By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
GRUNDY, Va. —
It’s one of the quietest, least publicized streaks in high school sports in southwest Virginia.
It’s also one of the longest.
Council claimed its 10th consecutive Black Diamond District cross country crown, winning the boys title Wednesday afternoon at Grundy’s Enoch’s Branch course.
The Haysi girls edged host Grundy, 27-31 to win their third BDD title in four years.
Haysi’s Maggie Edwards won the girls individual title while Council’s Lucas Barton won the boys crown.
Council has a fine tradition in cross country that includes Billy Jackson’s Group A state title in 1990. The Cobras aren’t always pushed in BDD competition, but, Barton said, they push themselves to at least make sure the streak doesn’t end on their watch.
“It means a lot to us to keep the streak going,” said Barton, whose time of 19-minutes-26 seconds on the hilly Enoch’s Branch course was more than a minute ahead of second-place Dylan Raines of Grundy, who finished with a time of 20:29.
“We put a lot of effort into what we do. We want to win. We want to be number one.”
Ty Mackey (20:49) placed fourth, Justin Mathis (22:01) fifth and Trevor Harris (22:37) followed him as Council took four of the top six spots. Twin Valley’s Blake Shelton, no relation to the country singer of the same name, ran third with a time of 20:43.
Maggie Edwards didn’t run her best time on the Grundy course, but she was fast enough to top Grundy’s Amy Grace Ratliff by 13 seconds, 25:08 to 25:21, and defeat last year’s champ, Haysi teammate Hannah Mondrage (25:26).
The duo, says Edwards, push one other wherever they run. They’re both successful in track, as well, and have often been 1-2 in leading the Tigers this fall.
“I started out a little slow today,” Edwards admitted. “Hannah and I push each other every time we run. Hannah plays volleyball, too, so she doesn’t get to practice as much as I do, or I think she would have won.”
Montana Robinette (6th), Valerie Edwards (7th) and Sydney Counts (10th) all finished in the top ten for Haysi, which wrestled the team title away from Grundy. The Golden Wave won the team title last year in its first year in the BDD.
“We just have a lot of good runners,” veteran Haysi coach Ronnie Compton said. “We have a lot of girls who enjoy running and you have to enjoy it if you’re going to run a three-mile race.”
Brooke Christian (4th), Shantel Stumbo (5th) and Kaitlyn Puckett (9th) had top ten finishes for Grundy. Leann Hunt placed eighth for Council.
The top two teams and top 15 individuals qualified for the Region D championships Oct. 31 in Wise at 1 p.m.