Sophie Chase won the girls’ championship race at the Maymont Cross-Country Festival on Saturday and, after a short layoff due to injury, re-asserted herself as the top girls’ distance runner in the Washington area.
It was the Lake Braddock senior’s first time on the hilly Maymont Park course in Richmond and also her first 5K this season. She was dazzling in her return, motoring through in 17 minutes 54.38 seconds.
West Springfield’s Caroline Alcorta was runner-up in 18:11.79.
“I was definitely a little doubtful after being injured,” Chase said. “It was good getting back.”
Chase gained a lot of confidence after capping last season with her first state title, an all-American finish at Foot Locker nationals and All-Met Athlete of the Year honors. She eagerly looked to build on that success this season, but things got off to a disappointing start last month when she dropped out of the Monroe Parker Invitational because of leg pain.
Chase, who said that growing one inch over the summer to nearly 5-foot-8 and not stretching properly were probably key reasons why she got hurt, appeared to be at full strength on Saturday. The 17-year-old stayed with the lead pack early, broke away during the second mile and then hammered home to lead Lake Braddock to the team victory. The Bruins put four scorers in the top 10 and easily defeated powerhouse Lee’s Summit West (Miss.), Dowington West (Pa.) and West Springfield.
“All our girls really stepped up,” Chase said. “I was ecstatic to see how much they came together.”
In the boys’ championships race, Severna Park won for the second week in a row. The Falcons didn’t have a standout runner, but their tight pack was enough to easily outscore Cabell Midland (W.Va.) and Dowington West.
Cabell Midland’s Jacob Burcham was the individual winner in a meet-record 15:28.46. All-Met Nick Tuck, a senior at Lake Braddock, was the top area performer. He was runner-up in 15:38.96.
Related: Chantilly’s Sean McGorty sets records at Great American Cross-Country Festival