The last time Poolesville's Chase Weaverling raced Clarksburg's Will Bertrand was at the outdoor track county championship meet. Rain poured down on the runners on a chilly and breezy night in May. Weaverling ran a personal best 3200m time that day, but he watched from behind as Bertrand and QO's Evan Laratta pulled away from him with incredible closing speed.
Working to improve his kick, Weaverling frequently did extra 200's after track workouts. He always ran striders after long runs over the summer. He occasionally incorporated road intervals into his summer training, and he ran an honest pace on his training runs at a modest 30-50 miles per week.
Bertrand and Weaverling both entered this race undefeated this season against runners in the state of Maryland. Via Mocorunning's fan poll, Bertrand was considered the favorite by most. Weaverling admitted to being a little nervous about his first and only meeting with Bertrand this year but he also expressed confidence due to his improved ability to kick.
A quarter mile into the championship race, Weaverling took the lead. Bertrand followed and the two together pulled away from the field.
Ever so slowly, a gap developed between Weaverling and Bertrand. For most of the second mile, the gap was a tolerable two or three strides, but after the two mile mark, Bertrand found himself three seconds back and had a sort of awakening.
"It's hard to tell when the gap gets bigger," said Bertrand. "Around two miles I realized 'this gap needs to close.'...There was no reason that gap should have been there."
Weaverling pressed until the last little hill before the long straightaway home. That hill, Weaverling said, takes more out of you than it appears.
Bertrand hit that same hill hard and closed the gap almost instantly. Fans let Weaverling know what was happening but he was not sure if the fans were exaggerating. In the long grueling drive to the finish, Weaverling said he never looked back but with about 50 meters to go he could see Bertrand in his periphery and he knew the fans were not exaggerating.
In a pure kick to the finish, Weaverling won 15:24.99 to 15:25.33.
Walter Johnson won the team title with five runners between 8th and 18th place. The head coach of the aspiring state champion team felt that his team did not perform at the same level as when they won a race at the Manhattan Invitational a week earlier.
"We did not quite run the times that are needed as a team to ultimately be successful," said Tom Martin.