Meet Information

Northern Region Meet Writeup

West Springfield and Oakton double their pleasure and double their fun

By Pearl Watts

Thursday, November 1, 2001


BURKE LAKE, VA --
West Springfield and Oakton were able to double their pleasure and
double
their fun at the Northern Region Championships held at Burke Lake Park
on
Thursday. The Spartans claimed both the girls and boys team titles
while the
Cougars collected the girls and boys individual crowns.


The West Springfield girls, runnersup in the Patriot District
Championships
a week earlier, put it all together to claim their first ever regional
team
cross country victory. The Spartans scored 80 points with Patriot
District
champ Robinson notching 98 points in finishing as the regional runnerup
for
the second year in a row. Lake Braddock in third place with 121 points
gave
the Patriot a sweep of the top three spots with Concorde District
runnerup
Jefferson scoring 124 points for fourth place and the final qualifying
team
spot for the AAA state championships to be held at the Great Meadow
course in
The Plains on Saturday, November 10.


The West Springfield boys, winner of four state titles during
longtime
coach Vic Kelbaugh's tenure, captured the school's third regional team
crown
ever with 61 points with the Concorde District grabbing the next three
state
qualifying team spots as Jefferson scored 79 points for second place
followed
by Herndon in third with 109 and Oakton fourth with 127 points.


Oakton's talented senior tandem of Keira Carlstrom and Phil Gaeta
were each
convincing winners in the race for individual honors. Carlstrom, last
year's
region runnerup on the girls' side, improved by seven seconds over her
Concorde District win of last week in claiming the title in a personal
best
time on the 2.98 mile Burke Lake course of 17 minutes, 38 seconds.


Carlstrom set a relatively slow pace for herself through the first
mile of
the race, which she covered in 6:03, to help her Cougars' teammates to
stay
more closely bunched to the lead pack. The rest of the girls field did
not
take the initiative away from Carlstrom but instead let the defending
state
champion and pre-race favorite control the pace no matter what.


Carlstrom then made a strong move in the second mile, going 5:39 for
an
11:42 split at the deuce and opening up a fourteen second lead on
Patriot
District winner Kelly Swain of Lake Braddock.


Carlstrom was never challenged in the final mile and her winning time
of
17:38 gave her a twenty second win over Lake Braddock junior Swain
(17:58)
with Herndon sophomore Kristin Hart running very well once again to
place
third in 18:11.


Gaeta, the top returnee from last year's regional boys meet in which
he ran
15:20 for third place behind the graduated Alan Webb of South Lakes and
Oakton's Matt Maline, followed up his first ever major victory from
last week
at the Concorde championships with another superb run at the regional
meet.


Last week at districts, Gaeta had taken the lead by the half mile
mark and
was never pressured enroute to a personal best Burke Lake time of
15:11. This
past Thursday, Gaeta had senior Richard Smith of South Lakes (5th;
15:31)
running stride for stride through a 5:01 first mile before Gaeta made a
concerted move on the downhill portion at the beginning of the second
mile.


Gaeta went through two miles in 9:57 with a five second lead over
Jefferson
sophomore Christo Landry and continued with his relaxed, near perfect
looking
form to the end in chopping nine seconds off his winning time from the
week
before with his first place time of 15:02.


Jefferson's Landry, in his first season of cross country, kept
working hard
all the way to the finish in placing second at 15:14 with Herndon
junior
Rasheed Thompson third in 15:26 and West Springfield junior Jeff Day
fourth
in 15:28.


Day, the Patriot District champ, was one of three Spartans to crack
the top
ten with senior Bryan Witt, who has been showing steady seasonal
progress in
eighth at 15:39 while junior John Cook was ninth at 15:42 in easily his
best
race of the season.


The Spartans also received a big push from quiet leader James Feeney.
The
senior had been their number one runner last year with a seventh place
regional finish in 2000 but came up with mononucleosis right at the
start of
this season. Kelbaugh and the rest of the team was hoping, but not
planning,
on a return to form by Feeney near the season's end. Feeney got started
in
the right direction with a solid race at the Glory Days Grill
Invitational
three weeks ago and then placed 13th at the district meet in 16:38.


Feeney was only in about 30th place at the two mile mark at the
regional
meet but moved up all the way to 16th place in the final mile in
improving
his Burke Lake time in a week by 44 seconds to 15:54 as the number four
runner for the Spartans with senior Ryan David rounding out the scoring
for
West Springfield (28th overall; 16:10).


Jefferson suffered their first defeat of the season to a Northern
Region
school with their second place total of 79 points in finishing 18
points
behind the Spartans. Besides Landry, the Colonials also had two other
all
regional performers in juniors Joey Bylund (10th; 15:44) and Tarik
Jones
(15th; 15:49). Jefferson was hurt somewhat by their normal number two
runner
Keith Bechtol being less than 100% healthy for the Colonials, but even
with
Bechtol near his projected finishing spot, Jefferson still would have
missed
overtaking West Springfield.


Herndon (109 points) will be making its first venture to the state
meet in
some time as senior Mike Dominguez joined Thompson as all regional for
the
Hornets (13th; 15:46) while Oakton (4th; 127 points) had junior Ben
Bieter
step up in eleventh place (15:45) as their number two runner behind
Gaeta.


Robinson was fifth with 142 points as senior Kevin McHale ran 15:46
for
12th with the other automatic qualifying spots going to fast closing
sophomore Robert Longoria of Lee (6th; 15:36), Langley senior Billy
Bylund
(7th; 15:37) and Wakefield senior Abdi Dubed (14th; 15:47).


The West Springfield girls had been hovering close to the top but
never
quite there during the invitational season of the past two months and
had put
together a very good race in finishing a close second to Robinson at
last
week's district meet. The Spartans then clicked on all cylinders this
past
Thursday as they, like the boys team, scored an eighteen point victory
at 80
points with the highly regarded Rams relegated to second place with 98
points.


West Springfield coach Ed Linz said, "we were just looking to hang as
close
as we could to Robinson through the first three spots but then really
take
over at the fourth and fifth positons."


The Spartans did just that as senior Mo Hagan (9th; 18:42), junior
Huma
Husain (18th overall; 18:58) and senior Katie Freund were down by just
31-38
in the team scoring to Robinson through three places. West Springfield
then
put the meet away with juniors Kelly Ann Osborn and Meredith Nitzberg
both
within twenty seconds of number two runner Husain in the fourth and
fifth
spots.


Even with the setback, Robinson is still one to watch at the state
meet
along with West Springfield as they had junior Joanna Rodgers put
together
her best race of the season in fourth place at 18:25 with junior
teammate Sam
Ference close behind in sixth place at 18:29.


Defending state champion Lake Braddock has still given themselves a
chance
to have a say in next week's proceedings after finishing in third at
121
points paced by Kelly Swain's second place finish and with freshman
Sarah
Rothe also a main contributor (15th; 18:56).


Fourth place Jefferson (124) was led by junior Sarah Levine's
eleventh
place finish in 18:46 as they edged Oakton (132) for the final state
team
spot although the Cougars will still have two competitors involved with
freshman Danielle Light (12th; 18:47) joining Keira Carlstrom at the
starting
line.


West Potomac also had two individual qualifiers in junior Jamie
Manner
(10th; 18:46) and senior Kelly Brown (14th; 18:530 with the other
automatic
qualifying spots going to Hayfield sophomore Morgan Phelan (5th;
18:27),
Centreville sophomore Dacia Barr (7th; 18:30), South Lakes freshman
Caroline
Bellis (7th; 18:33) and W.T. Woodson sophomore Kate Griendling (13th;
18:50).

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