As Sophie Chase approached the finish line at the VHSL state cross country championships, the Lake Braddock sophomore faced something unfamiliar to her in previous weeks — competition.
After winning the Patriot District title by more than 20 seconds and the Northern Region crown by more than 10, Chase found herself side-by-side with Hannah Lowery with a state title in sight. The Stafford sophomore held the slightest of leads as the two approached the end of an agonizing 3.1-mile run. Chase pumped her arms and legs with a look of anguish painted on her face. She lunged as the two broke the finishing tape and collapsed shortly after.
Chase had given everything she had. But it wasn’t enough to catch Lowery, who won the state crown by mere inches. After placing third at states as a freshman, Chase came in second on Saturday with a time of 17 minutes, 41 seconds.
"At the end, I literally passed out over the line," Chase said. "Of course I would have loved to win, but winning isn’t everything. I gave it my all. I’m very happy for Hannah, she did an awesome job. I tried my best and I’m happy with it. I fought out there for my teammates and that’s all I can ask for."
Chase bested last year’s state-meet time of 18:28 by 47 seconds. Lowery placed fifth in 2009 with a time of 18:39.
As a team, Lake Braddock, the defending state champion, finished fifth with 160 points, 56 behind meet winner Midlothian. Hannah Christen finished 21st (19:08) for Lake Braddock, Katie Roche was 31st (19:20), Tara Landy finished 77th (20:03) and Casey Lardner was 86th (20:19).
"I think we didn’t do as well as we wanted to, but we came out here and give it our all as a team," Chase said before team finishes were announced. "Can’t be unhappy with that."
The Lake Braddock boys finished eighth with 217 points. Midlothian won the state title with a score of 46 points, 58 ahead of second-place Colonial Forge.
Sam Rubenking finished fifth for the Bruins, garnering all-sate honors with a time of 15:45. Nick Tuck finished 39th (16:24) for Lake Braddock, Nick Farrell was 79th (16:58), Luke Levan finished 81st (17:00) and Luke Sohl was 95th (17:16).