Back to Back: Buckingham wins second James River District title

Published 1:29 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

On Tuesday, they practiced by running through the Cumberland State Forest. It was a 4-mile run, something each member of the Buckingham County High girls cross country team is used to. That was by design. Head Coach Bruce Grazier said even after winning one trophy, he wanted to keep business as usual, getting the group ready to compete on the next level. After all, regional competition looms next week. 

“I know the girls are excited and we’re excited as a school,” Grazier said of the team’s latest win, a second-straight James River District championship. “These girls have been working hard since August. They have worked four days a week, 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and then they weightlift as well. So they’ve really worked hard for this. And we couldn’t be more proud of them.” 

The team didn’t just win the overall trophy. They also brought back several individual awards from that district competition, held Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Randolph-Henry High. Rylynn Morris, Caroline Browning, Paulette Battle, Logan Ragland, Lindsey Tobias, and Adele Sayer were named to the All-District Team. Grazier, meanwhile, was named the District’s Coach of the Year for the second straight time. He deflects any focus on his awards, however, giving credit to the team for the success. 

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And he’s built up a program designed not just to win today, but to be ready to compete for the foreseeable future. For the current squad, everyone will return next year except three seniors. He’s also helped set up a middle school cross country team, to build a pipeline of sorts, getting runners started earlier.  Any team that wants to claim a district title will have to go through Buckingham to do it. 

“That’s one of our long-term goals,” Grazier said. “We are looking to repeat next year. That is, we’re going to be trying for a three-peat as district champions.” 

Regionals coming for Buckingham 

Now looking ahead to Luray and the regional competition, Grazier sees just one challenge, in the terrain. 

“That area in Luray is a lot tougher to compete in,” he said. “The geographic area, there’s a lot more hills around there. It’s pretty much flat around here.” 

That’s why he has the team out in the Cumberland State Forest this week, running over country with a few more hills attached. Regionals are next Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Luray High School, but Grazier isn’t worried. “These girls will be ready to compete,” he said. “It’s just business as usual.”