Stellar seasons conclude for IWA cross country, volleyball

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

By James J. Lidington

Isle of Wight Academy

Isle of Wight Academy’s girls cross country team finished second Thursday, Nov. 11, in a crowded field in the state private school meet at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville.

The IWA team finished second to Richmond-based Veritas School, which was propelled to its third state championship by fourth-place overall individual finisher Reagan Gilman.

IWA finished 34 points behind Veritas, which had five runners in the top 25. IWA had three runners in the top 25 and was led by junior Hannah Edwards, who finished seventh with a time of 20:04.

“The work that Hannah has put in this season and leading up to states is incredible and commendable,” IWA Head Coach Margarita Castillo said.

Edwards’ ultimate goal is to break the school record of 20:02 set by IWA alumna Kaelyn Hooker, a likelihood given her current personal record of 20:04.

“Running about 50 miles a week, a good diet, plenty of sleep, good stretching and learning to listen to her body have all been reasons for her success,” Castillo said.

Girls Division II race winner Maddie Gardiner, of The Covenant School, ran a sizzling time of 17:32. She finished more than a minute in front of her teammate, second-place finisher Reese Dalton.

IWA’s second-place team finish surprised many, Castillo said. In the walk-up to the state meet, analyses of race times from the season predicted a 10th-place finish. The school finished fourth two years ago.

“We had a lot of open mouths when they called our name,” the coach said. “We put our school on the map.”

The IWA boys team finished 26th, led by junior Pierce Cutler’s 18:48.

The IWA girls volleyball team lost what is believed to be its first-ever state playoff game, 3-0, to The Covenant School on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

The Lady Chargers battled through a 25-14 first set, which would turn out to be the closest of the night. Covenant claimed the decisive games, 25-11 and 25-10.

IWA finished the 2021 season with a 14-5 record and bid farewell to seniors Christa Ritter, Lily Jones, Andrea Savage and Anne Jackson.

“This season we had a good balance of talented athletes,” IWA Girls Volleyball Head Coach Jessica Brock said. “They worked hard and meshed together well. Our four seniors stepped up in big ways when we needed them. All four showed tremendous leadership, which is a big part of being successful.”

With the Lady Chargers lacking in tournament experience, Brock said Tuesday’s match represented a test of nerves for her team.

“As we talked after the game, I felt it was important they knew one bad night doesn’t define you as a player or a person,” she said. “They accomplished a lot this season as players and will accomplish even more as people in the future.”