Porto running with area’s elite

Forest Park junior Beth Fahey wasn’t surprised by the performance of Potomac junior Jill Porto on Saturday at the Great Meadow Invitational.

Porto, a sophomore, pulled away from Hylton senior and 2001 Group AAA state runnerup Jemissa Hess to win the race in 19 minutes and six seconds. Fahey ran 23 seconds behind Porto, whom she has been training with the last couple of Mondays.

“At regions in outdoor track, she beat me by a second [in the 3,200] so I knew she was getting up there,” Fahey said. “I knew she’d have a good summer and be good competition for me.”

Porto’s time Saturday was the third fastest for a Virginia high school runner so far this season, according to Milestat.com. Fahey said having Porto right next door — they train together at Prince William Forest Park — motivates her to do better. Porto, who also plays club soccer in the fall, is another extremely talented runner in an area that also features Hess and potential all-state runner Kristin Milot of Stonewall Jackson.

“I think having all these people does push yourself … just knowing that they are some of the top [runners] in the state,” Fahey said.

Potomac coach Bill Stearns believes Porto has been successful thanks to the priority she has placed on cross country this season. It’s a balancing act between soccer and cross country but one that Stearns said Porto’s managed well.

“She’s not a kid that [says] I got go soccer so I can’t come today,” Stearns said. “She gives her full attention to both things. She doesn’t miss a track practice, she doesn’t miss a workout.”

And she has loads of potential, said Stearns.

“She works extremely hard, she has a ton of heart and she listens to exactly what we tell her, strategy-wise,” Stearns said. “Those three qualities are what make a great runner. I see a big upside to what she can do.”

Still Stearns isn’t placing too much emphasis on Porto’s win on Saturday.

“The thing I take from that day is not that she beat them but that she can run with them,” Stearns said.


Milot finished second in the Goucher (Md.) Invitational on Saturday.

Milot’s unofficial time was a respectable 20:09 considering the difficulty of the course, said Raiders coach Kristi Ellison.

“She ran pretty well,” Ellison said. “The course is marked as extremely challenging and they emphasized that it was extremely challenging when they sent me the entries.”

Stonewall also drew a bad starting position, something that didn’t exactly help Milot on a course with its many sharp turns.

“She didn’t get a really good start so she had to work a little harder,” Ellison said. “She was pretty far back so I think a 20:09 was a good time. She ran very well given the course and the new surroundings.”

West Springfield swept the boys and girls meets which also featured Langley as well as schools from Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware.

Stonewall competes in a Cedar Run quad meet Tuesday before heading to the Lake Fairfax Invitational hosted by South Lakes.


The Osbourn girls cross country team placed fifth out of 11 teams at the James Wood Invitational on Saturday.

Sophomores Lindsey North and Elizabeth Muller were eighth and 11th respectively with times of 22:24 and 22:38. For the boys, Charlie Swartz was 15th with an 18:47.

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