Northern (Va.) Exposure

Forest Park senior Bryce Iverson has shown steady improvement since moving from Alaska before his sophomore year and is now one of the top runners in the state. Last season, he finished 10th overall at Virginia AAA, fourth-best among runners returning this season. Although he is the favorite in the Northwestern Region, he has his work cut out for him to overtake the other returners at the state level. Iverson finished about 20 seconds behind the top finishing underclassman last year -- third-place Derrick Robbins of Woodside -- and he took second Saturday at the Great Meadow Invitational, 20 seconds in back of J.R. Tucker senior Michael Chapa, who was fourth in the state last year.

She's the One

The Forest Park girls' team will look decidedly different after the Bruins lost five of the seven runners who finished first through seventh at the Cardinal District meet last fall. Back, though, is Stefanie Slekis, a second-team All-Met who is among the favorites to compete for a state title this fall.

Follow the Leaders

How long will it be before new Haymarket school Battlefield is a force on the local cross-country scene? Coach Joe Huddle won five boys' state titles and two girls' state titles at Central-Woodstock, and the school's athletic director, Dave Davis, headed programs at Woodbridge, Hylton and, most recently, Forest Park.

A Step Up

For years, Brentsville dominated at the single-A level, especially on the girls' side, as the Tigers won seven consecutive state titles from 1995 until 2001 (the boys won the state title in 2002). Last year, Brentsville moved up to AA, but the change in competition didn't seem to faze them, as the girls took fourth at the state meet and the boys' placed third.

-- SEAN P. FLYNN