The state cross country meet on Saturday featured a number of strong individual and team performances among both the boys and girls.
In the meet at Hereford, River Hill turned in probably the top effort. The Hawks’ boys won their third straight state title, rolling to a 119-point victory over Linganore in the Class 3A race.
They put all five of their scoring runners in the top 21 to finish with 47 points, far ahead of the Frederick County Lancers (166). Rahul Reddy (third), Jacob Parker (fifth), Ben Oldhauser (seventh), Anish Nanjappa (15th) and Kevin Reynolds (21st) were the team’s top scoring runners.
“We were pretty confident that we could do it,” Reddy said.
They did it after winning the Howard County and Class 3A East championships without much trouble in the past few weeks.
Also for the boys, Liberty scored an easy victory in the Class 2A state title. The Lions won a second consecutive state championship thanks to a strong performance from all of their runners.
They finished with 42 points, ahead of runner-up Century (85). Nick Tilson (third), Daniel Saxon (fifth), John Lemaster (sixth), Andrew Miner (13th) and Connor Stewart (15th) scored for the Lions in the win.
“They worked together like no other,” coach Dan Jones said. “They started last year at the state meeting [talking about how] they wanted to repeat.”
In Class 4A, Dulaney repeated also, edging out Severna Park by just one point. Dulaney finished with 97 points and beat out the Falcons for a second consecutive year.
“This has been our goal from the beginning,” said Dulaney’s Matt Owens, who finished sixth in the race. “That was the big thing for us. We have the winning culture. We knew that we had the potential. We just had to do it.”
They did it with strong efforts in a very tough race. In addition to Owens, Brian McCullough (ninth) ended up in the top 10. After that came Connor Martin (25th), Ethan Samels (31st) and Drew Dailey (40th).
That proved just enough to get past a Severna Park team looking to do a little better than last year, when it finished second – again to Dulaney.
The Falcons got strong efforts from Garrison Clark (seventh) and Jonah Lane (14th) at the top. They also got points from Nathan Vandemeulebroecke (28th), Hugh O’Connor (29th) and Jacob Martin (32nd).
Hereford’s girls won their second straight Class 2A team championship. The Bulls finished with 52 points and beat Catoctin, with 92, to win once more.
Kelly Wesolowski (second) was the top Hereford runner. Emily Konkus (fourth) came next and then Kelly Shearer (sixth), Nicole Burkoski (15th) and Hannah Ace (29th) were the other scoring runners.
“We were pretty confident going in that we could win,” Wesolowski said. “We were able to grow as the season went on.”
Maria Coffin and Haley Cummins were the local girls who won state championships. Coffin, from Annapolis, won for the second straight year in a time of 17:49.38, a new course record for the state championship meet at Hereford, pulling away late to beat Abigail Green from Walter Johnson (17:54.40). Green’s time also broke the previous state mark but she came in second.
Coffin made her move a little past the midway point of the race and took charge after that as the senior again ran well.
“That was my main goal this year, to win a state title again,” Coffin said.
Cummins has ran well throughout her first season in cross country. The C. Milton Wright freshman won the Class 3A race in 18:41.61.
She gave a lot of credit to her coach, C. Milton Wright’s Donnie Mickey, and he gave her credit for gambling a bit and taking the lead early in the race.
“She ran an incredible race,” Mickey said. “She had a lot of guts to do what she did.”
Taylor Baranoski of Eastern Tech is the only local boys runner to win the state title. He believes he’s the first Maverick to win an individual state crown in cross county, and the senior captured the race in 16:03.88.
Baranoski said he took the lead after two miles and simply kept pushing. He was able to hold on and pull out the victory.
“It feels just great,” he said. “It feels like the season [is] complete.”
Click the links below for the complete team and individual results from each state race.