For dozens of Northern Virginia high school cross country runners, the state meet last week was not the final race of the season.
Saturday, they will compete in the regional qualifying meet of the Kinney Cross Country Championships. The Southern Regional race will be held at McAlpine-Greenway Park in Charlotte, N.C., at 11 a.m. The first eight boys and girls to finish will earn a trip to the national finals, Dec. 8 at Balboa Park in San Diego.
Now in its sixth year, the Kinney championships are the only national program for high school athletes in any sport.
The other regionals will be contested in New York, Racine, Wis., and Fresno, Calif. All races will be run over 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) courses.
Of those Virginia runners planning on running in the Kinney regional, Langley sophomore Erin Keogh has probably the best chance to qualify for the finals. Last year, Keogh, the Virginia AAA state winner, was 10th, missing the finals by two places. Her Saxon teammmate, Vicki Verinder, now at N.C. State, was the best female finisher from the Washington metropolitan area, qualifying fourth but running poorly at the finals.
Woodbridge sophomore Andrew Hudson should fare well for the boys. Hudson was third in the state last week. Another sophomore, Jeff Pajak of Annandale, will also be competing this weekend. Pajak was fifth in the state. His teammate, Cliff Holtz, was the best boys performer last year, qualifying sixth in the regionals and finishing 23rd in the finals.
Jason Morgan, the Virginia AA state champion, Handley teammate Bootsie Brown and North Stafford's Nicky Embrey will race.
Some of the other top runners from the area who will compete are Lake Braddock's Kristi Cassell; Angie Cheek of Stonewall Jackson; Tama Clare of Robinson; Kathy Graves and Sandy Sanford from South Lakes; Annandale's Bill Boatright, and girls team standout Aimee Harms of Annandale; Langley's Jody Clarke, Sharon Poole, Juliet Planicka and Steve Dupree; Stuart's Mike Brooks; and O'Connell's Pat DeWine.
Some of the finest young soccer players will participate in the Arlington-Key Bridge Marriott International tournament at a number of fields in Arlington this weekend.
The tournament will feature 98 teams of boys and girls playing in 13 age divisions. Teams from as far away as Canada, Michigan, and New England will compete along with the local squads.