The McLean High girls’ cross country team was not at full strength last Saturday for the season opening Monroe Invitational showcase event, held on the gorgeous, 2.98-mile course at Burke Lake Park. But the Highlanders still put together a solid showing.
Because of student ACT testing, several runners throughout the Northern Region were not on hand for the celebratory, early season meet, which took place on a pleasant, cool day. There were early morning freshmen races, followed by the JV races. Then, just before noon, the varsity races took place – first the girls’ competition, and then the boys’ run.
“We didn’t have a full varsity team because of the ACT’s,” said McLean girls’ coach Melissa Ferry. “But the girls here really stepped up to the challenge.”
McLean was led by senior Kristin Wulff, who finished 76th place overall in a field of 181 varsity runners. Highlander juniors Laura Baker (80th) and Katerina Cronmiller (83rd) also had good showings.
Ferry said Cronmiller and Baker ran a strong race together.
“Katerina had a big improvement in the race from last year,” said Ferry. “She and Laura Baker really helped each other along.”
McLean’s three senior leaders this season are Wulff, Mary Covington and Nicki Davido.
The girls’ varsity team champion was Lake Braddock with 77 points. Finishing second was West Potomac (95), followed by third place West Springfield (108), fourth place Jefferson (126) and fifth place Robinson (154). The top three teams received team trophies during early afternoon awards presentations.
Liana Epstein, a senior from Lake Braddock, was the individual champion. The top 15 runners earned medals.
Marshall High’s top finisher was Courtney Herbolsheimer (45th overall).
The McLean boys, coached by Jason Somoni, were led by sophomore runners Eric Leimkuhler and Jason Richards, who finished 81st and 84th, respectively, in a field of 233 runners.
The overall boys’ team champion was West Potomac (122), followed by second place Jefferson (147), third place Lake Braddock (161), fourth place Centreville (162) and fifth place South Lakes (169). The individual boys’ champion was Chantilly senior Christopher Foley.
McLean’s David Galdo finished fifth place overall in the boys’ freshmen race, helping the Highlanders finish seventh overall in a 20-team freshmen field.
For the freshmen girls, Madalyn Harper was a strong 14th place overall in a field of 114 runners.