Rain, illness and the top cross country runners in the Northern Region. That's what the West Potomac High School boys' and girls' cross country teams overcame on Nov. 5, at the Northern Region Championships at Burke Lake Park.
The West Potomac boys and girls teams finished third in the team competitions with average times of 16:10 and 18:47, respectively.
Their performances have given each team a berth in the Virginia AAA State finals.
The Wolverines, who had been decimated by the flu in the previous competitions, managed to overcome their illnesses in time for the Northern Region race.
"It’s an unusual situation [for some teams] this time of year because a lot of teams are usually depleted by illness," head coach Don Beeby said. "We have pretty much gotten over our illness. It's encouraging that we're well heading into the State competition."
West Potomac senior Peter Coffey led the boys' team in 22nd place with a time of 16:04, while junior Mark Hanak finished in 25th place with a time of 16:08. Senior Peter Stebbins followed closely behind, finishing 29th overall with a time of 16:09.
Although most of the team is healthy, Beeby said two members of his boys' team are still battling the flu.
"We're missing two boys, that just have not recovered," he said. "But to finish this strong despite the illnesses is a testament to the depth of the team."
For the girls' team, reaching the State Finals ended a five-year streak missing the State competition.
"For the past five years on the girls team we've been snake bitten with getting the fifth place spot," Beeby said. "Being able to climb into the top four is a real accomplishment."
Sophomore Sarah Jane Underwood led the way for the girls' team with a sixth place finish with a time of 18:14, followed by teammate Julianne Bigler who finished in seventh with a time of 18:17. Sophomore Colleen Boyle rounded out the top Wolverine runners with a 26th place finish with a time of 18:59.
With the Northern Region meet behind them, the Wolverines are now focused on the Virginia AAA State meet which will be held at The Plains, Va. on Nov. 14.
"I feel good about going to the [State Finals]," Beeby said. "Traditionally we do a better job on that course than at Burke Lake."