The Park View High boys’ and girls’ cross country teams put together solid showings at the Handley Judge’s Classic event on Sept. 11 in Winchester. For first year Patriots’ head coach Jim Nosal and his program, the 2008 fall season is going to be about improving times and getting better and better with each meet. And Nosal liked the progress he saw from his team at the early season Classic.
"The girls’ times went down," said Nosal, of the Handley event. "Our boys’ top five averaged under 20 minutes. That’s a big step from last year."
Nosal, who has been head coach of the Park View track and field program for the past two years, said the cross country program he has taken over will be looking to make steady progress in a highly competitive Dulles District.
"Right now, we’re very much in a building phase," said Nosal. "We’re looking at things and saying, `Can we improve on the week before?’ We’re trying to get everybody a little bit faster, really trying to understand the sport. "
The coach said the work accomplished by the cross country team this autumn could pay dividends for the upcoming winter and spring track and field seasons as well.
"Right now, it’s really about establishing a [cross country] program we can use to benefit on the track side of things," he said.
Earlier this season, Park View competed at the 25-team Chancellor Invitational in Fredericksburg. From that meet to last week’s Judge’s Invitational, of which there were 15 girls teams and 16 boys teams represented, the Patriots showed good improvement.
The team was hoping to compete at the annual Great Meadows event at The Plains a couple weeks ago, but the renowned early season meet was called off due to the poor weather. The meet will not be made up.
Key members of the Park View girls’ cross country team this season are seniors Sarah Taylor, Megan Barnes and Lauren Rymer.
"They have really good times and are strong runners," said coach Nosal, of the three 12th graders. "They bring good leadership to the team."
On the boys’ side, top runners include senior David Fischer, junior Tom Vereb and senior Mateen Ali, a first year runner who has made his name athletically as a Patriots’ soccer player.
This Saturday, Park View will compete at the Oatlands Invitational meet in Leesburg. Nosal said his boys and girls team members are looking forward to continuing to test themselves at another big meet.
"They’re definitely looking forward to Oatlands," said Nosal. "They are geared and ready to go."