Lake Braddock senior Sophie Chase stood on the edge of the track inside the George Mason University field house late in Saturday’s Virginia AAA Northern Region indoor track and field championship, shouting encouragement as the runners zipped past in the girls’ 3,200 meters.
Already assured a spot in the race at next week’s state meet, Chase bypassed her signature event at the meet, watching in a gray Stanford University sweatshirt as junior teammate Hannah Christen took the title in a season-best 10 minutes, 37 seconds.
Earlier in the day, she set a meet record by winning the 1,600 meters in 4:51.30 to break a mark that had been held by Centreville’s Laura Heiner since 1998. She also took third in the 1,000, fading down the stretch in an event won by junior teammate Katie Roche.
“I just have to remember sometimes that I’m human and that I can’t be perfect all the time,” said Chase of her bronze finish in a race that came about 30 minutes after her record-setting performance.
After the track meet ended, Chase headed across the Fairfax campus to compete in the state swimming championship. On Friday night, she qualified for the final of the 100-yard breaststroke, and she ended up finishing 14th in the state on Saturday. She also swam as part of the team’s 200 free relay.
It was the third straight year that Chase has pulled double duty, a tough feat that has always seemed worth it to continue swimming, which she’s done competitively since she was five years old.
“Swimming’s been such a big part of my life that I didn’t want to give it up,” Chase said. “I made the commitment to both teams, so it’s been a really, really cool experience and a good ride. I’m always excited for this day.”
Chase picked a good time to drop a record as marks set on Saturday won’t be broken. The region meet will not continue thanks to Virginia’s classification adjustments set to go into effect next season.
South County senior Felecia Majors joined Chase in the history books in helping the Stallions take the girls’ team title for the third straight year. She scored a meet-record 64 points with four individual victories (300, 500, long jump, pole vault) and three second-place finishes (55, triple jump, high jump). Chantilly senior Sean McGorty also broke the record in the 1,000 meters, posting 2:28.54.
“There’s been so much great history from the Northern Region.” Chase said. “Being able to just be in a facility where you had [former Langley standout] Erin Keogh and all these greats racing [in the past], it’s really surreal. Being a part of that history now is even more amazing.”