A fairly young Stone Bridge High girls’ cross country team opened up the new season against a stiff field of stellar competition at last Saturday morning’s Monroe Parker Invitational, held at Burke Lake Park.
The showcase event, which took place in pleasant, cool conditions, consisted of most of the team’s from the Northern Region. 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.
A large crowd of spectators were on hand for the festive, high school event, which took place on the beautiful 2.98-mile course at Burke Lake.
The Bulldogs’ top finisher in the girls’ varsity race was junior Caroline Snell, who finished 62nd overall among a field of 181 runners. Shannon Hall (82nd) was the next Stone Bridge runner to cross the finish line, and teammates Danielle Swasey (86th), Jodie Davis (87th) and Karissa Love (89th) were not far behind.
“Our girls were really happy with the race and did an awesome job,” said Stone Bridge coach Jen Oblas. “We have a real young team and some girls who are new to the sport.”
The coach said her team leaders this fall include Hall, Davis and Alexis Burkett. The Bulldogs are a close-knit team. They encourage one another with `buddy bags’ and occasionally gather for pizza parties.
“We have good leaders and are doing a lot of team building,” said Oblas.
For the Stone Bridge boys, who finished 17th overall out of 26 teams at Monroe Parker, Nick Driskill, a sophomore, finished 32nd overall among a field of 233 runners. Senior Jesse Pedroni was the next Bulldog to cross the finish line at 55th overall.
THE OVERALL BOYS’ VARSITY TEAM champion at Monroe 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.
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.