Boys cross country improving


Junior Nahom Gebre lines up along with hundreds of other runners at the Oatlands Invitational in Vienna on Sept. 11

As we head towards the middle of the cross country season, the Atoms look to keep on improving.
The team has participated in five meets so far this season.
One of the teams most recent races was at Lee District park trail on Sept. 22.
Atoms runners had to run a slippery course due to the pouring rain. The race consisted of runners from Hayfield, TJ, and Edison. The Atoms placed 3rd out of 4 teams.
The top 3 Atom runners were Terry Moreno Valeriano (3rd overall), Nicolas Lucas (9th), and Evan Burita (11th) who finished with times of 20:21.15, 21:43.54, and 21:51.46 respectively.
“I think that the team has shown great improvement during the last couple of weeks,” sophomore Terry Moreno-Valeriano said. “Everyone has put in a lot of effort and the growth is very noticeable.”
Moreno-Valeriano is one of the top runners for the team, as he consistently places top 3.
The team’s biggest race of the season was the Oatlands Invitational, which took place at the Oatlands Plantation on Sept. 11.
The race was hosted by Riverside High School in Leesburg. The invitational consisted of hundreds of runners participating from various schools around the area.
The Oatlands plantation course is a full 5k with mostly grass and rolling hills. The top 3 Atoms runners were Terry Moreno-Valeriano, who placed 22nd with a time of 20:01, Nicolas Lucas, who placed 59th with a time of 21:06 and Cooper Hultz, who placed 207th with a time of 23:45.
“This [Oatlands Invitational] was the most fun due to the size of the event, 60+ schools. The course is amazing, there is loud music blasting from the speakers throughout the course to keep runners pumped up, and lots of spectators to cheer on the runners at all times,” boys cross country coach Ryan Willis said.
Willis has done a lot in helping his runners develop and improve so far throughout this season.
One of the most important things for runners is preparation. It is crucial that they prepare their bodies for each meet.
“Typically it all depends on how experienced the runners are, how much they trained in the off season, and what part of the season we are in.” Willis said
“In the beginning of the season we like to focus on getting a lot of mileage in to build endurance and to work on form. As we get closer to meets, we incorporate speed training, pacing and race strategy. Our current team is young, so we have been working mostly on our form and pacing for a 3.1 mile race,” Willis said.
Another big event that runners took part in was the senior night race. This was the Atom’s 3rd race of the season. The event was at Lee District Park Trail, a slightly over 5k course with all grass trails.
The top 3 Atom runners were Terry Moreno Valeriano (6th), Nicolas Lucas (12th), and Evan Burita (28th) who finished with times of 21:09, 21:58, and 24:00 respectively.
“It was a great experience. I remember senior night as a freshman, and to actually be part of it made me nostalgic of my first year here,” senior Liam Mcginity said.
Mcginity ran a time of 24:43 at the senior night race.
It’s safe to say that the team is doing well and hopes to keep on improving.
“As the season progresses, we will start to target different areas where we feel each individual needs the most work,” Willis said.
“Runners will have a better idea of their target times; this will help them stay focused during a meet. New goals are set after each race. As individuals become more confident in their own abilities, they can encourage the team more and therefore the team will be stronger,” Willis said.