Kelly McGreal gave her runners specific instructions following the end of Saturday’s Class 6 boys cross country meet at Oatlands in Leesburg.
If Woodbridge won the state title, the boys would unzip their jackets and reveal the state champion t-shirts McGreal bought for the team and had them put on after the race was over.
But if the Vikings lost, the boys needed to keep those jackets zipped.
McGreal was confident enough in her team’s chances to buy the shirts in the first place. And she thought it had clinched the title. Still, McGreal wasn’t taking any chances until the official announcement.
No worries. The boys were able to discard their jackets with a convincing victory that gave Woodbridge its first state title in boys cross country since 1990. The Vikings finished with 62 points followed by Lake Braddock with 86 and Chantilly with 110.
“They ripped those jackets off and did their little reveal,” McGreal said.
Woodbridge ran the race it wanted to without interruption. Hayden Goodman led the way, taking fifth place in a time of 15:44.00
Nathanael McMahon was ninth in 16:04 followed by Cameron McDuffie (22nd, 16:37), Owen Renquist (26th , 16:42) and Collin Keehan (40th, 17:09.00).
“I wanted them to win to get the reward for their buy-in,” McGreal said.
All season, McGreal and her fellow coaches emphasized to the boys to work together as a team instead of as individuals and encourage one another. They wanted the boys to establish a championship mindset.
If they did that, she believed Woodbridge could win it all.
“We wanted to keep moving forward,” McGreal said. “We were humble and quiet and didn’t make a lot of noise. And we wanted to hold it together and get though the day.”
Also finishing in the top 15 for boys was Battlefield’s Nziza Siibo (11th, 16:12) and Gainesville’s Trent Daniels (12th, 16:12).
On the girls side, Patriot’s Rena Johnson was the top finisher from Prince William County in the Class 6 girls race, taking sixth in 18:42. Forest Park’s Elizabeth Gregory was seventh in 18:47, Gainesville’s Caroline Tibbett 12th in 19:02 and Woodbridge’s Liana Eberly 15th in 19:10.
Gainesville had the best team finish, claiming sixth with 175 points. West Springfield won the girls team title with 62 points.