The 5,000-meter boys private school cross country championship at Georgetown Prep yesterday was reduced to a sprinters duel when Gonzaga's Sekou Coleman caught Good Counsel's Kevin Sierka 100 yards from the finish.

Sierka, who had led from the start, sporting a 100-yard advantage midway through the race, held on, edging Coleman by a stride, 16:37 to 16:38.

DeMatha's Kyle Sullivan finished in the same position he had held thoughout the race, third, in 16:47.

"After the first mile and throughout the rest of the race, I was really confident, I had such a big lead," said Sierka.

Gonzaga placed all five scorers in the top 10, totalling 29 points to defend its title over DeMatha, 56. Good Counsel (72) was third.

A young Paul VI squad, led by sophomore Kristen Plavchan, swept the top four places and added a seventh place to capture the girls title with 17 points. Holy Cross was second with 52 and defending champion O'Connell took third with 71.

Plavchan trailed teammate Kelly Bumgarner until the final 200 yards, where she ran even with Bumgarner for a few steps before leaving her to win her first major title, in 22:05.

Bumgarner finished second in 22:14 and teammate Beth Kennedy was third at 22:38.

"I don't know what happened," said Plavchan. "I was really psyched for this race."