As Myah Hicks worked her way along the 2.98-mile course at Burke Lake Park, it was clear only one runner was capable of stopping the Edison senior from winning her third consecutive National District title — Myah Hicks.
Hicks pulled away from the field and crossed the finish line 53 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, capturing the individual crown at the National District cross-country championship meet on Oct. 28. Hicks’ dominance helped an inexperienced Eagles team finish fourth and capture the district’s final regional berth with 82 points. Washington-Lee won the meet with 49 points, beating Yorktown (58) and Hayfield (75).
"To get fourth place and qualify for regionals, that was one of our goals this year," Edison head coach Bernadette Flynn said. "We have a very young team experience-wise. We lost a lot of girls from last year’s team."
What Edison lacked in experience it made up for with Hicks’ talent. After placing second as a freshman, the track and field state champion won the district each of the last three seasons. On this day, Hicks’ large lead forced her to rely on self-motivation, which is nothing new to her. Hicks finished last season’s district meet 1 minute, 10 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
"She’s really good at pushing herself," Flynn said. "She’s a coaches dream … does everything you ask. She’s out there every Sunday running 60, 70 minutes. … [During] freshman year outdoor regionals, she was in the slowest section in the 800 and qualified on time by pushing herself."
While Hicks’ motivation comes from within, she also looks to others for a boost.
"I had to try to listen for my teammates and people saying, ‘Keep pushing yourself,’" said Hicks, who is considering running at Georgetown University next year. "It’s hard sometimes. It’s mental, so keep telling yourself to push it."
Hicks’ talents have grabbed the attention of her opponents.
"I used to try to catch Myah Hicks, but I noticed that it was very, very hard to," said Washington-Lee junior Isabel Amend, who finished second to Hicks at districts. "Now I look to her as inspiration to run faster. She almost ran a minute faster than I did and that’s a huge gap. She’s a state champion, she’s an amazing runner. If anything else, right now, she just inspires me to run."
Said fourth-place finisher Helen Amend of W-L: "The fact that she’s such a great role model makes it better, too, because she’s a nice person."
Edison’s Tara Tinsley placed sixth with a time of 19:30. Nicole Flynn (21:35) was 23rd, Alex Hastings (21:58) finished 25th and Caroline Hayden (22:07) was 27th.
The Edison boys finished second with 57 points, 23 behind district champion Hayfield. Edison’s Louis Colson (16:11) finished fourth, Gerardo Munevar (16:11) placed fifth, David Bulir (16:35) was ninth, John McAlister (17:12) finished 17th and Michael Knopp (17:2) finished 22nd.
The Northern Region meet is Nov. 4 at Burke Lake Park.