Runners from all four high-school grades played big roles in a history-making best performance by the Potomac School Panthers at the Division I girls state cross country championships.
The team finished second in the 5,000-meter Nov. 9 meet for private-school squads on the Woodberry Forest course near Charlottesville. Until this fall, the Panthers’ highest finish in the competition was third place last year. In 2006, the Potomac School girls won the Division II state championship.
In this year’s meet, the Panthers finished with 78 points. The Collegiate School team of Richmond won with 64. Bishop Ireton was a distant third with 129.
“Our goal was to finish in the top two, and the whole team mattered in this meet,” Potomac School coach Bridget Gagne said. “This team has had a special season. Finishing second is really great for the program and showed the depth of this team.”
The improvement was significant because Potomac School finished 10th in the 2021 state meet and 13th in 2019. The 2020 meet was not held because of the pandemic.
At this year’s meet, senior and first-year cross country runner Audrey Rentzepis led the Panthers with a fourth-place individually in 20:17.
“Audrey emerged as the season went on as one of our strongest runners,” Gagne said.
Finishing next highest for Potomac School was senior Emily Holland in 10th (21:00). She was 19th at last year’s meet.
Freshman runner Rose Barabanov was 20th for the Panthers (21:32), sophomore Avery Miller 21st (21:33), junior Arielle Kouyoumdjian 23rd (21:43), freshman Vivienne Evans 29th (22:07) and senior Kate Tuttle 30th (22:08).
“It was important to have our pack of runners so close like they finished,” Gagne said.
Also running for the Panthers were freshman Isabella Song, Brynn Windisch and senior Tenley Overdeck.
At the previous Independent School League championships, the Potomac School girls finished third. Rentzepis was eighth individually, Holland 14th, Tuttle 21st, Barabanov 22nd and Miller 30th. Overbeck was 46th and Evans 51st.