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Cross-country: Lake Braddock's thrilling Chase

Lake Braddock Coach Mike Mangan enjoys coaching two kinds of runners: an experienced harrier who doesn’t get rattled and a rookie who doesn’t know she’s not supposed to be this good yet.

Guess which description Lake Braddock freshman Sophie Chase fits? Chase finished third at Saturday’s Virginia AAA cross-country champions in 18 minutes 28 seconds and she sparked the Bruins to their first girls’ championship since 2004.

Entering the meet, Midlothian was tied with Lake Braddock at four for the most consecutive AAA titles. Midlothian was favored to extend its streak on Saturday, but the Bruins put a halt to it and relegated Midlothian to second. Patriot District teams West Springfield and West Potomac rounded out the top four.

Mangan said Lake Braddock alums from all over the world congratulated him on the victory. Kelsey Snowden, a senior captain on the Bruins’ 2004 championship team who currently lives in Spain, sent him a text message.

“We take the history and tradition of our program very seriously,” Mangan said. “So there was no one better than us to [stop Midlothian]. Our actives were taking care of our alumni.”

Chase took care of business on Saturday at Great Meadow in the Plains. She pushed the pace early, was leading the race at 800 meters and held on at the end of the 5K course to give the Bruins a low card.

Senior Liana Epstein, whose season was thought to be in jeopardy 2 ½ weeks after she collapsed at a meet from apparent dehydration, finished second for the Bruins in 16th (18:57). Casey Lardner, Kelly Hagan and Amanda Parker clinched the win for Lake Braddock and ended the area’s four-year girls’ title drought.

“When Liana faltered, she didn’t miss a beat,” Mangan said of Chase. “We were thinking with Liana we’d have a pretty good 1-2. Well, we did have a good 1-2 but it was in the opposite order.”

By Carl Little  |  November 17, 2009; 3:22 PM ET
Categories:  AAA Patriot District , Cross-country , Lake Braddock , Northern Region , West Potomac , West Springfield  
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