About a mile into the boys' race of the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association cross-country championships, Wilson junior Gary Barnes's coach gave him the option of calling it quits if the pain was too much to handle.
Instead, Barnes kept trucking forward, his broken left arm held in place by a stiff cast. Four days after fracturing his arm during basketball tryouts, Barnes finished third overall to help the Tigers' boys to their sixth consecutive DCIAA title.
"It hurts. . . . My shoulder hurts more from swinging the cast," Barnes said. "But this is championships. I wanted to run here."
H.D. Woodson junior Camron Thomas won the boys' race in 19 minutes 11 seconds, but it was not enough to stop Wilson, which had six of the top eight finishers at Fort Dupont Park in Southeast to win with 22 points. Woodson was second with 38.
The Tigers' girls completed the sweep, using a 4-5 finish by juniors Lalani Stevens and Aniela Burant to score 27 points and edge Woodson's 39.
Ballou senior Andria Smallwood won the girls' race, clocking a 23:01 to beat second place Latricia Parker of H.D. Woodson by more than a minute. Smallwood, a six-time All-Met sprinter in track and field, won her third straight DCIAA championship to go along with the 20 titles she has won in indoor and outdoor track.
"I like to go out there and represent my school and help this team," Smallwood said. "I'm a very competitive person, so no matter what I'm doing I want to do the best I can."
Wilson's usual top runner, junior Roxana Arce, who had not lost to a DCIAA runner all fall, was sick and ended up in ninth place, but Stevens and Burant stepped up in her place. Seniors Jasmine Tucker finished 12th and Kara Scroggins was 16th to round out the Tigers' scoring.
In the boys' race, Thomas pulled away about halfway through, his lead growing until the end, when he finished 33 seconds ahead of Wilson senior Samuel Jewler.
"I had a lot of wind left at the end," Thomas said. "We've worked on stamina all season, so it just kicked in."
Barnes crossed in 20:17, and his teammate Nick Burant was fourth in 20:29. Tigers junior Sam Ribnick was sixth in 21:03.
Jewler was the first of four Wilson crew team members to cross the finish line yesterday. For Jewler, Michael Jayes (seventh place), Thomas Jordan (eighth) and Naciim Benkeria (12th), yesterday's five-kilometer race was a tune-up for more harrowing things; winter crew practice starts Tuesday with a six-kilometer trial on a rowing machine.
"This helps us get a lot stronger, both physically and mentally," Jewler said.