Southampton Academy Cross Country finishes season as undefeated VCC Champions

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

by Bryant Bunn and Lauren Beames

After finishing as Virginia Colonial Conference runners-up for girls and boys in its first year, Southampton Academy Cross Country started this season anchored by two returning seniors, Daniel Matthews and Emery Weist.

We welcomed newcomers Michael Fanjul, Will Belmonte, Noah Shaffer, Jeremy Harmon, T.J. Moore, and returning runners, Ethan Ferguson, Nathan Salyers, Mitchell Owens and Richard Byrd. We lost one of our top 10 runners, Ben Fly, to injury at the beginning of the season.

Our number one runner, Daniel Matthews, recorded 4 wins, 2 second place races, and ran a course record at Southampton Academy of 16:56. We had an undefeated season in the VCC by a large margin. Daniel Matthews, Michael Fanjul, Will Belmonte and Emery Weist received All Conference at the VCC Championship. Matthews finished with a time of 18:11; Fanjul with 19:10; Belmonte with 20:05; and Weist with 20:38. In addition to All Conference, Weist received All Academic VCC runner for the boys varsity team.

Kendal Ferguson, with a time of 28:34, received All Academic and All Conference VCC runner for the girls varsity team.

Caroline Slate, Chloe Bunn, and Claire Randall won the VCC Junior Varsity Girls Championship, with strong support from Jenna Gurule and Zoe Jones. R.J. Dasilva received second place honors for the VCC Junior Varsity Boys Championship, with strong support from Alex Whitley, Marshall Parker and Dawson Joyner.


For the VISAA State Championship, we traveled to the renowned Hardy Cross Country Course at Fork Union Military Academy in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The team rose to the challenge at an extremely difficult course, competing against 31 teams consisting of 286 runners.

Matthews finished in 19th place, qualifying him for All State in Divisions II and III with a time of 18:18. Fanjul finished in 52nd place with a time of 19:26. Belmonte finished in 68th place with a time of 19:47. Weist finished in 78th place with a time of 19:56. Shaffer finished in 128th place with a time of 20:46.

Rounding out the top seven runners was Jeremy Harmon in 170th place with a time of 21:45 and T.J. Moore in 202nd place with a time of 22:30. Nathan Salyers finished with a time of 23:30, Richard Byrd with a time of 24:10, and Ethan Ferguson with a time of 26:54.

The boys team finished overall in the top ten for the VISAA Championship. With a 10th place finish, our top five runners managed an average time of 19:39.12.

Unfortunately, the girls team was plagued by injury and illness, so we only fielded two runners who performed well, Katherine Davis with a time of 28:53, Sandy Noppadolmongkol with a time of 28:51, and Alisabeth Griffith did not finish the race due to injury.

As coaches, we are inspired by the hard work and dedication our runners put toward achieving this difficult task. We are proud of our undefeated VCC season and 10th place in the VISAA State Championship. With our program being only two years old, we look forward to another season of continued growth.

The Raiders are coached by Head Coach Bryant Bunn (SA Alumnus, local triathlete, and two-time Coach of the Year) and Assistant Coach Lauren Beames (SA English teacher, recent Virginia Tech graduate, and member of her high school cross country and field hockey team).