Fairfax Station Lake Braddock senior Sophie Chase looked at the clock and realized she was on the verge of something special as she approached the finish line during the Northern Region cross country championships on Nov. 2.
Chase’s resume already included multiple Patriot District and Northern Region titles and the 2011 AAA state championship. But as she neared the end of her final race at Burke Lake Park, Chase found a way to add achievements to her decorated career as a high school harrier.
Chase won her third consecutive region title, finishing with a school-record time of 16:42, which also equaled the third-best girls’ time in the history of the Burke Lake Park course.
"I think the last thing I saw before I closed my eyes coming down the last straightaway because I was straining was the clock, and it was like 16:30, 16:31, 16:32," Chase said. "I was [thinking], ‘Aaahhh, I’ve got to run!’ I got through and then I knew I got [the school record], so I was really excited."
Chase broke Wendy Neely’s Lake Braddock record of 16:49.2, set at the 1986 Northern Region championships. Chase’s time of 16:42 tied Hayfield’s Melissa Dewey (2004) for third-best all time. Langley’s Erin Keogh set the course record of 16:09.7 at the 1985 Northern Region championships.
"There’s been so much history on this course," Chase said, "that being able to finally be up there chasing those legends --- like Wendy Neely, Erin Keogh, all those greats --- it’s incredibly surreal and just amazing."
"There’s been so much history on this course, that being able to finally be up there chasing those legends --- like Wendy Neely, Erin Keogh, all those greats --- it’s incredibly surreal and just amazing."
---Lake Braddock senior Sophie Chase
CHASE’S EFFORT helped Lake Braddock win the girls’ team championship. The Bruins finished with a score or 38, followed by Oakton (92), Chantilly (109) and West Springfield (116). The top four teams and top 15 individuals advanced to the state meet, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 10 at Great Meadow.
Lake Braddock’s Hannah Christen placed third with a time of 17:08. Katie Roche (17:33) finished sixth, Katy Kunc (18:08) was 13th and Misha Suresh (18:30) was 18th.
"What we keep telling girls is we can’t take anything for granted," Chase said. "No matter how fast we ran today, no matter how good our team looks going into states, you can never take anything for granted."
EARLIER, IN THE BOYS' RACE, Lake Braddock captured the fourth and final state berth, finishing with a score of 124. Chantilly won the boys’ championship with a score of 39, followed by Oakton (85) and Robinson (87).
Lake Braddock’s Nick Tuck placed second with a personal-best time of 15:03. Chantilly’s Sean McGorty won the race with a time of 14:19.
Tuck just missed becoming the first Lake Braddock boys’ runner to break 15 minutes at the Burke Lake Park course.
"I ran as hard as I could," Tuck said. "If I didn’t break 15, it wasn’t meant to be, but I’m so glad I ran that close to 15."
Tuck finished 44 seconds behind McGorty and 20 seconds ahead of third-place Logan Miller from Chantilly.
"I did the same thing at the district meet, so it’s something I’m familiar with," Tuck said about running alone. "I tried to do what I didn’t do last time and stay awake during that middle mile. [That’s where] I lost most of my time last week. I focused more on that this time and that really helped."
Lake Braddock’s Alex Corbett (15:43) finished 13th, Forrest Isenhour (16:06) was 37th, Kevin Monogue (16:12) finished 43rd and Ben Fogg (16:23) was 55th.