West Springfield emerged victorious at last week’s Patriot District Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Spartans broke a tie with Lake Braddock heading into the meet’s final race last Saturday to win their first indoor boys title since 2007. W.T. Woodson finished in third place.
It was deja vu for West Springfield coach Chris Pellegrini, whose first season as the Spartans’ head coach in 2007 featured a similar situation heading into the district meet’s final race. Like this year, his team was tied going into the final 4x400 race, setting the stage for a winner-take-all scenario.
“I knew when it came down to the 4x4 that year, I kind of ran out of ammunition because I had maxed out most of my athletes in all their events,” Pellegrini said. “So I was really sweating it for that 4x4 back then. So this time I made sure I saved four of our best athletes for the 4x4 so that if it came down to it we’d have a good chance.”
Pellegrini’s athletes were able to replicate the 2007 triumph thanks in large part to strong performances by their lead-off and anchor runners in that final 4x400. Junior John Seals, who also won the high jump competition, gave his team a cushion in the opening leg of the race, and senior Billy Rabil closed out strong to cement the win.
Knowing he’d be absent for this weekend’s regional meet because of his sister’s wedding, Rabil knew he needed to turn in a clutch performance in the 1,000-meter race if he wanted to qualify for the state meet. He did just that, winning the race and edging the state cut line by 0.41 seconds with a time of 2 minutes 35.27 seconds.
South County took control of the girls meet, compiling 186 points to beat out runner-up Lake Braddock, which finished with 107 points. West Springfield came in third place with 72 points.
South County senior phenom Felecia Majors dominated the field, winning the long jump, high jump, triple jump, pole vault, 55-meter dash, 300-meter dash and 500-meter dash. She reached state qualifying marks in each of those events.
The Westfield boys team defended its Concorde District Indoor Track and Field title, totaling 134 points to come out ahead of Chantilly, which finished with 122. Oakton came in third place with 81 points.
Chantilly senior Sean McGorty unleashed a spectacular performance in the 3,200 meter race, becoming the first boy in the country to break nine minutes this season. He lapped the entire field to finish in 8:55.38, well clear of the previous meet record of 9:15.8. Teammate Logan Miller finished in second place with a time of 9:29.05.
Oakton was initially ruled to win its fifth straight girls title, but a late correction subtracted two points from the Cougars’ initial 157.5 total to put them in a first-place tie with Robinson. Chantilly finished in third place with 71 points.
The Northern Region meet is scheduled for 8 a.m. this Saturday at George Mason University.
Washington-Lee wrapped up its undefeated season last Wednesday at Lake Braddock Secondary School, where the Generals claimed their second straight Northern Region gymnastics title. The back-to-back titles marked the first time a Washington-Lee team had achieved that feat in any sport in the past 48 years.
The Generals finished the meet with 147.15 points, 4.15 points clear of second-place McLean. Chantilly finished in third place with 142.45 points.
Head coach Joe D’Emidio, now in his 36th year at the Washington-Lee helm, credited the victory in large part to his “Fab Four,” which consists of seniors Maia Mandel, Madeleine Sendek, Mary Lynn Clark and Kylie Auble. The Generals never lost a regular season meet during the four years those girls have been on the team.
Along with McLean, Washington-Lee advances to this weekend’s state meet, which begins Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Centreville High. Day two begins Saturday at noon.
The Generals aim to top the second-place finish they achieved last year.
“I’m hoping that since states are up here at Centreville, the Virginia Beach girls have to come up here to our background,” D’Emidio said. “So I feel like we have home field advantage, even though it’s not our high school. We’re going to give them a run for their money.”