Jefferson senior Saurav Velleleth (247), pictured during his Virginia 5A North region championship run last week, will have some local company in Virginia’s freshman class next year. (Katherine Frey / The Washington Post)

As two of the top distance runners in the area, Richard Montgomery's Rohann Asfaw and Jefferson's Saurav Velleleth were acquainted before their concurrent visits to the University of Virginia last weekend.

But it wasn't until their late October stay in Charlottesville that the two really got to know each other. When the trip came to an end and Asfaw needed a ride back to the D.C. area, Velleleth and his family were happy to oblige.

Velleleth and Asfaw spent the two-and-a-half hour ride joking around, riffing about their shared passion for distance running and revisiting what they liked about the school. In addition to the school's prestigious academic climate and accomplished cross-country program, both were charmed by the city of Charlottesville and the tree-lined country roads they could run on as members of the Cavaliers team.

Velleleth was ready to commit to Virginia right then, and he made the announcement a few days after the trip. Asfaw had one last visit to Virginia Tech remaining on his circuit, but by the time the two were back in the Washington area, he knew they were "both pretty much going to decide" on U-Va, Asfaw said.

When Asfaw finally announced his decision last Tuesday, Velleleth reached out to share in the excitement.

"I texted him and just told him that I'm hyped and hopefully we'll get to run together over the summer and some before that," Velleleth said. "I'm really looking forward to the team going into the fall semester."

Asfaw and Velleleth are just two of a spate of area runners to recently make their college decisions.

Chantilly middle-distance standout Brandon McGorty will join his brother Sean — a two-time All-Met Athlete of the Year — on Stanford's track and field team.

On the girls' side, Annapolis's Maria Coffin selected Providence College and Patriot senior Rachel McArthur has chosen Villanova University.

Churchill distance and steeplechase specialist Julia Reicin will run at Maryland, and Northwest's Sophia Zarate committed to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Elizabeth Seton senior sprinter Lauren Morgan will join Michigan's track team in the fall.

Heritage's Weini Kelati, who finished her final season of high school eligibility last year, has committed to run at the University of New Mexico.

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