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Cross-country: West Potomac coach steps down

Don Beeby watched the Virginia state cross-country championships through a coach’s eyes for the final time on Saturday, then took a moment for quiet reflection. But before he could get too deep in thought, he was swept up by coaches from opposing teams. They wanted to honor the conclusion of Beeby’s quarter century coaching career at West Potomac, so they posed with him for pictures that later went up on Facebook.

“A lot of class was shown out there. It was a nice closure for me,” Beeby said.

Beeby enjoyed a memorable swan song at Great Meadow in The Plains. His girls beat Maggie Walker on a sixth-runner tiebreaker to finish fourth out of 16 teams, one spot off the podium. His boys finished ninth, an accomplishment in its own right considering the Wolverines took a major hit when their regular Nos. 2 and 3 runners missed the entire postseason with swine flu.

During his long and impressive career, Beeby’s teams have fared well at the AAA championships. They’ve won two state titles, were runners-up three times and third twice. Saturday was the first time that the 48-year-old took both his boys’ and girls’ teams to the state meet in the same year.

“When you think of West Potomac cross-country you think of Don Beeby,” West Potomac senior Julianne Bigler said. “He connects really well with our athletes.”

There have been dry spells. In 2003, West Potomac didn’t have a single individual make it past the district championships. And from 2004 to ’08, the girls finished fifth in the region four times and sixth once. The top four teams at the region meet qualify for states.

It’s been a steady climb back to the upper echelon.

Beeby said it’s now time to turn his attention from developing runners to developing his family. He and Shannon Beeby, his wife of 18 years, have five young children -- three of their own and a set of 6-year-old twins, Shaun and Anna, they brought into the family in 2005. Beeby said Shaun and Anna each weighed two pounds when they were born and had drugs present in their systems.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride with them,” Beeby said.

His coaching career has been quite a ride as well, and it culminated Saturday on a thrilling high note.

“I’m real pleased,” Beeby said. “It appears it’s a perfect time for me to step down.”

By Carl Little  |  November 16, 2009; 2:46 PM ET
Categories:  AAA Patriot District , Cross-country , Northern Region , West Potomac  
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Next: Cross-country: Anneka Wilson, O'Connell win more titles

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