The feature attraction at yesterday's Virginia Northern Region Cross-Country Championships at Burke Lake Park was Robinson's Meghan McCarthy, and as per usual it wasn't even close.

Her winning time of 17 minutes 3 seconds was more than a minute ahead of Annandale's Jackie Concaugh, who finished second in 18:08.

"I'm very excited, needless to say," McCarthy said. "I knew coming in that I'd be running against the clock and I just wanted to break 17 {minutes}."

McCarthy, who won last season's regional, had it much easier disposing of her competitors this year.

"This win was very important to me because I think I only won by one or two seconds last year," she said. "Last year was the closest I've ever come to being beat."

For her challengers, first place was out of reach from the beginning. "Honestly I didn't think I could beat Meghan," Concaugh said.

"But considering this was my best race of the season I was still happy. I thought I could finish second if I ran as {hard} as I could."

But even with McCarthy's showing, Robinson still finished second as a team with 86 points to first-place West Potomac's 84.

In the boys race, Annandale's Marcus Brede finished first in 15:28, followed by Hayfield's Roy Borden in 15:34 and West Springfield's Aaron Linz in 15:39.

"It was my best win certainly," Brede said.

"I was surprised that I wasn't challenged more. The other runners couldn't keep up with me going into the final stretch."

Linz, who provided Brede with his stiffest competition early on, faded after pushing himself at the first mile split, and couldn't regroup at the finish.

"I tried to take the first mile hard because the times were slow," Linz said.

"But I faded and let {Brede} get away from me. I thought {coming in} I had a chance at challenging for one of the top slots, {although} I'm not sure if I had a good chance."

While only Robinson's Jimmy Blain placed in the top 10 in 15:48, the Rams still captured team honors with 64 points.

Behind Robinson were T.C. Williams with 73 and West Springfield with 85.

"We couldn't have done much better except finishing one-one," Robinson Coach De Raynes said. "If you had asked me if we would {do this well} in September I would have told you no. But with how well we ran in districts last week, it wasn't as surprising. We were sweating it though."

The top 15 individual finishers and the top four teams in both divisions qualified for the state championships in Charlottesville next Saturday.