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ArlingtonSportsO'Connell, Yorktown runners have strong meet

O’Connell, Yorktown runners have strong meet

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To run and have fun was Piper Dean’s simple and effective plan.

Using that approach, the Yorktown High School senior dominated the Arlington County girls cross country meet March 17. Dean won the 5,000-meter race on the Bluemont Park course in 18:52, nearly a minute ahead of runner-up Olivia Chiappetta (19:50) of Bishop O’Connell.

It was the first time Dean had participated in the meet. She’s also a standout soccer player, and commitments in that sport prevented her from running in the county meet her first three years of high school.

“I enjoy getting out here and running and having fun doing that, and I always want to win,” Dean said. “I stayed with the lead pack for a while. At about two miles, I ran away from them.”

Although Dean had not previously run the county meet, she is a highly accomplished high-school cross country runner. In the fall of 2019, she finished second in both the Liberty District and 6D North Region meets, then placed fifth at the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 championships.

She aims to place high again in those meets in coming days.

“I’m looking forward to them,” Dean said.

Chiappetta helped the O’Connell girls win the team championship for the second year in a row, scoring 31 points. The Washington-Liberty girls were second (56 points), Yorktown was third (68) and Wakefield fourth (71).

O’Connell’s Cece Fleenor finished fourth (20:08), Rowan Nolan sixth (20:34),Tess Brinkman ninth (21:29) and Erika Van Dyke 10th (21:42).

Rachel Mulvaney was third (20:00) for the W-L girls. Wakefield was led by a fifth from Kareena Stowers (20:32) and seventh by Brianna Breyault (20:40) and Yorktown’s Eleanor Whitehouse was eighth (21:07).

In the boys county meet, Yorktown dominated, winning with 16 points followed by W-L (66), defending champion O’Connell (71) and Wakefield (95). Yorktown last won in 2017.

Yorktown runners finished in the first four spots along with sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th. Yorktown senior Lachlan Stevens and junior Owen McArdle crossed the finish line together. The official results had McArdle as the winner (16:12) and Stevens second (16:13).

“Give him the win because he’s a senior,” McArdle said.

Said Stevens: “We were trying to go 1-2, and step two was for us to place one through four.”

Yorktown sophomore Jack Levine was third (16:31) and junior Jack Blocher fourth (17:08).

Sixth for Yorktown was Josh Sokol (17:34), eighth Ian Johnston; (17:43), ninth Roman Steis (17:45) and 10th Tom Foti (17:49).

O’Connell’s Ryan Lindley was fifth (17:18) and his teammate Chris Lucas seventh (17:39).

Washington-Liberty’s Nico Mestre was 11th (17:56) and Wakefield’s Adam Hammoudi 13th (18:02).

The county meet is normally held in October, but was postponed because of the pandemic. The girls and boys races each had multiple staggered starts because of pandemic protocols.

“Some things were different this year, but at least they got to run and I think they had fun,” W-L coach and race director Paulette Rigali said.

NOTE: Lindley placed second in last year’s meet and fourth in 2018.

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