An aching ankle wasn't going to keep Stuart senior Mubashar Haidat from contributing to an unprecedented performance for the Raiders' boys at the Virginia AAA National District cross-country championships.
With his left foot taped, Haidat finished seventh overall yesterday at Burke Lake Park, helping the Raiders capture their first district cross-country title since the school opened in 1959. His teammate Ethan Rissell was fifth.
"He's provided great leadership all season long," ninth-year coach Ron Kronlage said of Haidat, the team captain. "He twisted his ankle last week, but he wanted to be here to do what he could for the team. He ran in pain and he led the way."
Stuart had 59 points to edge Loudoun Valley (63). Mount Vernon's Ricky Saxon won the race in 16 minutes 36 seconds.
In the National girls' race, Washington-Lee junior Sarah Weber won in 18:44. Loudoun Valley won the meet with 41 points.
In the Patriot District meet, also at Burke Lake Park, West Springfield junior Mike Spooner won his fifth consecutive race to lead his team to the boys' championship.
Displaying his usual style of jumping to the early lead, Spooner finished in 14:58, a tie for the 23rd best time ever by a Northern Region runner on the 2.98-mile course, which was established in 1974. Since 1997, only two runners have run faster times.
"A few times this season we've been trying a few new things, like hanging with the pack and then making a move at certain points," Spooner said. "Running up front like today, I always feel like I'm giving 100 percent. When I don't give 100 percent, I only have myself to blame."
Lake Braddock senior Erin Klein won the Patriot girls' title in 18:10, leading her team to an impressive victory. All seven Bruins finished in the top 12 to score 24 points, well ahead of West Potomac's 60.
"We're all just ecstatic," Klein said. "Everyone gets to go home happy -- we're all all-district and we won the team championship."