On Saturday, Dec. 12, two Rappahannock County High School students, Gavin Jenkins and Julia Wood competed in the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. A total of 2,742 junior athletes representing all 50 states competed at the national event in different age groups or divisions, six for boys and six for girls. The event took place on a cold and rainy day, with the effect of high altitude for the Albuquerque venue.
Gavin Jenkins competed in the boy’s age group 17 and 18 division, and Julia Wood competed in the girl’s age group 17 and 18 division. The top 25 finishers for each race division received the distinctive honor of “All Americans”. In addition each medaled, Gavin finished 12th in his division and Julia finished 5th in her division.
Junior Olympians in cross country can either compete individually, what is called unattached, or they may compete with a club or team with at least five members in a division. Gavin and Julia competed as part of the Richmond Track and Field Club (RTFC), which had a total of 44 members at the national event. Gavin and four other RTFC team members in the boys division were first in the nation, and Julia and four other team members in the girls division were also first in the nation. Both teams received first place medals for the honor.
Gavin and Julia have together successfully represented Rappahannock and have scored many wins at numerous cross country events during their school careers. Julia has garnered three consecutive state championships in cross country for Rappahannock High School. Gavin also competed and placed each year at the state competition and was second in the state this year. However, the Albuquerque National Junior Olympics may be their last cross country event together as Rappahannock students. Gavin is a junior with one more year at Rappahannock, but Julia is a senior and will be attending the College of William and Mary for next cross country season.