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Sweeping Performances

Edison, Lake Braddock cross-country teams dominate district championship meet.

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Edison senior Leoule Degfae set a new personal-best mark on Thursday at Burke Lake Park during the National District cross-country championships, finishing the 2.98-mile course with a time of 15 minutes, 13 seconds.

<i>Robinson and Jefferson runners led the way in Wednesday’s Concorde and Liberty district cross-country meet at Burke Lake.<a href= http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=321276&paper=81&cat=105> Read More.</i></a>

With his normal running partner, twin brother Tihut Degfae, unavailable for most of the season with a nagging hip flexor injury, Edison senior Leoule Degfae found an alternative.

Actually, he found two of them.

Every Sunday, Leoule Degfae would run with Jared Berman of Robinson and Chris Foley of Chantilly, two of the Northern Region’s top cross-country runners. All three share similar levels of endurance and have provided the ultimate training tool for one another.

When Leoule Degfae heard that Berman finished the 2.98-mile course at Burke Lake Park on Wednesday in 15 minutes, 22 seconds to win the Concorde District individual title, Degfae had all the inspiration he needed during the National District cross-country championships one day later on the same course.

“I heard that [Berman] got a 15:22, so I was thinking I should get around that time and be in good position for [regionals], but I just went all out,” said a still-surprised Degfae, who surpassed his own personal-best mark by 14 seconds, finishing with a time of 15:13.

“I’m still not sure if I even got that time,” Leoule Degfae said. “That’s a sick time.”

Like Degfae’s lengthy lead over his brother, Tihut Degfae finished second with a time of 16:03, Edison sophomore Myah Hicks spent most of her time at Burke Lake alone. Though she fell 10 seconds behind her goal of an 18-minute time (18:10), Hicks topped Yorktown’s Lindsey Hunt (19:24) by more than a minute.

With a solitary feeling that might affect some runners, Hicks kept pushing herself on a cool, breezy day.

“It’s kind of weird at first, but I just pushed myself to keep going,” Hicks said of her lead.

Behind performances from both the Degfae brothers and Hicks, Edison kept busy during the award ceremonies. By holding off Yorktown, 31-50, Edison’s girls team won its first-ever district title. It was quite an accomplishment, considering five years ago the team consisted of only one runner.

“I told the girls on Monday that was the best practice they ever had,” said coach Bernadette Flynn. “That was exciting, and I think that gave them a lot of confidence.”

Flynn, who also coaches the Edison boys team, watched the Eagles top Washington-Lee, 21-50.

<b>THE SWEEPING THEME </b>continued into the Patriot District races. With the return of top runner Alex Clark, the Lake Braddock boys team won a close race with South County, 47-51.

Clark, who finished third individually with a time of 15:37, was cut on the thigh during the New Balance State Invitational, on Sept. 26-27 in Rhode Island.

“We were warming up, and there was something sticking out on the side of the course,” said Bruins coach Mike Mangan. “He came over and told me he needed a Band-Aid and that he got cut. I said, ‘No, you need a medic and the emergency room.’”

With Clark securing a key top finish for Lake Braddock, the Bruins won their first district crown since 2003. The Lake Braddock girls team, on the other hand, continued its recent streak of success.

Behind a first-place finish from senior Liana Epstein (17:55), Lake Braddock won its fifth straight district crown, sliding past West Potomac, 41-48.

“For the seniors, it was their last shot at this and the last chance to go out with the banner and the trophy, so I was really proud

of them,” Mangan said. “They’ve won a few times before, but every year is special. It’s really a big deal for them to win.”

The Northern Region cross-country championships will be Thursday, Oct. 30, at Burke Lake Park. Start time is 3:15 p.m.