It had been a while since Bethany Graham had run down the long stretch that leads to the Virginia state meet finish line at Great Meadow. Three years in fact, since she had made it through a cross country season unscathed. In that time, John Champe high school grew to 6A from 4A, and when the senior finished first with a 34-second margin of victory over Ocean Lakes sophomore Aniya Mosley running 17:42, she nearly led the Knights to a team title in the state’s largest division.
But unfortunately for Champe, the six of the top 11 finishers were running without their teams, meaning Lake Braddock’s top finisher Sophie Willis’s 12th place finish only counted as six points, cutting the advantage Graham offered. Lake Braddock put seven ahead of Champe’s fifth and edged the Knights by eight points.
Ahead of the Virginia state championships, West Springfield coach Chris Pellegrini figured the race would essentially be a dual meet with Oakton.
In a dual meet, a 1-2-3 sweep can’t be beaten. While muti-team meets are a little more forgiving, seniors Sean Stuck, Sam Pritchard and Chris Weeks made the Spartans a tough act to follow. Stuck won the race overall, running the 5k course at Great Meadow in 15:21, the fastest time of the day. Second place Wesley Bond of Landstown and third place Bryce Lentz of Colgan didn’t have teams in the race, so Pritchard’s 15:50 and Weeks’ 15:53 counted as second and third for scoring purposes.
Name: Daniel George
Self-described age group: M 30-35
Residence: Bethesda, MD
Occupation: Physical Therapist at ProAction PT
Volunteer roles in the running world: Water boy at multiple MCRRC races, Pacer at Cherry Blossom 10 miler, medical tent volunteer, guide runner for 2004 para-olympian
Why you run: My college coach would say “for fun and personal bests” but currently, for well-being and because it comes naturally.
For four years in New York, Jillian Pollack seemed to be throwing her time, energy and sweat into a hole the size of a skyscraper foundation.
It wasn’t wasted – she met her best friends as a runner for Columbia University – but running wasn’t the same as when she was a star a Winchester’s Millbrook High School.
When she came back five years later to run the New York City Marathon, she got the payoff she had been working toward years before, one that put the Olympic Marathon Trials standard squarely in her view.
“I enjoyed running there and I made my best friends there, but college running didn’t go well,” she said. “I never made a conference meet, but I loved the sport.”
Buried back in 56th place last year, Walter Johnson’s Jenna Goldberg knew her state meet performance wasn’t what she felt was possible. But it wasn’t as much because of her then-recently-diagnosed anemia. It was her confidence.
“I definitely felt stronger, significantly better, but I’m just in a much better place mentally,” she said soon after winning the 2019 4A title in 17:50. “Every race this year gave me the opportunity to experiment with different racing styles and see how they worked. By the end, I proved that easing into the race was the best strategy for me.”
Name: Julie Peasley
Self-described age group: 40-45
Occupation: Medical Librarian
Volunteer roles in the running world: I have worked a lot of water stops over the years. I also love to help with pop-up cheer stations. If you have run DC Rock’n’Roll in the past five years, you have likely seen me and my friends at the top of the Big Hill as you turn on to Calvert, handing out candy and ringing the cow bells. We will be at the Richmond Marathon in a few weeks, too, so if a devil throws some candy at you, it might be me!
Why you run: I first did it for my health and sanity. I was battling health issues and worked in a high-stress environment. I started walking every day at lunch and decided to see how far I could walk in 30 minutes, trying to pick up my pace. I quickly moved on to the Couch 2 5K program and ran my first marathon a year after that. I now run because I am part of an amazing running group and it feels like a rolling party when we are together.
Brookland resident and Gonzaga cross country coach Ariel Laguilles ran more than 400 miles over nine days. He traced the pilgrimage route taken by St. Ingatius Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order.
Two years ago, the D.C. state meet looked like the fertile mud of Kenilworth Park was growing something special. With sophomores sweeping the first three spots on the boys’ side, it was natural to ask what a race among Gavin McElhennon, Luke Tewalt and Cullen Capuano would look like with two more years of growth and experience.
In the end, Capuano ran alone in front from the very start to win, running 16:35 for what several coaches felt to be longer than 5k. McElhennon finished ninth, easing his way back into racing following a long injury while Tewalt, hobbled with tendinitis in his knee, watched from the sidelines, having suited up just for the DCXC Invitational.
Name: Gildas Le Moigne
Self-described age group: 38
Occupation: Director of Development at Westminster School, Annandale
Volunteer roles in the running world: I created a 5K fundraiser for my school 3 years ago. I think it is a great way to create a sense of community and engagement. It also promotes a healthier way of living which is so important when you work with children.
Why you run: I try to run away from my wife who is an elite runner. But she always catches me!
When did you get started running: Almost 10 years ago, when I met my wife