Late burst gives Sidwell Friends’s Ellie Leape her first ISL cross-country championship

Ellie Leape was in second place with plenty of ground to gain when she hit the 2.5-mile mark. Still a decent distance away from taking the lead in the ISL cross-country championship at Bullis on Saturday, Leape had one final hill to conquer — and the Sidwell Friends freshman needed an extra burst to capture the individual title.

Sidwell Coach Gaby Grebski had a feeling Leape would make that final push. As Leape ran by with a little more than a half-mile left, Grebski told her she could catch up.

“She runs very evenly, very patiently,” Grebski said. “She doesn’t panic. I told her I thought she could catch her.”

From that point, Grebski lost sight of Leape as she entered the final stretch of the 3.1-mile course. It wasn’t until after the race ended that Grebski realized Leape won the ISL individual crown.

Leape passed Georgetown Visitation’s Emily Kaplan on the final turn and entered the chute with the lead, finishing first with a time of 19 minutes 20 seconds.

Kaplan (19:41) finished second, with Visitation teammate Lauren Cormier (19:49) placing third. Visitation won the team title.

Leape said the final hill was tough. She was able to conserve enough energy before hitting the final flat piece of land.

“It was tough, I was really tired,” Leape said. “But I just didn’t think about it. I just tried to get to the finish line.”

Finishing behind Visitation (35 points) in the team meet were National Cathedral (56) and Georgetown Day (83).

Also competing at Bullis were the IAC and MAC leagues. St. Albans’s Tai Dinger led from start to finish and won the conference title in 15:55. St. Albans teammates Marcelo Jauregui-Colpe (16:42) and Joey Gaines (16:42) rounded out the top three, leading St. Albans to the team title, with Landon (50) and Episcopal (83) finishing second and third, respectively.

“I’ve been ramping up the training my junior and senior years,” Dinger said. “It’s very mental. Back there, by myself, it was tough to keep the pace up. I know I dropped the pace a bit but I just wanted to finish strong to be able to finish under 16 [minutes].”

Potomac School’s Hale Ross won the MAC individual title in 16:04. Georgetown Day’s Tristan Colaizzi (16:25) and Aidan Pillard (16:29) were second and third. Georgetown Day (33) won the team title with four top-10 finishers. Sidwell Friends (46) and Potomac School (63) were second and third.

Ross, who finished third in this race last year, said he dedicated his offseason regimen for this particular event.

“Last year, I was right up there in the top pack and totally collapsed in the last 100 [meters],” Ross said. “Over the summer, my main thought was coming back and getting this.”

Wilson sweeps DCIAA

Wilson won the boys’ and girls’ team titles in the DCIAA cross-country meet at Fort Dupont Park.

Wilson senior Ross Pendergast led the Tigers with a second-place finish in 17:01. Freshmen Aaron Coates (18:09) and Ian Emlet (18:26) were fifth and sixth. Cardozo finished second in the team standings.

“I feel great about the result and it’s the fourth year in a row winning the city championship,” Wilson boys’ Coach Patrick O’Steen said. “This is probably best group of guys I’ve coached.”

The Wilson girls swept the top five for a perfect 15 points. Freshman Mayim Lehrich won the individual girls’ title in 20:36. Sophomore Asia Amis (21:07) and senior Jacinda Miller (21:18) completed the top three. Junior Margaret Kellog and freshman Arrington Peterson were fourth and fifth, respectively.

“For us to walk away with a one-through-five sweep definitely exceeded our expectations,” Wilson girls’ Coach Desmond Dunham said.

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