CHESAPEAKE — Franklin County, the reigning Blue Ridge District champion in boys and girls cross country, has qualified three runners for this weekend’s Class 6 state meet based on their finishes in the Region A meet Saturday at Bells Mill Park.
Freshman Nathan Atchue, the Blue Ridge District’s individual boys championship, finished second in his first regional event by covering a 3.1-mile course in a school-record time of 16:03.49.
Atchue’s mark breaks the standard held by former standout distance runner David Angell, who later starred at NCAA Division III Roanoke College.
This marks the second straight year that an FCHS boys runner has qualified for the Class 6 state meet.
Also for the Eagles, Clayton Stanford (17:36.47) was 25th in a 74-runner field, while Parker Chapman (17:47.26) was 28th, Logan Cadou (18:00.42) was 37th, Andrew Riddle (18:17.40) was 47th, David Carter (18:25.99) was 50th, Drew McElvain (18:57.62) was 62nd.
FCHS finished sixth in an 11-team field with 139 points. Of its seven runners, only Stanford is a senior.
Ocean Lakes won the team title with 65 points, followed by Cosby (74) and Floyd Kellam (89), all of which earned team berths in the state meet.
Placing fourth was James River-Midlothian (105), Grassfield (118), FCHS, Landstown (186), Western Branch (186), Oscar Smith (245), Tallwood (245) and Thomas Dale (287).
Wesley Bond, a senior from Landstown, won the race in 15:59.51.
Atchue was one of two freshmen in the top 10. There were 14 freshmen in the field.
Seventy-three of the 74 runners broke the 20-minute mark.
Sophomore Kylie Cooper, the reigning Blue Ridge District individual champion, and sophomore Addie Shorter, the league’s 2019 runner-up, placed third and fourth in the girls’ 5K to earn state meet bids.
Both were freshmen on last year’s squad that qualified as a team from Region B.
Cooper, who finished 12th in last year’s Class 6 meet and who won the state championship in the 1,600-meter run in outdoor track and field, covered the course in 19:06.30. Shorter cross the finish line in 19:23.39.
The top three finishing teams claimed state berths. FCHS finished fourth with 109 points.
Floyd Kellam won the region championship by two points over Ocean Lakes, 52-54 and Cosby was third with 75.
Placing fifth in the nine-team field were James River-Midlothian (119), Western Branch (130), Grassfield (185), Landstown (216) and Tallwood (265).
Sophomores captured three of the top four places as Aniya Mosley, a 10th grader from Ocean Lakes, won the individual championship in 18:16.47.
The top 15 runners in a 64-runner field all broke the 20 minute mark.
Also for FCHS, Harper Dillon (21:27.91) was 29th, Caroline Horne (21:48.78) was 34th, Emily Burgess (22:46.64) was 45th, Natalie Davis (23:43.65) was 52nd and Isabello Noto (24:17.53) was 56th.
Of FCHS’s seven runners, only Burgess, is a senior. Besides Cooper and Shorter, Horne is a sophomore and Dillon is a junior while Davis and Noto are freshmen.