Caroline Alcorta’s season of dominance continued Friday with her first Virginia High School League cross-country championship.
Alcorta’s time of 17 minutes 13 seconds set a new record on the Great Meadow course in The Plains and gave the West Springfield senior the girls’ 6A individual crown. From the sound of the starting gun, it was Alcorta’s race to lose. She burst from the starting line and never looked back.
“It’s amazing,” Alcorta said. “I felt good out there today. I couldn’t be any happier.”
Alcorta wasn’t even a runner when she began participating in high school sports as a freshman.
She joined the Spartans’ lacrosse program in the ninth grade, and decided to join the track team to help with her conditioning. She fell in love with racing and switched sports.
Now, she’s a state champion who earlier this week pledged to run track and cross-country at the University of North Carolina next fall.
“I don’t really have words for it,” Alcorta said. “I have to thank Coach [Chris] Pellegrini for it. He had faith in me. I didn’t know I could do this. He keeps telling me I can. He’s right.”
Rounding out the top three in the 6A girls’ race were Lake Braddock teammates Hannah Christen (17:52) and Katy Kunc (17:59).
Oakton won the girls’ 6A team title, capturing its first-ever championship with 55 points. Washington-Lee (100) finished second.
Oakton placed five runners in the top 20, with Allie Klimkiewicz (18:01) finishing fourth.
Since 2005, the Cougars have been the runner-up three times, including last year.
“It’s something that we decided to claim instead of saying, ‘Let’s try to improve on where we were,’” Oakton Coach Alisa Byers said. “The improvement from last year would be a state title.”
Oakton’s John Stoney won the boys’ 6A individual title with a time of 15:24.
“I’ve wanted this more than I’ve wanted anything in a long time,” Stoney said, holding a framed picture of him crossing the finish line. “I just gave everything I had in this race. The training I’ve done, I’ve tried to work as hard as possible.”
Lake Braddock’s Alex Corbett (15:35) and Chantilly’s Ryan McGorty (15:45) finished second and third, respectively. Chantilly’s 85 points were just enough for the team title, edging runner-up Lake Braddock’s 87. It’s the second consecutive team title for the Chargers.
Stoney kept with the front of the pack from the race’s beginning. With less than a mile left in the race, Stoney started his kick toward the finish line.
“I just bided my time,” Stoney said. “I thought [Corbett] was on me the rest of the way so I kept pushing myself to get the win.”
Edison senior Louis Colson won the boys’ 5A state meet in 15:06, the best overall time of the day. He broke away from the pack about halfway through the race on the downhill part of the course.
“Going in I knew there would be a lot of competition, so I tried to stay with the pack and see where it would go from there,” Colson said.
Stone Bridge’s 94 points were good for second place behind champion Deep Run (90) in the boys’ 5A team meet.
In the girls’ 5A race, Tuscarora’s Anna Wasko (18:49) finished third, the best among local runners. Jefferson (107) finished runner-up to Mills Godwin (73) in the girls’ 5A team standings.
Woodgrove’s Emma Gillies (18:39) finished an area-best third in the girls’ 4A race.
Dominion’s Trent Lancaster (16:29) finished an area-best 10th in the boys’ 4A race.
The VHSL cross-country championships will continue Saturday, with the 3A, 2A and 1A races scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.