4A Girls Recap: Walstad Wins Title Again, Pace Dominates

The 4A girls race had alot of drama and excitement

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4A Girls State Meet Recap

For a race that was billed as Perennial State Champions vs Newcomers, we've got to hand it to the newcomers for breaking through their glass ceilings. Pace Academy came out strong and made a statement in this new 4A classification, placing 5 in the top 13 and showing North Hall, Westminster, and other competitors that they're a force to be reckoned with. And doing it without a single Senior? This classification is going to be a battleground for years to come.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Race recap first. Results after.

Hood, Walstad, and O'Bryant heading towards the mile. All photos by Alex Brust

From the gun, North Hall's Clodagh O'Bryant, Westminster's Palmer Walstad, and Pace's Caroline Hood decided to drop the rest of the field, turning the race for the individual competition into a three-girl conversation. Before they climbed Carrolton's central hill for the first time there was already a gap between them and their competitors, setting up our team battle with three clear front runners slugging it out for their respective teams. Behind them, the pack was less clear cut with Pace jerseys, Westminster jerseys, North Hall jerseys, and Starr's Mill all seemingly in position, with maybe a slight edge for Westminster and North Hall. The leaders took everybody through the mile mark in 5:53 and from there we started seeing the pack splinter open.

Bernal and miller head up Separation Slope

Coming up separation slope for the first time, Hood and Walstad put a little separation on O'Bryant while Starr's Mill and Pace both moved to the front of the main pack with their 2/3/4 runners finding some room to breathe before the second lap.

Walstad takes the win

Hood in runner up

O'Bryant takes a strong 3rd place

And again, keeping up with the story of the day, somewhere around the 2 mile mark, Caroline Hood from Pace decided to take her shot, opening up a sizeable gap in front of Walstad from Westminster. But unlike in other races where a big move at the 2 mile mark seemed to be the deciding factor for the rest of our individual races, in 4A Walstad was able to battle back, coming after Hood and overtaking her again right as they entered the final field.

Bernal at the finish

Blaha in 5th

Moore in 6th

Walstad's big attack up that final hill ended up earning her the title, but from the team battle's perspective, we saw PACE's 4 and 5 hold their ground in front of the main pack of competitors, claiming 5 of the top 13 spots. North Hall was right there also, with 4 in the Top 10, but the little gap they left in front of their 5th ended up being the difference maker. In this classification there was no room for error at the top, and Pace Academy was able to put together a simply perfect day of racing. Zahara Bernal and Harriet Blaha were strong for pace finishing in the top 5 behind Hood. Abi Moore, Harleigh Smith, and Jessie Dubnik were amazing for North Hall, but it wasn't quite enough against one of the best teams all class this year.

In third place, Starr's Mill was able to get the edge on Westminster thanks in large part to Ana Miller placing 8th and their 4th place runner, Andrea Ramos, coming in 16th place, offsetting a lot of points that Westminster had managed to bank through Walstad's first place victory, and while Starr's Mills and Westminster's 5th place runners were basically even to one another, Starr's Mill's fast 2nd and 3rd place runners outshone Westminster's to help them climb just a bit higher on the podium than their new rivals.