The Langley High boys’ and girls’ cross country teams put together a fine season-opening meet at last Saturday’s Monroe Parker Invitational , held on a cool, beautiful morning on Burke Lake Park’s scenic, 2.98-mile course.
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.
The Langley boys, who finished 12th out of 26 teams in the boys’ varsity race, were led by senior captain Tommy Bylund, who finished 20th overall among a field of 233 runners.
“Tommy had a real good race,” said Langley head coach Gifford Krivak. “He wants to make states; that’s his goal. He did a solid job. There was a lot of competition up front.”
Last fall, Bylund finished 13th place at the Liberty District Championships, a race that took place on the Burke Lake course.
Bylund was the Saxons’ No. 1 runner as a junior and carries that same title as a senior as well. On Saturday, Bylund was the Saxons’ top runner. His 20th place finish did not earn him a top 15 medal, but there is a long season ahead and Bylund, as one of his district’s top runners, will likely improve over the course of the season.
Langley, in Saturday’s race, also received solid outings from junior William Peker (56th overall) and sophomore Michael Meyer (66th).
The overall boys’ varsity 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.
FOR THE LANGLEY GIRLS, junior Bridget Chesney finished 63rd overall, out of a field of 181 runners, to pace the Saxons. Langley’s next best runner was junior Brittany Stringer (66th).
The Saxon girls were competing without senior and top runner Anneka Day, who was taking the ACT test along with countless other runners from the region.
“Academics come over sports,” said Krivak, with a smile. “With her out, that hurt us a little bit. She’s a solid runner and she worked hard all summer. She trained really well.”
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.
Krivak, who was a Langley assistant coach last year before being named head coach of the program during the off season, believes both his varsity girls and boys can experience success over the course of the season and on into the postseason.
“I want to see both the boys and girls make it out of the district and advance to regionals,” he said. “I think they [both] will.”
In the postseason, the top four teams at districts automatically move on to regionals. And from there, the top four teams at regionals qualify for states.
THE LANGLEY girls garnered first place in the freshmen race at Monroe on Saturday. The Saxons scored 71 points to best second place Westfield (74) and third place Yorktown (100) in the 12-team competition.
Langley’s Elissa Purdy finished second overall in the race. Also for the Saxons, Jessica Miles was fourth. From McLean High, Madalyn Harper finished 14th.
The Saxon boys also took first in their team competition, finishing with 93 points to finish ahead of second place West Potomac (95) and third place Jefferson (101).
Leading the Langley boys was Thomas Cole, who finished seventh overall. Thomas Armstrong and Christopher Paul finished 17th and 18th, respectively, for the Saxons. McLean High’s David Galdo was fifth.
There were two separate boys’ JV races, with the Langley team taking fourth in one of them. Matt Sahm finished 10th for the Saxons and Miles Laubinger was 13th.
There were also two JV girls’ team races. In one of those, Langley’s Courtney West finished second for the sixth place Saxons.