While the result proved a bit of a surprise on the boys side, the girls team champion was more expected at this season’s 6D North Region cross country championships.
The Oakton Cougars won the boys crown for the fifth straight high-school season, scoring 61 points. The McLean Highlanders were first in the girls meet, amassing 55 and winning the title for possibly the first time. Last season the McLean girls didn’t even qualify for the region meet as a team, but have been vastly improved his fall.
The region meets were run Nov. 3 on the 2.98-mile Burke Lake Park course.
This fall’s Oakton team includes just two runners – Elham Hug and Quin Sehon – who were among the best on last season’s squad that finished as district, region and state champions. The Cougars, though, finished second in this season’s Concorde District meet a week earlier, making them a contender for the region, but not necessarily a favorite.
“This season’s team is much different from last season’s,” Oakton coach Matt Kroetch said. “We knew today’s meet would be close and a dogfight. As a team it was our most complete performance this season. Our strength is our pack. They executed well. We didn’t expect to be able to win another region title when the sesaon began.”
Oakton won by 10 points over second place South Lakes and 12 over third-place Yorktown.
Kroetch said a key to the victory was the strong performance by Sehon. He placed 20th (16:14), running some 15 seconds faster than a week earlier at the district meet.
Oakton’s top finisher was Tyler Coleman in eighth (15:53), followed by Hug in 10th (15:55), Landon Newell in 11th (15:55), Iyasu Yemane in 13th (16:00) then Sehon.
“We ran strong as a team and Quin ran out of his mind,” Kroetch said. “These are hard-working kids who want to live up to the Oakton cross country culture.”
The Madison Warhawks were fourth in the region boys meet with 78 points, the McLean Highlanders sixth with 140 and the Marshall Statesmen seventh with 165.
McLean senior Xavier Jemison finished second in the boys meet in 15:20 behind Yorktown’s Owen McArdle in 15:16.
For Madison, Aidan Diconti was sixth (15:46), Robbie Jenkins 12th (15:55) and Chaney Arick 14th (16:00). For Marshall, Sean Sanders was third in 15:37.
Leading the McLean girls was Thais Rolly. The defending state champion won the individual title for the second straight season, winning in 17:25.
Rolly made her move to the lead in the final 600 meters.
“I like to follow in races in the early going, then in the end speed up a lot and give it my all,” Rolly said. “My time wasn’t great for me, but the first mile of the race was really slow, so maybe that was the reason. The last mile was significantly faster for me.”
Also for McLean, Rolly’s younger sister, Calypso Rolly, finished fifth (18:11), Elise Walker was seventh (18:19), Leah Durkee 14th (18:57) and Antigone Stark 39th (20:38).
“We knew the meet would be close, and the girls ran their best and made it happen,” McLean coach Kyle Jemison said. “This team has a lot of young race talent. It’s a great day.”
The Langley Saxons were second in the girls region meet with 81 points, Oakton third with 85 and Madison fourth with 86.
Lila Waters was ninth (18:27) to lead Langley, Madeleine Spaner was 16th (19:24), Elena Pesavento 19th (19:32) and Hazel Calway 21st (19:38).
Oakton was led by the fourth-place finish of Raquel Lewis (18:03), with Sitota Mesfin 10th (18:31). For Madison, Mary Byrne was eighth (18:21) and Lydia Mikhin 11th (18:34).
Marshall High’s Haley Spoden was sixth (18:18) in the girls meet.
NOTE: The top three finishing girls and boys teams at the region meets, and some other individuals, qualify for the Class 6 state championships.