After spending most of the preseason training with the boys cross-country team, Lake Braddock senior Erin Swain was looking forward to running in the girls division of the Monroe Parker Invitational at Burke Lake Park yesterday. But she did not run with the girls' competitors very long. Swain took the lead for good at the half-mile mark of the hilly course and eventually won the windy, 3.2-mile race in a personal-best time of 17 minutes 42 seconds, ahead of second-place finisher Laurie Yarger of Chantilly, who finished in 18:22.

In the boys division, Oakton senior Matt Maline took the lead after the first mile and won the race in 15:21, ahead of second-place finisher Casey Reardon of West Potomac, who finished in 15:40.

But Maline's performance was not enough to stop Lake Braddock from sweeping the boys and girls team titles. Lake Braddock's girls had 110 points, 29 points ahead of second-place West Springfield. The Bruins' boys had 57 points, ahead of second-place Oakton, which had 155. Twenty-seven teams competed in the meet.

Lake Braddock Coach Marshall Windsor said he had Swain train with the boys team because he wanted to challenge her and to sharpen her for the season. Yesterday, however, he said she looked "lonely" after taking the lead so early.

"Erin is such a hard worker and great leader, which is hard since she only runs with the girls one day a week," Windsor said. "I want her running with the boys because I think that will get her where she needs to be. Today, she learned she can have a great season."

Said Swain: "The training has been really hard, but it paid off today. I took the lead early on and wound up pacing off myself. And I was really happy with my time today."

Maline said yesterday's victory was especially sweet since he had lost two races in the final few yards at Burke Lake Park.

"Even after I took the lead, I wanted to kick and finish strong," Maline said. "In the region final last year I lost in the last 10 yards [to South Lakes All-Met Alan Webb] so even though I did not need to kick today, I did anyway."

Notes: Webb and Jefferson All-Met Kelly Otstott did not compete yesterday. Webb decided to focus on the Great American Cross-Country festival in Charlotte this weekend. Otstott missed the race with a sinus infection.