There is a school of thought among many cross-country and track enthusiasts in the Old Dominion. It goes something like this - the best distance runners come from Northern Virginia, while the sprinters of note come from the Hampton Roads region.
The arguments seem valid. Alan Webb (South Lakes), Drew Hunter (Loudoun Valley) and Sharif Karie (West Springfield) are among the notables from the north, while Lashawn Merritt (Wilson), Michael Cherry (Oscar Smith) and Grant Holloway (Grassfield) have lifelong roots in the "757."
There are dozens of others on both sides, so the argument is a continuous one.
However, there has been an interesting trend in the 6A boys' state cross-country individual championship results. It started with Jonathan Lomogda of Cox (Virginia Beach), who won the title in 2015 with a 22-second victory (15:34) at Great Meadow. The following year, Peter Smith of Oscar Smith (Chesapeake) nipped David Scherrer of Cox to win in 15:22. In 2017, it was Brent Bailey of Ocean Lakes (VA Beach), who claimed victory with a time of 15:33, ten seconds faster than junior Chase Osborne of Western Branch (Chesapeake).
On Saturday, Osborne added his name to the 757 winners list, becoming the fourth consecutive runner from South Hampton Roads to capture the Class 6 boys' race. The Bruin senior traveled over the 5,000 meters of the Great Meadow countryside course in 15:55 to earn an 11-second triumph over Jackson Leech of W.T. Woodson.
Afterwards, Osborne credited Leech for setting a pace that separated the rest of the field and turned the race into a cat-and-mouse matchup between the pair.
"(Leech) kind of took off in the first mile," said Osborne, whose next decision may have been the best of his race. "I was about 15 meters behind. I'm usually impulsive and would go after him, but instead I held back and slowly started (picking up)."
At the two-mile mark, he had cut Leech's lead to five meters. But the thought process was still working for Osborne, and he dialed back to the previous year. "I remembered that Bailey and (Grant) Northcutt made their move on the double hill. He didn't really know I was there, and at the second hill, I pulled up next to him."
The two jostled for the lead, but Osborne had one more strategy left. "With about 800 (meters) to go, I just gave it all I had. I figured if I had the distance (lead), that if I ran out, I could have enough to hold on."
The plan worked. Leech as unable to make up the gap, and Osborne sprinted away to win by 11 seconds.
Leech's second-place finish led the Cavaliers to the team championship, as the Cavaliers held off West Springfield to win 72-78. Oakton was third with 103 points.
Sam Pritchard of West Springfield took third place in 16:24, followed by Michael Spragley (Thomas Dale - 16:28) and Bryce Lentz of Colgan (16:31) to complete the top-five finishers.