The McLean Youth Track Club's cross country team made its strongest showing ever at the Nov. 18-20 Region 3 Junior Olympic Regional Championships, with the 11-12 girls team placing first, and the 9-10 boys team placing third. Both age group teams, along with several individual runners, qualified for the National Junior Olympic meet which will take place on Dec. 9 in Spokane, Washington.
The meet, which was sponsored by USA Track and Field, drew more than 450 runners from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Fifteen McLean Youth Track Club runners between the ages of 7 and 13 competed, and 13 of those runners qualified for the National Meet.
"These kids ran their hearts out today, and all their hard work has paid off," said McLean Youth Track Club coach Becky Hartley. "They should all be very proud of their accomplishments."
McLean's 11-12 girls team brought home the top prize in the girls 3K team competition. Team members included Emily Blagg, 12, of Arlington, Alison Brady, 12, of Great Falls, Eva Estrada, 12, of Falls Church, Julia Estrada, 11, of Falls Church, and Charlotte Sheridan, 11, of Vienna. In addition, Emily Blagg won the individual 3K competition for 11-12 girls with a time of 11:38.8.
The 9-10 boys team walked away with third place in the team competition. Team members included Christopher Blagg, 10, of Arlington, Matthew Chi, 9, of Vienna, Anthony Perotti, 9, of Great Falls, Jordan Pool, 10, of Vienna, Timothy Sheridan, 10, of Vienna, and William Sheridan, 8, of Vienna.
Other runners made strong showings as individuals, including Katherine Sheridan, 13, and Matt Amman, 12, both of Vienna. Sheridan placed sixth in the 13-14 girls 4K race. Amman placed 19th in the 11-12 boys 3K race. These individual runners, and all the members of the 11-12 girls and 9-10 boys teams qualified for the National Meet. Two younger team members, Eleni Zervos, 7, of Arlington and Stephen Sheridan, 7, of Vienna, ran well in the 2K races for runners 8 and under.
"Many of our kids ran personal bests today, but most importantly they worked as a team to support each other," said Hartley. "It was a great day for our program."
McLean Youth Track Club (www.myathletics.org/track) is a volunteer organization that seeks to teach the basics of track, competition, running, jumping and throwing to Northern Virginia children between the ages of 5 and 13.