Cave Spring’s Fortner makes impressive run in Knights Crossing Invitational

The Patrick Henry girls team warms up Saturday morning at Green Hill. The team finished 14th among the elite field of runners.
The Patrick Henry girls team warms up Saturday morning at Green Hill. The team finished 14th among the elite field of runners.

Blacksburg placed five runners in the top-15 to claim the girls team title and Broughton of Raleigh, NC rolled to the boys team title in the 10th annual Knights Crossing Invitational cross country race Saturday morning at Green Hill Park.

Cave Spring’s Katie Fortner made a strong statement in the girls individual results, placing third with a time of 18:28.40, just shy of Oakton’s Allie Klimkiewicz, whose winning pace of 18:10.20 fell just nine seconds off the meet record set in 2008 by Glenvar’s Megan Marsico.

Among local teams in the girls team results Hidden Valley finished 6th, Cave Spring 10th, William Byrd 11th, Patrick Henry 14th, Lord Botetourt 15th and Salem 23rd. On the boys team side Hidden Valley came in 11th, Botetourt 12th, Cave Spring 14th, Byrd 16th, PH 19th and Salem 25th.
The Knights Crossing is one of the largest cross country invitational in Southwest Virginia. According to meet director Tommy Maguire, 59 high schools and 34 middle schools were entered, consisting of approximately 1,850 runners. In addition to Virginia, teams from North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia rounded out the field.
Fortner, competing against the elite girls field was very excited about her performance on a day that offered picture-perfect running conditions,
“Oh, my gosh, it was perfect conditions,” Fortner said after her race. “My goal was to stay with the pack, especially not knowing many of the racers who were from out-of-state. It wasn’t my fastest time, but I’m right on schedule for the states and nationals later in the season. By that time I will get faster.” Fortner, a senior at Cave Spring, has been one of the premier cross-country and track performers from the Roanoke Valley in recent years.
By Bill Turner