Oakton's girls made a big statement with a fourth-place finish at the Great American Cross-Country Festival in Cary, N.C.

The Cougars finished fourth overall in the race of champions, behind Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) and Smoky Hill (Colo.), teams ranked first and second, respectively, in the nation. Oakton had 192 points to finish ahead of four teams ranked in the top 10 in the Southeast region.

Junior Kayley Byrne was 35th (19:21), and senior Allegra Smith was right behind at 41st. Senior Danielle Light was 56th, junior Carley Hudson was 60th and sophomore Meredith Tighe was 70th.

"Traditionally we've been very strong at one-two-three, but we haven't had a team this strong top to bottom," Oakton Coach Phil Tiller said. "You've got to feel good when you're going up against the best teams in the country ad you're competing with them. This is a talented group of kids, a very hard-working group."

Oakton won the Lake Fairfax Invitational in dominating fashion on Sept. 18 against Northern Region competition, and they were also champions at the Mount St. Mary's Invitational on Sept. 11.

Dewey Rolls On

Melissa Dewey continued her dominance on Saturday at the William & Mary Invitational and showed that she could be the runner to beat in Virginia.

Dewey won the 2.85-mile race in 16:49, pulling away late and easily beating defending champion Amanda Patterson by 19 seconds.

Dewey is unbeaten this fall, but her decisive win against Patterson, one of the state's top returners, at a big statewide meet was a good sign that she could be one of the state's best.

Westfield's Alexis Deegan placed ninth overall, and W.T. Woodson's Sarah Scott was 11th. Westfield finished an area-best seventh overall with 210 points. Western Albemarle won with 125.

Hayfield's Brian Fussell was the top area boys' finisher, taking eighth in a time of 14:54. Woodside's Derrick Robbins (14:16) edged Georgetown Prep All-Met Steven Duplinsky (14:17) for the victory.

West Springfield took fifth among the boys with 214 points. Colonial Forge had 115 points to defeat Gaithersburg, which had 143.

Region Rules Oktoberfest

Area teams dominated the Oktoberfest Invitational last Saturday at Great Meadows in The Plains.

Chantilly junior Brad Siragusa kept up his winning ways by holding off Lee senior Dawit Legesse to win the five-kilometer race in 16:14.

Legesse finished in 16:17 and was followed by Lake Braddock senior Brad Clark in third. Jefferson's Kyle Smith, Paul Norland and Chris Katilie were fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, as the Colonials cruised to the team win with 42 points.

In the girls' race, all five of Lake Braddock's top runners finished in the top eight and the Bruins won with 29 points, well ahead of Brooke Point (113) and Jefferson (171).

The Bruins' Erin Klein was third, followed by Fairfax's Jessica Trapeni in fourth. The next four runners were Bruins -- Kelsey Snowden, Kelly Sherrard, Michelle Presley and Becca Hoogland. O'Connell's Christine Walls was ninth.

Hayfield senior Melissa Dewey, shown at last fall's Northern Region championship, has emerged as the area's top runner. She has yet to lose a race this fall.Oakton senior Danielle Light helped the Cougars place third at a national meet in North Carolina.