The Lake Braddock Secondary School varsity cross country teams might not yet be in midseason form, but the Bruins certainly looked to be headed in the right direction with their showings, both on the girls’ and boys’ side, at last Saturday’s early season Monroe Parker Invitational meet held on Burke Lake Park’s hilly 2.98 mile course.
The Bruins’ girls and boys’ squads both earned impressive third place finishes in their respective races at the annual showcase event.
Most of the Northern Region’s schools took part in the annual showcase event that gives teams an early season sense of where they stand among their region foes and respective district opponents. Saturday’s races began at 8 a.m. with the freshmen boys’ race, followed by the freshmen girls. Next was the JV boys’ and girls’ races during mid-morning. Then, to cap off the festive day of high school cross country, the varsity races – first the boys’ race at around 11:15, followed by the girls’ race at 11:45 – took place.
It was an outstanding late summer weather day for the running extravaganza with comfortably warm temperatures and lots of sunshine spreading across the beautiful racing course and park grounds. A large crowd turned up to take in the morning’s competition.
Because Saturday’s races took place on the ninth anniversary of the 2001 Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, special tribute was paid to those Americans who lost their lives on that infamous morning. Prior to the varsity races, a moment of silence took place, allowing all of those on hand – the athletes, coaches, spectators and race organizers – to briefly reflect on the day’s solemn meaning.
On hand for the Sept. 11 tribute was the Lake Braddock Secondary School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp, led by Lt. Col. Dwight Lomax, a Senior Army Instructor from Woodbridge. The four-student group, attired in their handsome military uniforms, raised high both the United States and Virginia flags for the ceremonies. The playing of the national anthem followed.
“It’s a great opportunity to come out here, socialize and be a part of this great community event,” said Lomax.
Then it was time for the morning’s main event – the varsity races.
<b>THE LAKE BRADDOCK GIRLS’</b> team (122 points) received an outstanding outing from sophomore Sophie Chase, who finished first overall in a field of 182 girls’ runners. Her winning time was 17 minutes, 32 seconds. Edison’s Myah Hicks finished second and Jefferson’s Lisa Junta was third.
“It’s the fastest Sophie has ever run here,” said Mike Mangan, the Bruins’ co-head coach. “She did a great job and went out under control. She pushed real hard in the middle and end [race portions] and was just awesome.”
Chase, as a freshman last year, helped the Bruins put together a marvelous postseason run with a second place team finish at the Patriot District Championships, a team title at the Northern Region Championships and a third place showing at the Virginia State AAA Championships. Chase finished third, second and third, respectively at those three playoff meets.
The talented Lake Braddock runner had plenty of outstanding support from her teammates at Saturday’s Monroe showcase. The Bruins had three runners, including Chase, finish among the top 30 runners. While Chase was the lone Lake Braddock runner to earn a top 15 medal, the team received fine outings from senior Tara Landy (18th overall) and senior Anna Markowitz (26th). Rounding out the Bruins’ top six finishers were senior Casey Laedner (41st), senior Jessi Bourneuf (46th), junior Courtney Lawson (58th) and senior Jessica Fisher (59th).
In the team standings, Lake Braddock finished behind champion Thomas Jefferson (44 points) and second place West Potomac (86). The third place Bruins finished ahead of fourth place Langley and fifth place West Springfield. In all, 23 girls’ teams competed in the varsity race.
Earlier in the morning, Lake Braddock ninth grader Hannah Christen finished second place overall in the freshmen girls’ race where the Bruins took third place team honors.
The South County girls’ varsity squad finished 10th place overall. Sophomore Mary Cate Scully (34th) was the Stallions’ top finisher. Other solid runs for South County came from senior Alyssa Campbell (64th), junior Briana Mumford (71st), junior Tara Dalrymple (76th) and junior Ashna Aggarwal (82nd).
<b>ON THE BOYS’ SIDE</b> at Monroe, third place Lake Braddock tallied 141 team points in the boys’ varsity race. The boys’ team champion, among a field of 30 schools, was West Potomac (84), which finished ahead of second place South Lakes (116). The Bruins finished ahead of fourth place Jefferson (175) and fifth place Hayfield (206).
Leading Lake Braddock were seniors Sam Rubenking, who was second place overall with a time of 15:26, and Luke Sohl, who finished fifth at 15:37. The individual boys’ champion was Chantilly sophomore Sean McGorty, who timed at 15:17. Rubenking took second, ahead of Annandale’s Ahmed Bile (third place) and Woodson’s Paul Gates (fourth place).
Lake Braddock received good outings from senior Luke Levan (25th), junior Will Greenwood (48th), sophomore Nick Tuck (61st) and senior CJ Tragakis (75th).
South County, 14th place in the team standings, was led by junior Dylan Morgan, who finished 16th overall. Lee High School, 16th in the team standings, was led by senior Abraham Yacob, who earned a top 15 medal with his sixth place finish. Also for the Lancers, senior Jackson Henry finished 38th overall.