Megan Lynch first burst onto the scene as a standout freshman at Georgetown Visitation School in 2016. She finished second at the ISL Championship Meet in 2016 and dabbled in indoor track before she disappeared from the high school running scene for more than a year.
Lynch reemerged today as a junior wearing the colors of Connelly School of the Holy Child, a tiny Montgomery County private school not exactly known for distance running. Representing her new school, she won the Bullis Invitational varsity girls race in dramatic fashion.
Lynch led the varsity girls field early on, but she says that she was passed on an uphill at about the midway point in the race. Her opponent from Mercersburg Academy, Sophia Divone, gradually pulled away over the second half of the course until an unfortunate error was made. Divone ran at least 30 yards off course in the final half mile of the race. When she returned to the course, she maintained a slim lead, but Lynch had all the momentum and motivation.
"That's when I was thinking I had a chance," said Lynch, who did not know that her opponent had to run approximately 60 extra yards. "I kind of booked it since the whole race was kind of a fight between me and her. I didn't want to do that for nothing so I kind of just gave it my all."
Lynch tracked Divone for a few more strides before taking the lead permanently. She crossed the line first in 19:15.8 in her Holy Child debut. It was likely the fastest 5k performance ever recorded by a Holy Child School athlete. Holy Child did not have five scoring runners, but it did put four girls under 25 minutes, which already put this team ahead of most others in school history.
On the new-look Holy Child team, Lynch said, "We're definitely building a team. We have a really good coach. We're a small team but we have a lot of potential, I think. We have good teamwork."
As for her reasoning for transferring, Lynch said that her previous school was not the best fit for her, and when her sister moved off to college, she made the switch to the Potomac, Maryland school which is closer to her home.
The varsity boys race was individually won by Latin School's Luke Tewalt in 16:13.5 while Our Lady of Good Counsel swept the boys and girls team titles. Coach Rich Hiegel was pleased with the team's progress.
"I'm satisfied with where we are," said Heigel. "I'm feeling pretty good about our progress but we still got a ways to go."
Heigel credits strong freshman and sophomore classes, both boys and girls, for driving his team in the right direction.
Said Heigel, "We had a large turnout this year so my roster is close to 50. We had seventeen freshman show up this year which is just a lot bigger than last year, so we are just growing as a team and I'm really happy with the progress."
Host Bullis School did not field complete boys or girls teams in the varsity races, but that could prove to be misleading to conference rivals. Coach Joe Lee hopes to shed the school's reputation as a sprint-only powerhouse with perhaps the school's most competitive boys and girls cross-country teams ever. It proved last week at the Seahawk Invitational that it has four very strong male varsity runners, while this week it proved that it has a fifth in development. The girls team is comprised of a stable of sub-2:20 800-meter specialists who have only just begun training for cross-country.