One looked at the Northern Region cross country meet as a chance to improve on a subpar performance. The other looked at it as one last shot. But after the race Chantilly's Lance Muniz and South Lakes' Anne Evans each had reached their goals, winning the regional meet.
Muniz and Evans, both seniors, used their experience to help them to victories. But Muniz, unlike Evans, was not a heavy favorite to win the meet. Lake Braddock's Vince Hancock was the pre-race favorite, winning several big Virginia meets and finishing second in two Metropolitan events.
Muniz' father, however, put a thought in the back of his mind that may have helped him mentally prepare for the race.
"My father told me it was my last race at Burke Lake Park and I better make something of it," Muniz said. "I kept saying that to myself in the last mile."
Muniz stayed close to the front most of the way before grabbing the lead with a half-mile to go. He finished the 3.1-mile course 2.2 seconds ahead of Lake Braddock's Brad Baker. Hancock finished sixth.
Evans, on the other hand, was coming off a subpar Great Falls district meet run at the same course.
"The week before I wasn't feeling very well," Evans said. "I got boxed in early and had to sprint up the first hill to get out of the pack. This week I conserved my energy and it helped me run a consistent race."
Evans was also content to sit back behind a group of three until the two and a half mile mark. She paced Lake Braddock's Kim Desmond, who set the early pace, and finished 15 seconds ahead of T. C. Williams Jennifer Seltz.
In addition to the eight teams that advanced to the state meet (see highlights), five boys and seven girls also qualified unattached for this Saturday's competition. The top 15 times on each side earned state berths.