With a new coach at the helm and a strong core of returning runners, the George Mason High School track team looks poised for another strong showing throughout their single A schedule this season.
After coach Julie Bravin stepped down earlier this year, long time assistant Bianca White, a teacher at Mason, took the reins of the squad, inheriting an extremely deep field of runners.
Senior Susanna Sullivan, a 2nd-Team All-Met cross country runner, was a double champion in the state meet last year, placing first in the 1600 meter and the 3200 meter runs. The Division-I recruit finished last track season strong, setting a personal record in the 1600m as well.
Sullivan will be joined by a pair of senior hurdlers in Karina Robarge and Amelia Nystrom in leading the Mustangs, who went 4-0 in district dual meets last season. Robarge placed fourth in both the 100m and the 300m hurdles at the state meet, while Nystrom placed seventh in the 100m hurdles, earning both all-state honors.
Even though the boys runners lost every district meet last year, the experience of senior sprinter Josh Jenkins should come in handy throughout this year. However, the loss of their two top hurdlers will sting for the time being, but the emergence of a strong field team will help springboard the Mustangs into competition this year.
Jenkins, who finished third in the 400 meter dash at the Southern Track Classic Invitational against some of the best runners in the entire area, also placed third in the 400m at the state meet, earning All-District honors.
After the graduation of hurdler Derek Devore (third in the 110m hurdles at states) as well as the departure of senior Yusof Becker, who turned to a prosperous career in music in favor of running hurdles, the Mustangs will turn to their field team, headed by a pair of seniors in Matt Geurtsen and Austin Lucas, to score points throughout the season.
Both the boys and the girls kick off the season with a home meet against district rival Manassas Park on April 3, followed by a two-day Metro Run & Walk Northern Virginia Invitational at Westfield High on April 11 and 12.