Loudoun County High School's Jennifer Lapetoda said she will go through myriad emotions Wednesday at the Group AA Northwestern District cross-country championships.
"I'm excited; it's my last district meet," said Lapetoda, a senior who finished second last year to Sherando's Robyn Ritter. "It's going to be sad, but it's going to be fun, and I'm going to go all out."
Lapetoda has had a great fall, winning the Loudoun cross-country championships easily (last weekend), finishing third at the Handley Invitational, third at the William and Mary AA race and fourth at James Wood. That said, she is one of the favorites to win the girls race at the district championships, which will be run at 3 p.m. at Great Meadow in The Plains.
In the boys race, which starts at 3:30, Potomac Falls senior Jeff Maynard will have his work cut out for him--he will be battling defending Group AA champion Bobby Lockhart of Handley.
"I think that Jeff is going to try to go out with [Lockhart] and stay with him as long as he can," Potomac Falls Coach Brian Blubaugh said. "Bobby likes to take it out hard. . . . Jeff has to be kicking on all cylinders to catch Bobby."
Maynard has been running well all fall, winning the Keyser Invitational earlier this season. He also won the Loudoun County cross-country championships Oct. 16, but his team lost by three points to Loudoun Valley, which is led by sophomore John Tew and senior Matt McWilliams.
"If the boys run in a pack, we are tough to beat," Blubaugh said. "But if we don't, Loudoun Valley can beat us. Maynard can do what he wants, but the race will be won through our [numbers] 2 to 6 runners."
The girls team race will be between Loudoun County, Broad Run and Potomac Falls. In the Loudoun County meet last weekend, the Raiders defeated Broad Run and Potomac Falls.
"We can be anywhere between first to third, and it is going to be a close race," Loudoun County Coach Courtney Campbell said.
Much of her team's success will depend on Lapetoda and Raiders teammate Melissa Caudill, a junior. Other potential front-runners include two freshmen: Broad Run's Audrey Pietrzyk and Potomac Falls's Christy Dannenberg, the only district runner who has beaten Lapetoda this season.
They could be in for a tough run, though, because Lapetoda said she is reaching her peak.
"Right now," she said, "I'm hoping my times will improve a lot toward state."
CAPTION: Jennifer Lapetoda is among the favorites to capture girls division of Group AA Northwestern District championships, the final district meet for senior.