Fairfax Station West Springfield’s Caroline Alcorta was frustrated after the Northern Region cross country championships at her inability to keep pace with event-winner Sophie Chase of Lake Braddock.
Alcorta was only "kind of mad," however. After all, her consolation prize was having her name listed among the all-time great performances at Burke Lake Park.
Alcorta finished region runner-up with a personal-best and school-record time of 16:58 on Nov. 2. It was also the eighth-best girls’ time in the history of the course. Chase won her third consecutive region title with a personal-best and school-record time of 16:42, which tied for the third-fastest in the history of the course. Langley’s Erin Keogh set the course record of 16:09.7 at the 1985 Northern Region championships.
"I’m kind of mad because in the beginning I think I was supposed to stick with Sophie a little longer and then let her go do her thing, but I dropped off too quickly," Alcorta said. "But I’m still really happy."
Alcorta became just the ninth girls’ runner to break 17 minutes at Burke Lake Park.
"That was an ‘A’ race," West Springfield Head Coach Chris Pellegrini said. "The goal all along was to see if she could push sub-17 and try to stay as close to Sophie as possible. I think at this point, that’s more of a confidence thing than anything else. If she starts believing she can hang on, hang on, hang on, I think her ability is there to be pretty close. Sixteen [minutes], 58 [seconds] is outstanding."
Alcorta has finished at least second in each race in which she has participated this season. She has her sights set on continuing that streak at states on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Great Meadow.
"I’m really excited considering last year I don’t think I did as well as I probably could have," said Alcorta, who placed eighth at states in 2011. "I think this year I could try and get runner-up. I’ve been lucky so far this season not finishing worse than second, so I really want to keep that going."
"That was an ‘A’ race."
--- West Springfield XC coach Chris Pellegrini about Caroline Alcorta
Alcorta’s effort at regionals helped the West Springfield girls’ team place fourth and earn a state berth. The top four teams and top 15 individuals qualify for states.
The Spartans finished with a score of 116. Lake Braddock won the event with a total of 38, followed by Oakton (92) and Chantilly (109).
Maddie Wittich placed ninth for West Springfield with a time of 17:45. Katie Kennedy (18:21) finished 16th, Erin Falk (19:13) was 46th and Jessica Simmons (19:25) was 54th.
Wittich, a senior, earned all-region honors and said her time was a 20-second personal best.
"I’m excited with my race," she said. "I’ve been waiting for this the entire season. I went out there and I knew it was my last chance, so I gave it everything I had and I couldn’t be happier."