Parker Jacobs ’17
“Whenever you decide to declare for something and go for it, you risk loss. And even worse than that, you risk real disappointment when you don’t manage to perform at your best. But if you can face that disappointment without making excuses or putting on rose-colored glasses, you will grow. In fact, that’s when all profound growth happens. Of course it would have been great fun to have that sports-movie ending Friday, but we had that the week before. Maybe we needed to go home with something a lot more valuable: a good dose of humility and reality. Sure it hurts, but we will be better after.” — Coach Hale
The Woodberry Tigers ended their season ranked second in the Prep League and rounded off a third place finish at the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) state finals. The Prep League Championship was held at St. Catherine’s in Richmond, Virginia and the VISAA meet took place at Fort Union Military Academy. Both meets were filled with excellent runners from schools all across Virginia, and these runners were determined to run their best, including Robert Singleton 16’ and James Carrington 17’.
The team trained all season for the Prep League and VISAA meets. On November 6th, they departed for Richmond to compete against FUMA, St. Christopher’s, and the incredibly talented Trinity Episcopal teams for the Prep League Championship title. Trinity was favored as the frontrunner and FUMA was also expected to come out strong. St. Christopher’s, Collegiate, and, finally, Woodberry rounded out what everyone believed would be the top-5 finishers. However, the Woodberry Tigers have been known to surprise the competition, and that’s exactly what they did.
Upon the crack of the gun, the Tigers took off. Robert Singleton took a strong hold on second place with James Carrington following close behind in sixth, and William Rich, Clay Tydings, and Parker Jacobs battling for thirteenth place. In 17:07.94, Robert Singleton finished the race and, thirty seconds later, James Carrington came in strong. Parker Jacobs, William Rich, and Clay Tydings followed closely behind; efforts which collectively earned The Tigers a second place finish in the Prep League. The team was ready for the VISAA Meet the following week.
For the past 46 years, the state championship, now hosted by VISAA, had been held at Woodberry Forest. This year marked a first when the meet was held on the course at Fork Union Military Academy. During the course’s tenure at Woodberry, the Tigers won 10 State Championships and were the runner-up countless times. The team has wanted to increase their number of State Titles so that they would be the school with the largest number of State wins in their division. After a week of rehab and getting ready for the race, the team departed for Fork Union. The Hardy Cross Country Course was full of dozens of schools from every part of Virginia. Around 2:30 PM the Boys Division I race began. Robert Singleton finished with a time of 17:05.42 and James Carrington finished close behind with a 17:05.69. Both ultimately achieved All-State accolades for their performances. The Tigers finished third in the State meet, fourteen points away from beating second place finisher FUMA. Even though the Tigers were unable to clinch first place, they learned that winning isn’t everything and learning from your losses can make you a better runner in the future – just as Coach Hale said.