All classifications in Virginia will be laden with returning standouts, as eight of the top 10 runners in groups AAA, AA and A return to the trails this fall. In Group A, Clarke County sophomore Danielle Moyer returns after leading her team to the overall title last year, while in AA, top-10 finishers such as Broad Run's Stephanie Garcia, Millbrook's Jillan Pollack and Handley's Erin Bender are back. In AAA, Melissa Dewey has graduated, but the rest of the top five, including Colonial Forge's Molly Hawkins and North Stafford's Kelly Reinwald, are back, as well as Forest Park All-Met Stefanie Slekis. . . .
Four Washington area schools, including three from Virginia, are ranked in the Nike Team Nationals rankings for the Southeast Region. Oakton, led by senior All-Met Kayley Byrne, is rated third, after the team spent much of last year in the rankings.
Defending AA champion Brentsville is rated seventh, and defending AAA champion Lake Braddock, led by returner Erin Klein, is eighth. Maryland 4A champion Eleanor Roosevelt is ranked 10th, after bringing back all of its top runners from last year. Twenty teams from eight regions are invited to the Nike Team Nationals in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 3. . . .
Brentsville and Lake Braddock will face off with some of Maryland's best, including Eleanor Roosevelt and C.M. Wright, at the Brentsville Relays next weekend. The meet, run in relay format, is believed to be the only cross-country race in the nation held under lights.
-- Sean P. Flynn