The Brentsville boys cross-country team has been riddled with injuries this season, but the Tigers may be healing just in time to defend their Virginia A state championship.

Senior Connor Eggleston and junior Ben Bear will race for the first time this season in today's Bull Run District championships at Rappahannock. Eggleston has been out all season with hip tendinitis. Bear has been out with a stress fracture in his shin.

Brentsville's top returner, David Aleman, has missed the past two weeks with a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Aleman, the defending state champion, began training this week and hopes to race in next week's Region B championships. How much the three will be able to help the Tigers is difficult to predict, Coach Rob Dulin said.

"It's all a question of how quickly they can recover," Dulin said. "We've had some pretty strong guys running in their place, so we will just have to see."

Dulin also is hoping his top girls runner, Callie Cribley, can return to form after a minor calf injury that kept her out of practice Monday.

The opening of the Freedom Exercise Center in southern Manassas has given the wounded Tigers a place to perform low-impact training such as riding stationary bikes and pool running.

"Those are things we've never been able to do before," Dulin said.

The Commonwealth District cross-country meet is Thursday at 4 at Great Meadows, and the Cardinal District holds its meet Friday at Leesylvania State Park at 3:30.

North Stafford Field Hockey Wins

The North Stafford field hockey team advanced to the Commonwealth District tournament final by defeating Culpeper, 2-1, yesterday. Two-time defending district champion Stafford won the other semifinal, 3-1, over Fauquier.

The championship game will be played at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Stafford. Both teams have clinched spots in Tuesday's Northwestern Region semifinals. Woodbridge, the only Cardinal District team that plays varsity field hockey, can advance to the regional semifinals with a win over Culpeper Monday.

In yesterday's North Stafford game, sophomore Julie Price put the Wolverines on the board about five minutes into the game after taking a pass from senior Leigh Swift. Sophomore Kelly Hartman made it 2-0 just one second before halftime by converting a penalty corner. If not for a new rule this season that stops the clock for penalty corners at the end of each half, Hartman's goal would not have occurred, North Stafford Coach Eliza Scott said.

"We definitely had some missed opportunities and gave them some chances, but we pulled it out," Scott said.

North Stafford outshot Culpeper 22-20 in the game.

Stafford (12-3) dominated Fauquier for much of the game and got goals from Lorrie Watts and Ashley Roberson five minutes apart in the first half. Ashley Dowling assisted on both goals.

Fauquier narrowed the margin on Landis Sargent's penalty corner goal with 18 minutes 5 seconds remaining. The Falcons, who were outshot 18-3 in the game, began pressing for the tying goal, but senior Bobbie Decatur added an insurance goal with 10:50 remaining.

"We didn't play very well," Stafford Coach Robin Woodie said. "We didn't have the kind of intensity we usually have. The girls did enough to get by, but I hope we can rally at practice [Wednesday] and get ready for North Stafford."

Woodbridge Girls Tennis Falls

The Woodbridge girls tennis team's season ended in yesterday's Virginia AAA state quarterfinals with a 9-0 loss to Mills Godwin. The Vikings (16-2) did not win a set, and the closest match was at No. 1 doubles, where seniors Mariko Esannason and Emily Heberer lost, 6-4, 6-3, to Elizabeth Lau and Ari Pollack.

Mills Godwin (12-3), a Richmond school, lost in last year's state semifinals to eventual champion Centreville. Among Mills Godwin's victories this season was a 5-4 decision over E.C. Glass, which swept Woodbridge, 9-0, in the Northwestern Region final.

CAPTION: After finishing 10th in 5,000 meters Saturday, Brentsville's top girls runner, Callie Cribley, right, hugs teammate Bethany Kitonis, who placed 43rd.