Katie Kennedy sat on a bench with a pack of ice taped around her left ankle.
The West Springfield runner knew what she was getting into when she decided to run the 6A North region cross-country race at Burke Lake Park on Wednesday. Discomfort set in her ankle last Friday, just two days after the Spartans captured the 6A Conference 7 team title, leaving her wondering whether she could compete with her team as they tried to qualify for the state meet.
Just 10 minutes before Wednesday’s race, Kennedy decided to give it a go. Her 20th-place finish helped West Springfield take third in the team competition and ensured the Spartans a spot in the state meet. Whether she’ll be able to join them on the course at The Plains next weekend remains to be seen.
“People forget it’s a team sport,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t want to have the guilt of the team not going be on my shoulders.”
West Springfield’s Caroline Alcorta won the individual race with a time of 16 minutes 31 seconds — the third-fastest performer on the Burke Lake course. Lake Braddock’s Hannah Christen (17:19) and Oakton’s Allie Klimkiewicz (17:21) took second and third, respectively. Oakton’s girls won the team meet with 66 points and advanced to the state meet with Washington-Lee (92), West Springfield (113), Lake Braddock (118), Robinson (148) and Battlefield (192).
Oakton’s John Stoney took the 6A North boys’ title in 14:54, while Osbourn Park’s Nickolas Causey (15:05) and Lake Braddock’s Alex Corbett (15:09) rounded out the top three. Chantilly won the team meet with 100 points. The Chargers, Battlefield (107), Osbourn Park (111), Robinson (136), Lake Braddock (138) and Oakton (142) advancing to state.
Kennedy compared the pain in her ankle to a stress fracture she suffered as a sophomore when she was still living in Kentucky.
“She has a very high pain threshold,” West Springfield Coach Chris Pellegrini said. “She told me she didn’t want to be the one that keeps us from states.”
For a moment, Kennedy was unsure if she could finish. Coming down a hill more than halfway into the race, she began to limp and tears welled in her eyes. But she kept running.
In the last mile, Kennedy was unable to open her stride, shuffling her feet to the finish. After crossing the line, she fell, and the training staff rushed to her.
. . .
Louis Colson helped lead Edison to a state meet berth by winning the 5A North region meet in 15:30 in Leesburg. Albermarle’s Ryan Thomas (15: 54) and Marshall’s Mackenzie Haight (16:00) finished second and third.
Stone Bridge (72) won the boys’ team meet, with Albemarle (80), Broad Run (104), Edison (107), Thomas Jefferson (117) and Brooke Point (153) rounding out the top six and advancing to state.
Lee’s Bailey Kolonich won the 5A North girls’ race with a time of 19:13. Tuscarora’s Anna Wasko (19:33) and Mountain View’s Jordan Angers (19:50) rounded out the top three.
Tuscarora won the girls’ team meet with 70 points. Securing a spot in the state meet with top-six finishes were Thomas Jefferson (71), North Stafford (102), Potomac Falls (104), Albemarle (150) and Mountain View (163). . . .
Dominion’s Trent Lancaster won a close 4A North boys’ race, held in Fredericksburg, with a time of 16:40. Finishing behind him were Millbrook’s Alec Schrank (16:48) and E.C. Glass’ Peter Seufer (16:50).
Millbrook (63) won the boys’ team meet, with Dominion (92), Fauquier (95), E.C. Glass (135), Woodgrove (163) and Handley (163) qualifying for next week’s state meet.
Winning the girls’ 4A North race was Jefferson Forest’s Erin Saunders. E.C. Glass’s Elizabeth Davidson (19:13) and Woodgrove’s Emma Gillies (19:26) rounded out the top three.
Jefferson Forest won the girls’ team meet with 59 points. Advancing to the state meet with the Cavaliers are E.C. Glass (83), Loudoun County (95), Woodgrove (104), King George (136) and Fluvanna (145).