At Thursday's Virginia AA Northwestern District cross-country championships, Brentsville senior Pat Eggleston said he was feeling as good as he had all season -- and that's saying something, because it's already been a feel-good season for Eggleston and the Tigers.
Eggleston blazed to the district championship in a time of 16 minutes 11 seconds on the Great Meadow course in The Plains, and the Tigers' boys won a decisive team title, 22-62 over runner-up Handley.
"I think I'm getting back to full strength," said Eggleston, who missed a few of the season's first invitationals with an ankle injury. "I just tried to run relaxed today."
Brentsville teammate Nick Gehlsen was second in a time of 16:25, as Brentsville's top five runners finished among the top eight. All seven Tiger runners finished in the top 16.
The top four teams and the top 15 individual finishers qualified for the AA Region II meet Thursday at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington.
The district title is the latest achievement in a season filled with success. At the Wendy's Invitational in Charlotte in September, the Tigers won the championship in dominating fashion; the following week, they took 14th at the elite Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, N.C.
With Eggleston back in the lineup, the Tigers' only major local challenge has come from Jefferson, a AAA school from Alexandria that beat Brentsville at the Glory Days Invitational on Oct. 9.
"The goal is to win AA," Eggleston said. "We worked really hard over the summer. We wanted to work harder than any other team. When we get to the starting line, we know we're the hardest working team in Virginia."
And the success doesn't end with the boys. The Tigers girls made it a sweep as sophomore Becky Stewart easily won the individual crown 19:11, well ahead of James Wood's Stephanie Shenk (19:30). The Tigers had 42 points -- five Brentsville runners finished in the top 15 -- followed by Handley's 72.
The meet was at the same site as the state championship meet on Nov. 13 but it was run on a different, less hilly course. Stewart jumped to a big lead and was never really contested.
"I had no idea what to expect out there," said Stewart, who finished fifth in the district as a freshman. "I felt really good and I was just trying to run my best."
Cedar Run District
Osbourn Park senior Emily Arena had jitters that kept her up the night before Thursday's Cedar Run District cross-country championships at Great Meadow. Arena was a favorite to win the race, and she wanted the win badly.
On race day, however, Arena shook off the nerves quickly, pulling ahead midway through to win easily in 20:01, well ahead of Potomac junior Allison Hess (20:27).
"I have been thinking about this all week -- last night I couldn't sleep," Arena said. "I've never won a championship before, and I really wanted to win. . . . I knew that once the gun went off the nervous energy would go straight to my legs and I'd start running."
Before the meet, Arena got a call from her brother Anthony to wish her good luck. Anthony, a 2003 Osbourn Park grad, won two Cedar Run District titles and was the All-Extra Runner of the Year in 2002.
"My mom's a runner, my dad's a runner, my brother's a runner," Emily said. "It's not really a bragging rights thing, it's more that I wanted to make a point, I guess."
First-year school Battlefield won the team title, led by a fourth-place finish from freshman Kelly Gass. The Bobcats had 40 points, followed closely by Osbourn's 43.
In the boys' race, Osbourn senior Charles Swartz (16:21) held off Battlefield junior Jason Driscoll (16:32) to win his second straight district title. Osbourn Park, led by Mitch Lopacki's third-place finish, won the title with 42 points, followed by Osbourn's 54.
The top four teams in the Cedar Run and Cardinal districts qualified for the Northwestern Region championship meet Thursday at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville.
Led by standouts Bryce Iverson and Stefanie Slekis, Forest Park swept the Cardinal District championships Thursday at Leesylvania State Park.
Slekis, a junior, won her sixth race of the year in a time of 17:24 and led the Bruins girls to their third straight district title with 30 points. Teammate Erin Caskey was second (18:10), followed by Woodbridge's Amanda Wallace (19:36), who helped the Vikings to a second-place finish.
Iverson, a senior, won his third straight district title, finishing in 15:06 to lead six Bruins boys among the top eight as Forest Park finished with 20 points. Woodbridge senior Travis Carleton took second (15:42) for the runner-up Vikings.
Thursday at Leesylvania State Park
1, Forest Park, 20; 2, Woodbridge, 38; 3, Gar-Field, 78; 4, Freedom, 134.
1, Bryce Iverson, Forest Park, 15 minutes 6 seconds; 2, Travis Carleton, Woodbridge, 15:42; 3, Ryan Shea, Forest Park, 15:53; 4, Peter Brandt, Forest Park, 15:59; 5, Mike Ross, Forest Park, 16:01; 6, Daniel McCaslin, Woodbridge, 16:09; 7, Erich Fritz, Forest Park, 16:18; 8, Mark Silva, Forest Park; 9, Drew Magalski, Woodbridge, 16:28; 10, Gabe Amaro, Woodbridge, 16:30; 11, Jose Melgarejo, Woodbridge, 16:30; 12, Devin Huling, Gar-Field, 16:32; 13, Stephen Lord, Gar-Field, 16:43; 14, Sean Kerr, Woodbridge, 16:51; 15, Jorge Camacho, Gar-Field, 17:04.
1, Forest Park, 30; 2, Woodbridge, 56; 3, Gar-Field, 59; 4, Hylton, 95.
1, Stefanie Slekis, Forest Park, 17:24; 2, Erin Caskey, Forest Park, 18:10; 3, Amanda Wallace, Woodbridge, 19:36; 4, Genova Washington, Gar-Field; 5, Aubree Washington, Gar-Field, 19:53; 6, Stefanie Brown, Hylton, 19:58; 7, Kristen Story, Forest Park, 19:59; 8, Sara Owermohle, Forest Park, 20:19; 9, Melissa Kirby, Gar-Field, 20:30; 10, Cherie Seise, Woodbridge, 20:39; 11, Lindsay Johnson, Woodbridge, 20:43; 12, Chelsea Paprocki, Forest Park, 20:48; 13, Mariah Colcombe, Forest Park, 20:54; 14, Althea Bryant, Hylton, 21:01; 15, Kate Dewland, Woodbridge, 21:09.
Cedar Run District
Thursday at Great Meadow
1, Osbourn Park, 42; 2, 2, Osbourn, 54; 3, Potomac, 56; 4, Battlefield, 70; 5, Stonewall Jackson, 116.
1, Charlie Swartz, Osbourn, 16:21.82; 2, Jason Driscoll, Battlefield, 16:32.64; 3, Mitch Lopacki, Osbourn Park, 16:50.74; 4, Glen Weaver, Osbourn, 17:02.84; 5, Carl Brown, Potomac, 17:11.20; 6, Ben Kimball, Osbourn Park, 17:13.73; 7, Eric Hoepker, Battlefield, 17:21.24; 8, Eric Lieser, Potomac, 17:35.73; 9, Mike Robertson, Osbourn Park, 17:42.71; 10, John Draper, Osbourn Park, 17:45.82; 11, Daniel Hancharick, Potomac, 17:57.01; 12, Declan Grogan, Osbourn, 18:02.12; 13, Ryan Changes, Potomac, 18:04.60; 14, Joey Renton, Osbourn Park, 18:06.20; 15, Evan Money, Osbourn, 18:17.75.
1, Battlefield, 40; 2, Osbourn, 43; 3, Osbourn Park, 54; 4, Potomac, 87.
1, Emily Arena, Osbourn Park, 20:01.59; 2, Allison Hess, Potomac, 20:27.25; 3, Lindsay North, Osbourn, 20:50.21; 4, Kelly Gass, Battlefield, 21:11.30; 5, Alisa Barrett, Osbourn, 21:12.55; 6, Elizabeth Walls, Battlefield, 21:25.91; 7, Angela Cota, Osbourn, 21:46.07; 8, Natalie Connell, Battlefield, 21:49.55; 9, Jessica Larsen, Battlefield, 21:50.60; 10, Brittany Vogel, Osbourn, 22:00.57; 11, Denise Field, Osbourn Park, 22:11.03; 12, Melissa Crist, Osbourn Park, 22:20.82; 13, Gabrielle Camacho, Battlefield, 22:22.42; 14, Rebecca Green, Osbourn Park, 22:31.99; 15, Mary Thayer, Potomac, 22:46.74.
Thursday at Great Meadow
1, Brentsville, 22; 2, Handley, 62; 3, James Wood, 89; 4, Sherando, 90.
1, Pat Eggleston, Brentsville, 16:11.11; 2, Nick Gehlsen, Brentsville, 16:25.89; 3, Levi Watson, Sherando, 16:45.84; 4, Jacob Watts, Brentsville, 16:48.01; 5, Nathan Marsh, Handley, 16:50.75; 6, Kevin Pugh, James Wood, 16:52.44; 7, Adam Henken, Brentsville, 16:53.05; 8, Henry Melius, Brentsville, 16:54.29; 9, Clint Schiavone, Handley, 17:02.29; 10, Ray Delgado, Brentsville, 17:03.13; 11, Jacob Pattyson, James Wood, 17:08.05; 12, Ben Chrisinger, Fauquier, 17:09.52; 13, Ryan Witt, Sherando, 17:12.24; 14, Erin McWhorter, Handley, 17:19.63; 15, Cameron Crowell, Handley, 17:20.58.
1, Brentsville, 42; 2, Handley, 72; 3, Liberty, 86; 4, James Wood, 91.
1, Becky Stewart, Brentsville, 19:11.43; 2, Stephanie Shenk, James Wood, 19:30.25; 3, Jillian Pollack, Millbrook, 19:42.41; 4, Erin Bender, Handley, 19:48.20; 5, Anna Cote, Handley, 19:56.56; 6, Deanna Andrews, Liberty, 20:03.20; 7, Alex Kulifay, Brentsville, 20:12.10; 8, Rachel Fichthorn, Liberty, 20:16.32; 9, Julia Mitchell, Brentsville. 20:21.25; 10, Rachel Hamilton, Brentsville, 20:41.79; 11, Carolyn Smith, Millbrook, 20:44.82; 12, Ashley Timmer, James Wood, 20:48.43; 13, Lauren Pugh, James Wood, 20:48.74; 14, Julia Wanch, Fauquier, 20:49.21; 15, Amelia Emerson, Brentsville, 20:56.75.
Note: Top four teams and top 15 individuals advance to region meets.