Potomac junior Erik Uribe and Hylton senior Zorina Hess each ran the best races of their high school careers yesterday to help their respective boys and girls teams to victory at yesterday's Cardinal District cross-country meet at Leesylvania State Park.
Potomac senior Jason Lewis completed the three-mile course in 15 minutes 14 seconds to win the boys race, and Gar-Field junior Dionne Evans--last year's district champion--out-kicked Hylton's Richelle Plotz to win the girls race in 18:07.
The top four boys and girls teams qualified for the Northwestern Region meet in Charlottesville next week. Any runner who finished in the top 15 and whose team did not qualify will go to regionals as an individual.
With Lewis and second-place Jamaal Saunders leading the charge, the Panthers boys captured four of the top 10 places to finish with 39 points--13 ahead of second-place Woodbridge. Uribe finished fourth overall with a personal course record of 15:33.
"Erik ran the race of his life today," Potomac Coach Bill Stearns said. "I put the pressure on our top four guys to win this race for us today because our number five runner [junior Barrett Newsome] is a first-year runner. We've had an up-and-down year because of injuries, but they really came together this week."
Panthers senior Jimmy Thayer, who missed much of the season with a knee injury, took the lead going into the hills--which begin after the first mile--but eventually fell back to eighth overall with a time of 15:56.
"Coach told Jimmy and I that we both had to aim for finishing in the top six if our team was going to have a chance of winning," Uribe said. "When I saw Jimmy falling back, I knew it had to be his knee and that I had to make up for him. I knew I had to catch every guy in front of me that wasn't from Potomac."
Uribe passed three opponents in the last mile and improved on his course record by more than 20 seconds. As it turned out, Newsome also eclipsed Stearns's pre-race estimation by finishing in 16:58, 24th overall.
"The gap between us and Woodbridge is not as great as it was today," Stearns said. "All of our guys had a great day and not all of the Woodbridge guys had their best day. They will be right with us at regionals."
In the girls race, Hylton blitzed the competition by taking five of the top 10 spots. Plotz was second at 18:12, Hess was fourth (18:41) with junior Katie Golden (18:42) right behind her. Alison Elk and Shania Ambrose took ninth and 10th place.
"I think all my girls set personal course records," Hylton Coach Chris McGivern said. "Zorina really came out and ran like an experienced senior today. She was one of the major factors we were so dominating today."
Hess said it was the first time this season she had beaten Golden in a race.
"It's always my goal to stay with Katie," Hess said. "Normally I finish a little ways behind her, but today I felt her pushing hard down the last stretch and I just couldn't let her pass me."
Hess's younger sister, freshman Jemissa Hess, finished 12th overall in the girls race and qualified for the regional tournament.
1, Potomac 39; 2, Woodbridge 52; 3, Hylton 76; 4, Gar-Field 87; 5, Osbourn 135; 6, Stonewall Jackson 137; 7, Osbourn Park 159.
1, Jason Lewis, Potomac, 15:14; 2, Jamaal Saunders, Potomac, 15:26; 3, Mike Lyng, Woodbridge, 15:29; 4, Erik Uribe, Potomac, 15:33; 5, Mike Barnett, Gar-Field, 15:38; 6, Nathan Brown, Hylton 15:31; 7, Derek Grotheer, 15:45; 8, Jimmy Thayer, Potomac, 15:56; 9, Micah Smith, Gar-Field, 15:59; 10, Nick Wilson, Hylton, 16:02; 11, J.L. Delayen, Woodbridge, 16:03, 12, Robin Poulath, Stonewall Jackson, 16:04; 13, Brian Deesch, Osbourn, 16:05; 14, Bill Tarantino, Woodbridge, 16:06; 15, Jeff Mundt, Osbourn Park.
1, Hylton 28; 2, Woodbridge 75; 3, Osbourn Park 78; 4, Stonewall Jackson 105; 5, Osbourn 114; 6, Gar-Field 115.
1, Dionne Evans, Gar-Field, 18:07; 2, Richelle Plotz, Hylton, 18:12; 3, Moriah O'Brien, Osbourn Park, 18:20; 4, Zorina Hess, Hylton, 18:41; 5, Katie Golden, Hylton, 18:42, 6, Carol McCree, Osbourn, 18:45; 7, Kelly Urso, Stonewall Jackson, 18:50; 8, Johanna Allen, Potomac, 18:58; 9, Alison Elk, Hylton, 19:15, 10, Shania Ambrose, Hylton, 19:19; 11, Catherine Seguin, Woodbridge, 19:20; 12, Jemissa Hess, Hylton, 19:23; 13, Beth Fowler, Woodbridge, 19:48; 14, Katherine Warden, Osbourn Park, 19:49; 15, Lori Westley, Gar-Field, 19:51.