The same approach that worked for winning a previous conference title days earlier was successful again for the Potomac School Panthers when the boys high-school team earned a second straight Division I private-school state cross country championship.
Potomac School finished first with 54 points on the hilly 5,000-meter Woodberry Forest course near Charlottesville. Saint John Paul the Great was a distant second with 95 points.
“We used the same approach because we felt our runners had a lot of confidence and stamina, so they were able to run comfortably and confidently and be patient, stay together in a good pack and be strong in that third and final mile,” Potomac School coach Meredith Valmon said. “They have learned to draw on each other. One of our runners said, ‘I am following the plan.’”
The Panthers' top individual finisher was senior Sasha Minsky in second in 16:35. The winner was sophomore Quinn Eliason in 16:18 from St. Anne’s-Belfield.
Minsky's time was faster than his fourth-place finish in last year’s state meet.
“I stayed with him [Eliason] for a while, but he was the better runner today,” Minsky said. “As a team, we had a lot of confidence coming in. It’s just as fun to win the state again. We knew if we ran well we would probably win.”
Potomac School sophomore Luke Carter finished 10th in the state meet (17:31), sophomore Eli Levine was 12th (17:24), senior Alex Mathews 14th (17:40), sophomore Trip Moser 16th (17:41), junior Zach Dalva-Baird 17th (17:45) and senior Max Zeldes 35th (18:30).
Also running for the Panthers was junior Noah Altschuler in 41st (18:39) and junior Javier Almonte in 46th (18:45).
“I won’t be here, but we have a lot of strong young runners so Potomac School will have a chance to win again next year,” Minsky said.
Prior to the state meet, Minsky and the Panthers won the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference boys event for the second year in a row. Minsky was the individual champion.