Herndon High runners Alex Anthony and Carly Kulik gave their respective teams the boosts they needed at last Thursday’s Concorde District cross country championships, held on the 2.98-mile course at Burke Lake Park.
Anthony put together a fine race on the boys’ side in helping the Hornets earn a third place team finish. Kulik, meanwhile, did the same thing for the Herndon girls, who earned a fourth place finish.
The top four team finishers on both the boys’ and girls’ sides at districts automatically qualified for this Thursday’s Northern Region championships, which will be held at Burke Lake.
“Alex Anthony stepped up and Carly Kulik stepped up,” said Herndon coach Pete Sherry. “Both placed higher than I thought they would. It was probably Alex’s best race.”
Anthony was Herndon’s third runner to cross the finish line in the boys’ race and was a strong 13th place overall. The top 15 finishers earned individual medals.
Leading the way for the Herndon boys were senior Jack Jasper (5th place overall) and sophomore Troy Hunsaker (9th place). Jimmy Luehrs, a junior, finished 15th place to give the Hornets four runners among the top 15.
Herndon also received solid outings from David Kloosterboer (23rd place) and Harrison Murn (25th).
“The boys ran solid, but there’s definitely room for improvement,” said Sherry.
The coach said he was hoping his girls’ team would place a little higher at districts. But fourth was still good enough to advance the team to the 16-team regional field.
“I was hoping for a second or third place,” said Sherry, of his hopes for the girls going into districts.
Kulik, a junior, was Herndon’s top finisher and fifth place overall. Belle Burgess gave the Hornet girls a good showing with an eighth place finish and Carolyn Hennessey, a junior and the team’s top runner throughout the season, finished 17th. Haq Mehnaz was 28th overall. Also for Herndon, Anne Pursifull (30th), Nina Bagley (33rd) and Sarah Skinner (39th) ran solid races.
Robinson High (41 points) captured the team title on the girls’ side for the second straight year. Oakton (56) and Centreville (75) were second and third, respectively, ahead of the Hornets (88).
Oakton High’s Lanie Smith captured first place in the girls’ race. The Cougars’ other top 15 medal earners were Alison Gregor (11th place), Jessie Daley (12th) and Kathryn Berlin (14th).
<b>OAKTON</b>, on the boys’ side, captured its fifth straight district crown. The Cougars, coached by Phil Tiller, won with 35 points, besting second place Centreville (61) and the third place Hornets (65). Fourth place Chantilly was the other region qualifier with 78 points.
The boys’ individual champion was Oakton’s Andrew McCullen, who finished ahead of Chantilly’s Chris Foley. The Cougars had three other runners finish in the top 15 – fourth place Patrick Fulghum, sixth place Matt Woodhouse and seventh place Padriac Flynn.
Sherry believes his Herndon boys can earn a top four finish at this week’s regionals, which would gain the Hornets a berth at upcoming states. But he said it will not be easy. Oakton is expected to win the region title. Herndon will likely be in the running for second through fourth place with such other teams as West Potomac, Lake Braddock, Thomas Jefferson and Centreville.
“On the boys’ side it should be real close, other than Oakton who should run away with it,” said Sherry. “Hopefully we can get through [to states]. We just have to get a little bit better.”
On the girls’ side at regionals, Sherry would like to see a couple of his runners earn top 15 finishes to advance to states.
“If I can get a girl or two [to states] that would be great,” he said. “We’re looking good going into regionals.”