Oatlands Invitational Preview
By: Kevin Milsted
Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Oatlands Invitational will be everything a runner could ask for and so much more. Cross country fans did not get to see the star-studded opening season mega-meet known as the Great Meadow Invitational after it was cancelled due to Hurricane Hanna, but this Saturday, the rolling grass hills of the Oatlands Plantation will open up to 99 area cross country teams and 2 more from hundreds of miles away. A large majority of the teams will be from Virginia, Maryland, and DC, but Grandview High School will be traveling from as far away as Boulder, Colorado.

Headlining the meet for the second year in a row is the legendary Saratoga Springs cross country program from New York. This year, the Saratoga Springs girls team was ranked sixth in the nation in the Harrier Super 25 Preseason Ranking by Marc Bloom. Their team should be highlighted by the duo of Sidney King and Cassie Goutos, both of whom should run with the leaders after posting sub-10:10 3k's on the track last spring.

Challenging the New Yorkers will be four of Virginia's top ten girls' teams along with several of Montgomery County's finest in Northwest, Churchill, Good Counsel, Whitman, and Quince Orchard. It is not likely that one of our home teams takes down the nationally ranked squad, but it will be a chance to see how they stack up and whether anybody has gained ground on Northwest which has not lost to a Maryland team yet this season.

The race will feature most of the best returning runners in the DC area, many of whom have not run a major 5k race yet this season. Lia DiValentin of Chantilly, Hiruni Wijaratne of Herndon, Ariel Karabinus of Osbourne Park, Christina Lee of Potomac Falls, and Maggie Gentry of Brentsville are among Virginia's finest who will be present. Northwest's Britt Eckerstrom has come up short of a win in her first two invitationals this year, but could get things back on track against some of the Virginians who she fearlessly ran with last year.

The field of boys teams is stacked with four of the top five ranked teams in Virginia and seven of the top ten. This includes the Oakton boys team which is currently ranked #1 in the Southeast according to and Thomas Jefferson which is ranked #3 in the Southeast. Coincidentally, does not consider either of these teams to be the best team in Virginia, but that is neither here nor there.

DC private school Gonzaga, who took down many of Montgomery County's best teams at the Peter Geraghty Invitational at Mount St. Mary's two weeks ago, recently finished second to Oakton at the Lake Forest Invitational. This will be a test to see if they can move up on Oakton or if they will blend into a pack of strong Virginia teams. Meanwhile, Good Counsel made a big jump from week one to week two and will be ready for a second chance at their WCAC opponent, Gonzaga. Most of Montgomery County's best public schools will also be in the race including Churchill, Sherwood, and Northwest who finished in that order behind Good Counsel last weekend. Churchill and Sherwood are both running very well and will both have one member from their top five return this weekend after missing the Magruder Invitational. Northwest, after beginning the season with very high expectations, has bottomed out after fading to fifth place at the Magruder Invitational and losing their first dual meet yesterday. At some point, these Northwest boys are going to turn it around, but exactly when is anybody's guess.

The most exciting part about this year's Oatlands Invitational will be the national class field of boys individuals who will fight it out for the win. Two-time national 5000-meter champion Solomon Haile of Sherwood will get his first true test of the season from two-time Footlocker Finalist Thomas Porter from Mountain View, Atlee's Ben Dejarnette, and Western Albermarle's Tyler Stutzman and Kyle Satterwhite. Also in the field will be Whitman's Andrew Palmer who will be looking to test himself against Haile in his first major 5k of the year. Ramsey Chapin of Georgetown Prep seems to be healthy and ready to race against the best after his win in a small division at the Lake Forest Invitational. Other top runners in the race should be Oakton's Dante Morales and Neal Hendricks, Harrisonburg's Dan Nafzinger, Turny Ashby's Alex Ott, and Chantilly's Chris Foley. Saratoga Springs's Demetri Goutos is projected to be one of the top runners in the Northeast this year, although last year the Saratoga boys ran in the varsity B race.

Oatlands Team List
Battlefield HS
Bishop Ireton
Briar Woods
Broad Run
Brooke Point
Burrell (PA)
C.D. Hylton
Catoctin HS (MD)
Clarke County
Clover Hill
Corning East (NY)
Dominion HS
Eastern Mennonite
Edmund Burke
Elizabeth Seton High School
Elkins (WV)
Falls Church
Fredericksburg Academy
Freedom (South Riding)
George C. Marshall
Georgetown Prep (MD)
Gonzaga (DC)
Good Counsel (MD)
Governor Thomas Johnson HS (MD)
Grandview High School (Colorado)
Heritage (Leesburg)
Holton-Arms School (MD)
Holy Cross Academy (MD)
James Madison
James Monroe
James Wood
John Handley
Kettle Run
Liberty HS
Linganore (MD)
Loudoun County (
Loudoun Valley HS
Manassas Park
Middletown (Girls) (MD)
Mount Vernon
Mountain View
North Stafford
Northwest HS (MD)
Northwood (MD)
Notre Dame Academy (VA)
Osbourn HS
Osbourn Park
Park View
Paul VI
Potomac Falls
Potomac HS
Quince Orchard (MD)
Riverview (PA)
Robert E. Lee (Springfield, VA)
Robinson HS
Roland Park Country School (MD)
Saratoga Springs (NY)
South Lakes
St. John's (MD)
Stone Bridge
T.C. Williams
Thomas Jefferson S & T
Trinity School at Meadow View
Turner Ashby
Walkersville HS (MD)
Walt Whitman (MD)
Washington HS (WV)
Washington-Lee HS
West Potomac
West Springfield
Western Albemarle
Williamsports HS (MD)
Winston Churchill (MD)
Woodbridge (
William and Mary Invitational Teams
Archbishop Curley - MD 
Atholton - MD 
Benedictine - VA 
Booker T. Washington - VA 
Clarksburg - MD
C. Milton Wright 
Colonial Forge - VA 
Culpeper - VA 
Damascus - MD 
Eastern View 
Essex - VA 
Fayetteville Academy 
Forest Park - VA 
Gaithersburg - MD 
Georgetown Visitation - DC 
Gettysburg Area - PA 
Gloucester - VA 
Grafton - VA 
Grassfield - VA 
Greenbrier Christian 
The Heights School - MD 
Hickory - VA 
Jamestown - VA 
Kempsville - VA 
J. R. Tucker - VA 
Lafayette - VA 
Lancaster - VA 
Magruder - MD 
Mount St. Joseph - MD 
New Kent - VA 
Norfolk Academy - VA 
Northampton - VA 
Nottoway - VA 
Oscar Smith - VA 
Patrick Henry - Roanoke, VA 
Potomac School - VA 
Powhatan - VA 
Princess Anne - VA 
River Hill 
St. Andrew's Episcopal - MD 
St. Christopher's 
Sidwell Friends - DC
Smithfield - VA 
Stone Ridge - MD 
Tabb - VA 
Tallwood - VA 
Varina - VA 
Warhill - VA 
Western Branch - VA 
W. T. Woodson - VA 
York - VA


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