FCHS Cross Country Dashes to Regionals

Joseph Kratz, Managing Editor

One time-honored tradition across the country that comes with the end of summer, and the dropping of the mercury, is high school cross country.
Throughout the United States there is a deeply invested culture that revolves around fall’s cross country season. This ranges from young boys and girls racing short 2-kilometer or 3-kilometer races with their friends. To the NCAA cross country season where the men race 8-kilometer races, culminating in a 10-kilometer championship race. While the collegiate women race 6 kilometers through the season, with their championship races being 8 kilometers long.
But the culture does not end with the NCAA. Across the globe there are professional and amateur cross country races sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the global track and field governing body, and USA Track & Field (USATF), the United States’ track governing body.
Cross country runs deep at Falls Church as well. While Falls Church has never won a state or regional title with the cross country team, this season’s team took their first steps towards making that a reality. On October 26, 2017, the boys’ team placed fourth in the Conference 13 Cross Country Championship. This performance guaranteed them a spot in the regional championship, as they were one of the top three 5A schools in the race, as both George Marshall High School and J.E.B. Stuart High School are both VHSL 6A schools.
For those unaware of how cross country races are scored, each school is scored as a team. This works by scoring the top 5 (out of 7) runners from each schools and adding their placements together. This might work as follows: School A’s top 5 runners come in first, fourth, eighteenth, twentieth, and thirty-first. Their aggregate score would be 74. So after all the teams’ scores are compiled, the team with the lowest score wins.
In order to put the team on the track to regionals, Falls Church XC put three boys in the top 15. Leading the boys’ team to regionals was Dylan Major (10) who came in fifth place, followed by Noah Gardner (10) in tenth, with our top three being rounded out by phenom freshman Joel DeWolfe (9).
Although the girls’ team missed the last regional qualifying spot by one point, they are sending two individuals, other phenom freshman Lauren Gagermeier (9) in fifth place, as well as her sister Abby Gagermeier (11) in ninth.
With such a well-rounded team made up of mostly underclassmen, the future remains bright for the Falls Church Cross Country team, as well as the track program, well into the future.

FCHS cross country is working towards its goal of capturing its first state or regional title.
(Photo by Constance Tucholski)