The cross country season is getting more intense as the team continues to prepare for the MCPS County Championship, the 4A West Region meet and the Maryland State Cross Country Championship.
On October 3, WJ had their last divisional meet of the season. The team traveled to Paint Branch High School to compete in a 5K race against Albert Einstein and Paint Branch. In this race, the girls’ team beat both of these teams, finishing 5-0 on the year in their division. The boys’ team beat Paint Branch, but lost to Einstein in a close race. The boys’ team finished 2-3 in their division this year.
Later that week, on October 7, WJ competed in the Glory Days Invitational in Manassas, VA. The boys’ team finished in 22nd place out of 40 schools. Junior Rodrigo Lopez finished first for WJ and 53rd overall. The girls’ team won the race, finishing first out of 30 teams. The team was led to victory by outstanding performances from senior Abbey Green who finished first out of 144 runners and Sophomore Jenna Goldberg who finished sixth.
Goldberg attributes the team’s continued success to their strict and demanding summer training regimen.
“We went to the gym, went for faster long runs almost everyday, and went to running camp which helped a lot for this season,” Goldberg said.
On October 13, students on WJ cross country were excused from classes as part of a travel day leading up to the Manhattan Invitational in Van Cortlandt Park, New York on October 14. The boys team finished in 9th place out of 20 in their stage of the race, but they did not make it to the Eastern State Championship.
Meanwhile, the girls’ team finished 5th place in the Eastern States championship. Green finished 5th overall individually with an outstanding time of 14:28.
Last year when WJ girls’ won the state championship for the 4th year in a row, the girls’ team finished in 10th place in the Manhattan Invitational. Finishing 5th in this prestigious race this year certainly bodes well for WJ’s goal to win a 5th straight state championship.
Head coach Tom Martin sees many similarities between this year’s team and other teams that won the state championship in the past.
“We won four straight state championships from 1996 to 2000. They were very similar to this year’s team since they never panicked and were very focused groups that ran for the team and each other,” Martin said.