In her 10th year at the helm of the George Mason High School Varsity girls’ cross-country team, coach Julie Bravin was rewarded for her efforts this fall, as the Washington Post named her the 2008 All-Met Coach of the Year.
For the first time in school history, the Mustangs swept the District, Region B and State meets, leading to the accolade garnered by Bravin. However, despite the recognition, the humble coach insists that the honor is nothing without the efforts of her team.
“It’s a big honor when the Washington Post recognizes you, because you just feel so special and ecstatic,” Bravin said. “At the same time, it means that the team is getting recognized.”
In defeating Bull Run District rival Clarke County in the state meet by a mere three points, the Mustangs effectively ended the four-year stranglehold the Eagles had on single A cross-country. As Bravin noted, the three point margin was a testament to the depth of her squad, the most important cause of Mason’s success and her resulting award.
“More so than ever it means that our team was so deep, that every single girl had something to do with how well we did,” Bravin said. “A three point difference means that if just one girl had switched places with the runner behind her, we would have been in second. Even the girls that didn’t run in the state meet were there every day, pushing us in workouts.”
The Mustangs return all of their runners next year, including freshman Natalie Young, who finished third at the state meet and was named to the All-Met Honorable Mention list, as well as classmate Eva Estrada, who finished fifth at the state race. Even so, Bravin insists that the All-Met award was a one-time occurrence, but will enjoy it while it lasts.
“It’s a wonderful honor, but you can’t expect to ever win it again,” Bravin said. “We can’t take anything for granted next year, but it certainly helps with our confidence. We know it’s going to be hard, but we just have to stay level headed. Still, [the award] means a lot to the team and to me.”