Watt's passage: Attitude was everything
The first running of the Kelly Watt Open debuted Saturday, November 19, with temperatures in the upper 30s, no clouds, and dozens of recent graduates of Albemarle and other high schools returning from college to remember the fallen runner.
"The last time I got together with all those guys was under the dark veil of a funeral," says Kelly's father, Paul Watt. "And here it was a bright beautiful sunny morning. It made you feel good about life."
Kelly's mother walked the course in Kelly's sweat pants; his dad ran the race in Kelly's shoes and hat.
Organized by coaches and friends, the 3,200-meter event at Panorama Farm benefits the Kelly Watt Memorial Scholarship, a new fund that will assist a deserving student from Albemarle High.
Alec Lorenzoni won the men's open heat with a time of 10:21, and Beth Brown won the women's open race in 13:10.
Kelly Watt died of heat stroke complications July 30– four days after he collapsed at the end of a sweltering solo practice run.
Known for consistently high cross-country rankings, Kelly was also known for encouraging his teammates. A journalist (he also wrote for the Hook), Watt pointed out in his final column for his school paper that amid the swirl of high school chaos, the one thing people can control is their attitude.
At Saturday's race, the commemorative t-shirts said, "Attitude is everything." And so did the life.
Cyndi Bradfield, mom of a Western junior, with Kelly's parents, Paul and Paige Watt
Liz Word-Glennie and her daughter, Sandy Glennie, sell t-shirts designed by Gerry Breen.
Robin Vanneman, of Brooke Point High School in Stafford, wins the girls division with a time of 12:59.
Western runners Adrian Lorenzoni, Matt Satterwhite, John Conroy, and Chris Post
Kelly's coach, Lance Weisend, monitors the finish line with Kelly's guidance counselor, Dan Monahan.
AHS runners Morgan Watt, Kelly's sister, and Cat Dame