Yorktown cross country runner

Yorktown's Albert Velikonja runs between two Oakton runners near the finish line in the region race en route to his victory. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

A strong race-ending kick was parlayed into a region championship for one Yorktown High School runner, while the same strategy fell short for another.

Yorktown senior Albert Velikonja bolted to the lead in the final yards of the down-hill stretch Nov. 7 on the Burke Lake Park course to win his second straight 6D North Region boys cross country title, finishing in 15:20.

“I made it a tactical race,” Velikonja said. “I hung back and trusted my kick at the end.”

Velikonja, who has won multiple races this fall, was in a tight pack near the lead with four other runners at the two-mile mark, then began separating over the final mile.

In the girls region race on the same day and course, Yorktown’s Piper Dean finished second in 17:44, behind Camiilla McKinstry of Centreville (17:37).

“I ran well and wanted to win, and stuck with her the whole race. But she outkicked me at the end,” Dean said.

Velikonja and Dean will next run in the upcoming Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state meet.

The Yorktown boys and girls teams each finished fourth in the region meets and did not qualify for the state meet.

For the Yorktown girls, Anna Macon Corcoran finished fourth in 18:17 to qualify for states individually, as did Wakefield’s Brianna Breyault (16th, 19:26).

In the girls race for defending champion Washington-Liberty, Ally Obenberger was 22nd (19:31), Rachel Mulvaney 23rd (19:33) and Anna Harpel 25th (19:38).

Also in the boys race, Yorktown’s Bowen Shuttleworth was 24th (16:15) and his brother Reece Shuttle worth was 28th (16:26).

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