The Madison High girls’ cross country team appears to have a bright future behind a couple of strong sophomore runners – Anna Stone and Christina Galiano – who had impressive showings at last Saturday’s Monroe Parker Invitational meet, held on the hilly 2.98 mile course at Burke Lake Park.
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.
Then it was time for the morning’s main event – the varsity races.
<b>THE MADISON GIRLS’</b> team (316 points), led by their two talented 10th grade runners, finished a respectable 11th place overall among the 22-team field.
Stone finished ninth place overall, earning a top 15 medal. Her finish time was 19 minutes, 1 second. Galiano, meanwhile, was close behind, finishing 11th place at 19:03.
“I wasn’t expecting to finish in the top 15,” said Stone. “I thought it was a real competitive race. Our team, as a whole, did pretty well.”
Meanwhile, Galiano, competing in her first varsity invitational, said the final stretch was difficult.
“I’d say the race [overall] was easier than I anticipated, but the last half mile was hard,” she said.
Both Galiano and Stone were honored - along with the other top 15 girls’ finishers - during postgame race ceremonies which recognized the day’s top teams and individuals runners.
Rounding out the Madison High field were junior Sarah McShane, sophomore Abigail Head, senior Christina Leas, sophomore Ginger Collier and junior Brianne Hayden.
The Marshall High girls’ top finisher was freshmen Caitlyn Cobb (65th overall). Oakton’s top runner was sophomore Micaela Sturm.
In the girls’ team standings, Thomas Jefferson (44 points) earned first place, followed by second place West Potomac (86) and third place Lake Braddock (122). Langley (137) and West Springfield (150) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The individual girls’ champion was sophomore Sophie Chase of Lake Braddock, who won with a time of 17:32. Edison’s Myah Hicks finished second and Jefferson’s Lisa Junta was third.
FOR THE MADISON BOYS (15th place), senior Joe Robinson was the first member of his team to cross the finish line (59th overall).
Teammates Connor Tobin and Zach Queen, both seniors, were the next Warhawk finishers.
Marshall High’s top finisher was senior Alexander Norton (37th overall). Oakton’s top finisher was sophomore Ryan Granato (76th).
The boys’ team champion was West Potomac (84), which finished ahead of second place South Lakes (116), third place Lake Braddock (141), fourth place Jefferson (175) and fifth place Hayfield (206).
The individual boys’ champion was Chantilly sophomore Sean McGorty, who timed at 15:17. Lake Braddock’s Sam Rubenking (15:26) was second, followed by Annandale’s Ahmed Bile (third place), Woodson’s Paul Gates (fourth place) and Lake Braddock’s Luke Sohl (fifth place).