Oakton senior John Stoney said he won’t be concerned about his time while running in the VHSL state cross country meet on Nov. 15 at Great Meadow. All that matters is the place in which he finishes.
During the 6A North regional meet, Stoney earned the best of both worlds.
Stoney won the boys’ individual 6A North regional championship while achieving his goal of a sub-15-minute time on Nov. 6 at Burke Lake Park. Stoney produced a time of 14 minutes, 54 seconds, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Osbourn Park senior Nick Causey.
“This one was more definitely about time,” said Stoney, who also won the Conference 5 title a week earlier. “I definitely wanted to go under 15. But next week is just going to be about winning, [not] time. Time doesn’t really matter next week.”
Stoney’s effort helped the Cougars place sixth as a team and earn a berth to the state meet (top six teams advance to states).
Stoney, Simon Iyob (33rd, 15:50), Matt McKew (39th, 16:02), Isamu Hosokawa (41st, 16:09) and David Atkinson (44th, 16:14) were Oakton’s top five finishers.
“The boys, we definitely want to improve from where we were last year [during the state meet],” Oakton head coach Alisa Byers said. “Last year, we were second in the region and then we went to the state meet and we kind of pooped our pants a bit and we came in eighth, so they want to improve upon that.”
“The boys, we definitely want to improve from where we were last year [during the state meet]. Last year, we were second in the region and then we went to the state meet and we kind of pooped our pants a bit and we came in eighth, so they want to improve upon that.”
--- Oakton cross country coach Alisa Byers
Oakton finished with a total of 142 at regionals. Chantilly won the region title with a total of 100, followed by Battlefield (107), Osbourn Park (111), Robinson (136) and Lake Braddock (138).
Lake Braddock’s Alex Corbett placed third among individuals with a time of 15:09, followed by Chantilly teammates Ryan McGorty (15:13) and Dakota Lange (15:21). Madison’s Matthew Calem finished ninth with a time of 15:26. The top 15 finishers earned all-region honors.
In girls’ action, Oakton won the team championship with a total of 66. Washington-Lee placed second (92), followed by West Springfield (113), Lake Braddock (118), Robinson (148) and Battlefield (192).
The Cougars’ performance came one week after winning the Conference 5 championship.
“The goal is always to make it to the next level,” Byers said. “The northern region is a tough group of kids with a scrappy bunch of coaches. With the girls’ performance last week, I knew there was a good chance that we could win, but I never sell any of the other teams short because everyone’s conferences are small and once you get extra people in there, it really motivates people to run fast.”
Allie Klimkiewicz, a junior, led Oakton with a third-place finish. She recorded a time of 17:21, 50 seconds behind meet-winner Caroline Alcorta of West Springfield, whose time of 16:31 was the third-fastest in the history of the Burke Lake Park course.
Hailey Dougherty (17:47), a senior, placed eighth for Oakton. Freshmen Casey Kendall (18:03) and Leya Salis (18:09) finished 15th and 16th, respectively, for the Cougars, and junior Kara Kendall (18:42) finished 26th.
The Oakton girls’ team placed second at states last year. Klimkiewicz finished fifth as a freshman and ninth last year as a sophomore.
“Hopefully as a team we can improve form last year,” Klimkiewicz said. “We got second, so hopefully we can improve. As an individual, I really hope to PR on [the state] course and place higher up than I have in the past.”