Batzel made the most of Senior Night on Thursday at Virginia Beach’s Mount Trashmore, finishing fourth overall in the girls varsity race at the Norfolk Collegiate School Invitational.
Collegiate finished third in both team races, the boys and girls each finishing with identical scores of 66 points to wind up behind Walsingham and Bishop Sullivan respectively.
Natalie ran a season-best 21:46 to set the pace for the Oaks, who had three runners in the top 15 including Claudia King (22:55), who finished 11th, and Maddie Foster (23:15), who took 15th.
Claudia and Maddie both set personal records, as did Cameron Brown (17th, 23:20) and Sarah Smalletts (21st, 23:37).
“Natalie was awesome,” said Coach James Hitch. “And our next four ran together most of the way. They worked together and had a strong finish. It was great to see.”
On the boys side, Chandler Branton led the way for a third straight meet, knocking nearly a minute off his previous best as he finished ninth in a time of 19:21.
Frankie White (20:17:57) followed in 14th place, edging teammate Thomas Batzel by two one-hundredths of a second, or about half as long as the blink of an eye.
Harrison Fuller (22, 21:05) ran a season-best, while Matt Unrein (24:22) ran a PR as he finished 27th.
“Like the girls, the guys had a lot of personal bests,” Coach Hitch said. “And this is not an easy course, there’s some tough hills, so I’m very proud of everyone. They showed really showed a lot of heart.”
In junior varsity competition, Chas LeHew (22:41) ran his best time of the season en route to a ninth-place finish and teammate Parker Gross set a PR as he wound up 25th. For the girls, Gina Leanzo ran her best ever as she finished sixth in 26:15.
“The JV did great, “ Coach Hitch said. “They’re really coming along. The hard work is paying off for everyone.”
For more pictures, go to Oaks Cross Country.