This year's =PR= Kick Off Invitational at Bull Run Regional Park was missing some big names among the teams attending. Lake Braddock sat out its two star runners in Sophie Chase and Hannah Christen, while James Robinson also sat its varsity boys squad and top female runner Macey Schweikert as they prepare to head to Christiansburg High School this weekend for the Blue Demon Invitational.
With Chase, Christen, and Schweikert out, the girls' junior and senior race belonged to Robert E. Lee junior Bailey Kolonich. Kolonich missed last week's Great Meadow Invitational with her time as she was helping her older sister moving into college, but competed individually this week at the Potomac River Running Kick Off Invite. Kolonich established herself early ahead of the rest of the chase pack and eventually finished 12 seconds ahead of West Potomac's Katie Genuario in a winning time of 12:15.4. A 10:51 3200 meter runner on the track this past spring, Kolonich is part of a large group of Northern Region girls with the credentials that most years would certainly put them among the top 3 in the region without doubt, but the great depth this year will make them work hard for just a top 10 regional meet finish.
Genuario was one of three West Potomac girls who broke into the top 10 in the junior/senior race with a sub 13 minute time. A state qualifier indoors in the 1600 and just missing a state meet berth outdoors in the 3200, Genuario is taking over as the front runner for the West Potomac girls after Sarah Jane Underwood graduated. The West Potomac girls had the best team score in the unofficial combined score of all three races (junior/senior, sophomore, freshmen) with 66 points compared to Thomas Jefferson with 70 points. Their front three was solid between Genuario, Sophia Passacantando (7th, 12:58.6), and Katie Murray (8th, 12:58.7) among the top 10 times overall of the meet. Murray has made big improvements since last fall when she was not on the West Potomac's top 7 and had a best time over 21 minutes at Burke Lake Park to position herself now as her team's #3 runner.
Lake Braddock did not run four of their top six runners including Chase, Christen, Ally Robinson, and Misha Suresh, but in their absence saw Lake Braddock junior Katie Roche run a strong race for third place in the junior/senior race at 12:33. The Monroe Parker Invitational should see the MileSplit US top 25 nationally ranked Lake Braddock squad show their full lineup, while later in the season, the Bruins will be headed to Texas for the Nike South Invitational on October 6th.
VA #5 pre-season ranked Nick Tuck was initially not going to race for Lake Braddock, but a late decision change was made and Tuck wanted to run since Lake Braddock's #2 runner Alex Corbett was eager to run and win the sophomore race, which he did in a time of 10:39. Tuck was trying to make it two victories on the evening for the Braddock boys in the junior/senior race, but was overtaken in the final downhill by VA #10 Louis Colson. Colson with a little more leg speed than Tuck based on track PR's, let Tuck lead early on along with others including Herndon's Bradley Heuer (3rd, 10:12), Westfield's Max Chambers (4th, 10:17), and South Lakes' Ashkan Mohammadi (5th, 10:18) before striking late to win in a time of 9:51. Tuck trailed just behind at 9:52 as he tried to regain the lead back on Colson towards the finish line.
Chambers led an impressive team showing for the Westfield boys, who proved the program has more than just a great 4x800 meter relay which won at the Penn Relays last April. Westfield nearly had 7 runners in the meet break 11 minutes between Chambers (10:17), Nathan Kiley (10:31), Jeff Edmondson (10:36), Thomas Lazor (10:49), Kevin Deely (10:58), Nick O'Connell (11:00), and Johnny Pace (11:01). More of a middle distance specialist on the track (1:58 800/2:33 1000), Chambers is emerging as a top runner for the Bulldogs this season after running just under 17 minutes for 5K last fall. Westfield is a team to look out for as far as contending for a state meet berth after outperforming other state meet hopefuls in Lake Braddock, Thomas Edison, and South Lakes. Thomas Jefferson boys were second best in the combined scoring with 80 points and only 37 seconds separating their top five fastest runners between Dan Matson (10:32) and Kyler Blodgett (11:09).
Race Videos: Junior/Senior Boys - Junior/Senior Girls - Sophomore Boys - Sophomore Girls - Freshmen Boys - Freshmen Girls
Video Interviews: Louis Colson - Bailey Kolonich - Hannah Christen