CHARLOTTESVILLE, NOV. 7 -- Never let a miler get near you at the end of a cross country race. Lake Braddock's Vince Hancock and Chris Layton of Lafayette learned that the hard way when Hancock's hard-charging teammate, Brad Baker, passed them five yards from the finish line to win the Virginia AAA state cross country title today in 16:02.7 at Piedmont Community College.
In the girls AAA race, South Lakes' Anne Evans did her charging during the first half-mile of the 5,000-meter race on rolling terrain, opening up a 100-yard lead and winning easily in 18:40.6.
Lake Braddock's boys and girls captured both AAA titles. The girls, led by senior Kim Desmond, who came on at two miles to finish second (18:57), won much easier than expected, scoring 40 points, 31 fewer than Woodbridge, for their second title in as many years.
Within the first half-mile of the boys race, Lake Braddock demonstrated its desire to rewrite the prerace rankings that had the team second behind Woodbridge, running all five scorers within the first 12 runners. The Bruins finished 12 points ahead of Woodbridge, 48-60.
Baker said he thought about sprinting at the end while he was waiting for the start of the race, "since I'm more a miler than a two- or three-miler and can't push the pace at the beginning," he said.
Instead, Baker, who at 5 feet 7, 120 pounds is dwarfed by his competition, let Hancock do all the pushing at the outset. His teammate, who was coming off a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Northern Region championships last week, led the race until the very end.
At the finish, first Layton passed a struggling Hancock, then Baker passed Layton seconds before winning the race. Layton had a 16:04 for second and Hancock came in three seconds later.
Behind senior Richard Murr, who finished second, George Mason won the boys A race by 11 points with 79. Strasburg was second. Murr, as much as 100 yards behind winner Michael Marsh of Prince Edward (16:47.9) throughout much of the race, passed Prince Edward's James Scott over the final half-mile and closed on Marsh.
Kevin Stoots of Marion won the boys AA race, passing William Byrd's David Shell a few yards from the finish. Byrd defeated Marion for the team title, 72-76. Byrd's Christy Atkins defended her AA title, winning in 19:40.8. Louisa won the team title with 45 points.