In a season that ended with two teams making it to NXN and a sweep of the Foot Locker National titles it is no surprise to see many different headlines. This series though seeks to find other headlines and stories that are not average but just as important and interesting.
One of the longest and most dominant streaks ended this year and it was all celebration at the state meet finish line. This year for the first time since 2001 the 6A South region, formerly the Eastern and Central regions, swept the boys' individual places going 1-2-3. In the process of this sweep Jonathan Lomogda (Cox) also became the first champion from this region since Ted Richardson (James River) in 2009.
This year Jonathan Lomogda, Grant Northcutt (Cosby), and Dalton Randall (Clover Hill) did the impossible and beat the northern region's distance-trust. To put this in perspective how crazily dominant the northern regions have been since Richardson last upset the north here are the all-state finishers for those years.
Despite there being just as many schools in the southern and eastern regions it seems that the north just has a significant advantage when it comes to cross country. Even in 2001, history almost didn't happen as now coach John Piersol (Maggie Walker - 16:05.4) barely edged out Rasheed Thompson (Herndon - 16:05.9) to finish third that year for the last sweep.
Only nine times in the past 30 years has a south athlete reigned supreme at the state meet and this year they swept the finish.
It was truly a special moment and even had a sense of camaraderie with it. All three of these guys were elated to see each other first at the finish line and that was especially true for Northcutt and Randall who go to school just a couple miles from each other.
A lot went into this story happening.
From the onset Lomogda's coaches knew this was going to be a special season. He had one thing on his mind and that was winning a state championship. He trained hard during the off-season and put the miles in. His coaches very selectively chose his meets and competition to prepare him for this race.
Northcutt and Randall too had very selective and competitive seasons. They were all preparing for this race.
In his final tune-up to the post-season Jonathan had a huge confident boost by winning the MileStat.com XC Invitational setting a new meet record of 14:56. This time gave him just that little extra bit of confidence before heading into the state meet.
His race itself went perfectly. He opened in 4:52 with a six second lead. He came through the second mile at 9:51 to then have a 20 second lead. He ultimately would open that lead just a little bit more to cross the line in 15:34, 22 second ahead of Northcutt.
The race itself was a lot different for Northcutt and Randall though. In the opening mile, which usually is close, they were both a part of a big pack that came through the mile at 4:58 with few south runners.
Two miles in and it still wasn't looking great as Lake Braddock's Conor Lyons and Colin Schaefer held a slight lead over both Randall and Northcutt.
It wasn't until the final 200m that both Randall and Northcutt made their moves to move past the 6A North champ Schaefer. They both powered down the finishing stretch and in that final 200m created five seconds of separation for the sweep. Northcutt finished in 15:56 with Randall at 15:57.
For each of these guys this was the biggest accomplishments of their racing careers to date. When you combine these three awesome performances you get one of the biggest upsets and accomplishments that their region has put together nearly in their entire lifetime.
This story is about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts and these individual accomplishments. Which seems to be the true definition of cross country as a team sport.