One week after the Liberty District Cross-Country Championship on Oct. 29 at Burke Lake Park, Fairfax High School senior runner Kevin Dowd turned in another fast performance on the same course on Thursday, Nov. 5 during the Northern Region Championship.
Dowd, who won the Liberty District Individual Championship with a time of 15:16, dropped his time on the 2.98-mile course by 12 seconds, but was unable to beat Chantilly's Christopher Foley for the Northern Region title.
"I wasn't that far off on the pace [of the leaders]," Dowd said after the race.
Foley and Oakton High School's Andrew McCullen battled for first place, but Dowd was able to secure his third place finish by beating Centreville's Yazid Zouaimia by 20 seconds.
The Regional race featured some of the toughest competition that Dowd had faced this season. He said that it was hard to keep up with the Concorde District's best.
"They took off after about 1 1/2 miles," he said. "I didn't have it in me to go with them."
But at the race’s mid-point, the senior was able to close the gap and pressure Foley and McCullen.
"I started to come back and reel them in," he said. "But then I stalled out and they had too much space on me.
Although Dowd's time was faster than his previous week's, he said that the grueling schedule of attending school and then racing after classes made it hard for him to get into the racing mind-set.
"Nothing really clicked with me immediately," he said. "I'm usually in the mood to race on Saturday and [going to school before a race] hurts."
The race also served as a test for the Fairfax High School team, which was moved to the Liberty District prior to this season, leaving the Concorde District behind.
"I'm a bit mad that we moved down from the Concorde District," Dowd said. "Since my sophomore year, I've been competing with [the Concorde]. I like competing against them."
The Rebels finished the race in 12th place with an average team time of 16:46. Senior Holden Vanderveer was the Rebel's second best finisher, with a time of 16:09.
"I'm so proud of our team," Dowd said. "Our past few years we haven't even made it out of the district. We've really come together as a team."