The area's cross-country teams compete today in the region meets as they attempt to qualify for the Nov. 13 state championships at Great Meadow.
The AAA Northwestern Region meet is at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville at noon. Brentsville will participate in the AA Region II meet at Virginia Horse Center in Lexington at 2 p.m.
Forest Park junior Stefanie Slekis is the likely favorite in the Northwestern Region girls' race, and the defending champion Bruins appear to have a good shot at finishing in the top four and qualifying for the state meet.
Slekis finished in second place last year and has not slowed down this season. She has won six races, capped by a Cardinal District championship win in which she ran the fastest time in Leesylvania Park history, 17 minutes 24 seconds, breaking by seven seconds the record held by former Hylton standout Jemissa Hess.
Colonial Forge's Kaylan Comer won the Commonwealth District, and she finished fourth behind Slekis at the Great Meadow Invitational on Sept. 11. Franklin County's Brittany Killough won the Western Valley District championship by a minute and also could contend.
Forest Park senior Bryce Iverson was the boys' runner-up last season, an easy winner at the Cardinal District meet this year and is a favorite to win the region boys' race. Iverson was nagged by a a foot injury all season, but last Thursday he blazed through Leesylvania's 2.95-mile course in 15:06.
His contenders include E.C. Glass junior Patterson Wilhelm, who won the Western Valley championship, and Culpeper junior Devin Cornwall.
In the AA Region II meet, Brentsville's boys, led by the one-two combination of Pat Eggleston and Nick Gehlsen, continue their quest for a state title. After a strong regular season and a Northwestern District title last week, the Tigers will be going up against arguably the best region in the state.
Defending AA state champion Fort Defiance won the Valley District again and is still tough. With a strong top three, Potomac Falls has been just a step behind Brentsville in a few meets this season and won the Dulles District convincingly. All three teams could conceivably make up the top three finishers not only at regionals but at the state meet, as well.
Brentsville will be in the thick of things in a tough girls' race, led by sophomore Becky Stewart, the district champion. Defending champion Western Albemarle is tough; the Warriors are led by senior Tasmin Fanning, who has won four races this season.