Six team state championships highlighted the 2004-05 athletic year for Northern Region schools, which swept the boys' and girls' cross-country, swimming and lacrosse championships. Other region teams -- and individuals -- performed well at the state level throughout the year.
At the state cross-country meet in November, Lake Braddock's girls won their state record-tying eighth title, a stunning victory considering that the Bruins had finished a distant second to Oakton in the Northern Region meet. But led by All-Met senior Kelsey Snowden, who finished sixth, Lake Braddock scored 15 more points than second-place James River; Oakton finished fourth.
The girls' individual title was won by Hayfield senior Melissa Dewey, the All-Met athlete of the year, who won the race by more than a minute.
Jefferson's boys had no finishers in the top 15, but the Colonials top five finished within 15 seconds of one another to lead the Alexandria school to its second title in three seasons. West Potomac, which also had no top-15 finishers, finished second, ahead of J.R. Tucker, which finished third despite being considered the pre-race favorite.
The Robinson boys' swimming team continued its dominance by winning a third consecutive state title. The Rams won eight of 12 individual events at February's state meet, including two victories each by senior All-Met Swimmer of the Year Steve Scheren (50- and 100-yard freestyle) and junior Drew Finelli (200 and 500 freestyle). Robinson junior diver Mike Papageorge, who finished second at the Northern Region meet, upset 2004 state champion Mikey McDonald of W.T. Woodson to win his first state crown.
The South Lakes girls' swimming team placed third at the Liberty District meet and second at the region meet, but the Seahawks edged region champion Lake Braddock for the state crown. Junior All-Met Mei Christensen won South Lakes' only individual title (200 individual medley) and swam on the winning 200 medley relay and state record-setting 400 freesyle relay.
Northern Region schools won four team state titles last spring but had to settle for just the unofficial boys' and girls' lacrosse state championships this year. The W.T. Woodson girls repeated as champions with a 20-4 victory over Albemarle this month. Senior All-Met midfielder Ashley McCulloch scored seven goals in the title game to help the Cavaliers finish 16-1 and win their sixth crown overall. McCulloch's five goals against Oakton in the Northern Region final led W.T. Woodson's come-from-behind victory.
The Oakton boys' team won its third straight crown by beating Albemarle, 16-10. The Cougars, with16 seniors this season, improved to 48-7 over the last three years and 75-12 under Coach Tony Gray. Oakton finished 14-4, with three losses against some of the area's best private school teams.
Several teams in other sports finished successful seasons just shy of state titles.
In football, Robinson's bid for a third Virginia AAA Division 6 state championship since 1997 fell short when the Rams lost to Landstown, 47-20, in the title game on Dec. 11 in Richmond. Robinson came into the game undefeated but was down 20-0 before 15 minutes had passed in the game. In Division 5, W.T. Woodson captured its first region title by defeating Edison, 29-25, after having lost in the previous two region finals. Woodson's season ended with a 16-12 loss to North Stafford in a state semifinal.
In basketball, Wakefield's boys' energized their Arlington community with an unbeaten regular season and district and region championships. The Warriors fell to Landstown in a Virginia AAA semifinal to conclude a 28-1 season. Hayfield's boys also qualified for the state tournament. On the girls' side, Oakton won the region championship and advanced to the state semifinals before losing to 2004 state champ Forest Park. Meantime, W.T. Woodson's first trip to the state tournament since 1994 ended with a loss to eventual champion Princess Anne in the semifinal.
This month, the Northern Region champions in both boys' and girls' soccer lost in their respective state finals. W.T. Woodson's boys' team lost in sudden-death overtime to Thomas Dale, 1-0, after almost netting the game-winner moments earlier. Lake Braddock's girls dropped a 2-0 decision to Kellam. It is the first time since 1984, when the Virginia High School League added a AAA girls' championship, that a Northern Virginia team has held neither title.