Oakton High boys runner

Oakton High School's Arnav Tikhe has the lead near the two-mile mark of the boys region meet. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

Convincing victories by the Oakton Cougars in the boys race and individual champion Thais Rolly for the McLean Highlanders in the girls event highlighted the 6D North Region high-school cross country championships.

The Oakton boys had the first three individual finishers and five in the top 20 to win with 30 points for their fourth straight region crown. The Yorktown  Patriots were a distance second with 65 points.

Rolly, a sophomore, won in a speedy 17:43, with Herndon’s Gillian Bushee second in 18:02.

The races were run on the 2.98-mile course at Burke Lake Park on April 15.

Garrett Woodhouse ran down teammate Arnav Tikhe in the final half mile to win in 15:21. Tikhe was second (15:29) and Oakton’s Zach Morse third (15:30).

“I was running a pretty even race, then I saw my teammate [Tikhe] kind of struggling in the lead, so I kicked it in and went for it,” Woodhouse said.

A week earlier when Oakton won the Concorde District meet with a perfect team score of 15 points, Tikhe won and Woodhouse was second.

“Any of these guys can beat the other on any given day,” Oakton coach Matt Kroetch said. “They took care of business today.”

Also for Oakton at the region meet, Elham Huq was 10th (16:07), Nelson Jenkins 16th (16:25), Aidan Whipp 22nd (16:49) and Quin Sehon 34th (17:22).

Oakton will be a favorite at the upcoming Class 6 state meet, having finished in second place in the 2019 competition.

“This team knows it’s real good, but they also know nothing is a given,” Kroetch said.

Rolly’s winning time was 11 seconds faster than a week earlier, when she won the Liberty District girls meet on the same course.

“I started out faster today than last week, and everything worked out,” said Rolly, who has been running cross country since the sixth grade and is trained by her father, Philippe, who is a master marathoner.

A year ago, Rolly finished 15th in the region meet in 19:22.

“That’s a very impressive time she had on this course today, and she can be something special,” said veteran Lake Braddock Secondary School coach Mike Mangan, who has coached many top high-school female runners over the years.

Running a time of 17:30 on the Burke Lake Park course is an all-time top-40 time, according to the Lake Braddock coach.

Also in the region girls race, Oakton was third, Langley sixth and Marshall seventh.

Oakton was led by Samantha James in 12th (20:15) and Rhianen Eichelbaum in 18th (20:32). Haley Spoden was fourth (19:19) for Marshall and Lilly Fowler seventh (19:26) and Lila Waters ninth (19:29) led Langley. Madison High’s Hannah Petersen was 19th (20:39).

In the boys region meet, Madison was third, Langley fifth and Marshall sixth. McLean’s Xavier Jemison was fourth (15:32).

Boden Gentile was sixth for Langley (15:54), Marshall’s Sean Sanders seventh (15:55), and Madison’s Robbie Jenkins eighth (16:02) and Will Massey 11th (16:07).

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