Woodson junior Paul Gates entered the Patriot District cross-country championship meet with a goal larger than personal success. It turned out the Cavaliers needed his individual effort to achieve it.
Gates won the district championship with a time of 15 minutes, 15 seconds on Oct. 28 at Burke Lake Park. Gates was the only Woodson harrier to earn all-district honors with a top-15 finish. But his first-place effort was enough for the Cavaliers to edge South County by two points for fourth place and the district’s final regional berth.
"It’s exciting," Gates said of his individual title, "but I’m more excited about our team going to regionals. We were really trying to make it to regionals as a team. That was our goal."
Woodson scored 113 points. West Potomac won the meet with 56 points, followed by Lake Braddock (61) and West Springfield (94). South County finished fifth with 115.
Woodson’s No. 2 finisher was Chris DiAntonio, who placed 21st with at time of 16:35. Will Crowley (16:41) was 24th, Brian Yudkin (16:59) was 31st and Collin Chartier (17:09) finished 36th.
Gates’ time was five seconds better than second-place Colin Taylor of West Springfield.
"The first mile or so was pretty relaxed," Gates said. "The second mile it picked up. The third mile was just a race. … [I had] confidence that coming into that last 800 that I could hang with them. I was solely focused on catching them and trying to win."
The Woodson girls finished seventh out of eight teams. Alanna Kelley was the Cavaliers’ top finisher, placing 19th with a time of 19:32.
West Potomac won the meet with 42 points, followed by Lake Braddock (52), West Springfield (68) and T.C. Williams (100).
The Northern Region meet is Nov. 4 at Burke Lake Park.