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Deffer’s dedication leads to her first district title

photoBriar Woods senior Jackie Deffer digs through the Oatlands Plantation course during the Dulles District meet in Leesburg. Deffer finished in 19 minutes and 49 seconds to capture her first district title.—Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny

-A full gallery of photos is available for both Dulles District and Cedar Run District.


When Briar Woods High School cross-country runner Jackie Deffer finished ninth in the Dulles District meet in 2011, she was dissatisfied with her performance.

But Deffer didn’t mope. Instead. she hit the gym and ran additional workouts beyond practice.

“During the winter, I started training at the gym and working on other muscles,” said Deffer, now a senior at Briar Woods. “I noticed it made a difference on my times.”

Deffer’s hard work paid off Oct. 18 at the Dulles District meet in Leesburg, where she captured her first district title after finishing the Oatlands Plantation course in 19 minutes, 49 seconds.

“It’s such a blessing,” Deffer said. “All the hard work I put in has finally paid off.”

Deffer was followed by a pair of underclassmen, freshman Emma Gillies of Woodgrove and sophomore Anna Wasko of Tuscarora, who were neck and neck until the very end. Gillies narrowly crossed the finish line first, besting Wasko by a mere one second with a time of 19:59.

But Wasko’s finish, along with solid efforts from teammates Kelly Reilly (ninth place), Raiya Al-Nsour (10th), Colleen Heberle (13th), Natalie Rosas (15th) and Lori Kostka (17th), helped the Huskies earn their first Dulles District meet title, a pleasant addition to their regular-season title and undefeated district season.

“They have a great work-ethic, fantastic attitudes, they’re amazingly coachable, and they do whatever you want them to do, no questions asked,” Tuscarora coach Rebecca Puterio said. “And they’re competitors. They’re just true, true competitors.”

Loudoun County senior Patrick Joseph dominated the boys race, finishing in 16:15, 25 seconds ahead of runner-up John Dooney of Tuscarora. Joseph, who won the district title last year and placed third in states, has lofty goals going into the postseason.

“I’m happy with top one through five in regions or states,” Joseph said. “It’s all fun and games for me in this district, but once I step out, I have my butt to watch out for.”

Potomac Falls placed five runners in the top 15 in the boys event, securing the Panthers their 11th team title in 12 years. Junior Matt Celsa was the top runner for Potomac Falls, capturing seventh place.

“We won’t be back in Dulles District next year, so it’s nice for all those people who have run for Potomac Falls in the past to bring that title back,” Potomac Falls coach Dolph Null.

Null notes that this team focused exceptionally on running as a pack to help support the team.

“Every year I try to develop a pack mentality with the kids to take the pressure off the front-runner,” Null said. “Rather than focus on Patrick [Joseph], we can focus on what we can do as a unit.”

The top four teams and top 15 individuals qualify for the Region II meet, scheduled for Nov. 1 at Oatlands Plantation. Heritage and Loudoun Valley tied for fourth in the girls division, but by counting the sixth runner, Heritage won the tiebreaker.


Cedar Run meet

Also taking place at Oatlands on Oct. 18 was the Cedar Run District meet, which featured runners from Broad Run and Freedom high schools.

Battlefield earned the team title and top individual title in both the boys and girls divisions. Nicole Carter captured first in the girls division and Haben Zemichael taking the boys division. The Battlefield boys boasted six of the top 10 runners in competition.

Siobhan O’Toole of Freedom was the top Loudoun finisher in the Cedar Run, crossing the finish line fifth in the girls race. Fellow Eagle Tyler Lichtenberg placed ninth in the boys race.

Both Freedom and Broad Run qualified for regionals on the boys and girls side. The Northwest Region meet is Nov. 1 at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville.


AA Dulles District

-Boys Team
Potomac Falls - 55
Briar Woods - 65
Tuscarora - 80
Loudoun County - 82
Dominion - 135
Woodgrove - 138
Heritage - 185
Loudoun Valley - 202
John Champe - 291
Park View - 391

-Girls Team
Tuscarora - 51
Woodgrove - 70
Loudoun County - 89
Heritage - 121
Loudoun Valley - 121
Briar Woods - 138
Potomac Falls - 140
Dominion - 152
John Champe - 282
Park View - 305

-Boys Individual
Patrick Joseph (LC) 16:15
John Dooney (T) 16:39
Ryan Hughes (BW) 16:45
Trent Lancaster (D) 16:50
Austin Gilbert (LC) 16:58
Chris Schopper (BW) 17:03
Matt Celsa (PF) 17:07
Logan Feierbach (T) 17:10
Sai Kurra (PF) 17:11
Kyle Bernier (BW) 17:13
Sam Brazer (T) 17:14
John Deker (PF) 17:14
Jordan Ferbrache (PF) 17:16
Ethan Pacifico (PF) 17:18
Drew Hunter (LV) 17:19

-Girls Individual
Jackie Deffer (BW) 19:49
Emma Gillies (W) 19:59
Anna Wasko (T) 20:00
Carolyn Conley (LV) 20:10
Ana Valdez (LC) 20:21
Alex Juzbasich (W) 20:25
Molly Polizotta (LV) 20:29
Sarah Dillistin (PF) 20:34
Kelly Reilly (T) 20:39
Caitlin McNichol (LC) 20:42
Raiya Al-Nsour (T) 20:39
Taylor Zelman (H) 20:55
Colleen Heberle (T) 20:55
Ally Cabrey (H) 21:00
Natalie Rosas (T) 21:02


AAA Cedar Run District

-Boys Team
Battlefield - 18
Patriot - 43
Broad Run - 75
Freedom - 95
Stonewall Jackson - 153

-Girls Team
Battlefield - 32
Patriot - 36
Freedom - 85
Broad Run - 99
Stonewall Jackson - 115

-Boys Individual
Haben Zemichael (B) 16:33
Ryan Miller (B) 16:41
Aaron Hill (B) 16:47
Nicolas Bussian (P) 16:48
Luke Mazzu (B) 17:00
Joshua Small (P) 17:10
Connor Lee (B) 17:18
Ryan Small (P) 17:22
Tyler Lichtenberg (F) 17:28
Cameron Henken (B) 17:30
Andrew Derstine (P) 17:34
Ethan Newland (BR) 17:35
Dane Boegner (BR) 17:38
Brendan Lavell (P) 17:39
Ryan Kunzer (O) 17:40

-Girls Individual
Nicole Carter (B) 19:15
Emma Nowak (O) 19:39
Georgia Matthews (B) 19:59
Candace Jones (P) 20:14
Kristin Schnurr (P) 20:16
Siobhan O’Toole (F) 20:27
Kyla Carte (B) 20:31
Carina Garcia (P) 20:34
Stephanie Arens (BR) 20:36
Kenzie Fennell (P) 20:44
Abbey Cademartori (F) 20:50
Hanna Schwennesen (B) 20:54
Sarai Arbus (B) 20:58

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