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ArlingtonSportsO'Connell runner wins state cross country title

O’Connell runner wins state cross country title

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A season that began with strong second- and third-place finishes in big races has only gotten better for Bishop O’Connell High School cross country runner Molly Weithman.

The junior has now won two state championships to her credit this fall in a short two-week stretch, the most recent and significant coming Nov. 10 at the girls Division I state private-school championships on the 5,000-meter Woodberry Forest School course.

Weithman built an early lead and won going away by 20 seconds in 19:17.

“I didn’t feel all that great before and during the race, but I won, so I can’t complain,” Weithman said. “I got out to a good start, was able to get a big  early lead and I held it.”

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Weithman said she didn’t have any significant race strategy, other than to win.

“Molly has been running well for weeks and she ran a strong race again today,” O’Connell coach Jim Connor said. “She got that big lead and maintained all the way to the finish.”

Two weeks earlier, Weithman was the winner of the girls State Catholic meet, followed three days later with a runner-up at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference meet.

Weithman opened the season Sept. 3 with a runner-up at the Hood College Invitational, then Sept. 10 placed third at the Monroe Parker Invitational at Burke Lake Park. A few weeks later,  she won the Arlington Country meet at Bluemont Park.

Earlier in the season, Weithman ran the fastest 5,000-meter time in school history by an O’Connell girls runner in 17:44.

“I’m happy with my season. I have seen a lot of improvement,” Weithman said.

At the Division I state meet, Weithman helped the O’Connell girls place eighth. Kilian Dziepak finished 30th for O’Connell (22:27) and Danielle Rodriguez was 47th (23:38).

In the boys Division I state meet Nov. 10, O’Connell senior Anthony Lenzini finished 19th in 18:03. The team placed 13th with Sean Wilcox finishing 60th (19:41) and Anthony Thieman 87th (20:25).

Two weeks earlier, Lenzini won the boys State Catholic boys championship.

“It wasn’t my best time [at the state meet], but I was happy to be around that type of competitin in that meet and to be running with some of my friends,” Lenzini said.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Weithman and Lenzini plan to run in eastern regional high-school meets out of the local area, hoping to finish high enough to qualify for a national meet, or just face top competition.

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