Lacey EdenThe Maryvale cross country team won their second consecutive IAAM A Conference championship on Tuesday, but Archbishop Spalding made life tough for them.

Even though the Lions took first place with 51 points, the freshman-filled Spalding girls came close. Lacey Eden won the race for the Cavaliers. However, Maryvale did a little better and pulled out a nine-point victory in the meet held at Stevenson University.

Eden made a late move to pass 2015 champion Emily Craig and win in 19:05.75, edging out the Maryvale senior by 4.68 seconds. Teammate Allysa Combs finished third, nearly 19 seconds behind Craig. Still, the Lions had enough to win thanks to strong performances throughout their lineup.

“I think our team ran amazing today,” Craig said. “I think this was our best meet this year.”

The Maryvale strategy was a simple one – pressure the other team’s runners in the first part of the race since coach Jason Miller said, after studying video, that it’s harder for runners to really change position a whole lot on that course.

It’s a flatter course, which can play to the speed of Spalding, and that’s what happened. But since Maryvale ran well in the first part of the race, the Lions took command.

“We just had to get out early,” Miller said. “That was crucial.”

In the end, Rachel Thomas finished sixth while Maryvale teammate Isabel Pineo ended up 12th. Brittney Graff finished 15th, just ahead of Julia Piet in 16th.

That was enough for the victory, but Spalding certainly made a statement. The Cavaliers have a number of talented freshmen, led by Eden and Combs, who turned in strong performances on a cool and windy day.

Eden hung close to Craig, staying just behind her much of the race. After waiting on her shoulder until just before the end, Eden said she took off with about 400 yards left. She passed Craig and easily won the race.

“I was trying to stay with her,” Eden said. “I just took off.”

Combs and Eden do a good job of pushing each other, and they both give the young Cavaliers a good foundation, especially if both are at the school for the next three years.

But the two freshmen are able to help each other get better, and they both like doing it.

“We’re each other’s biggest competition,” Combs said. “I think we [push the] other.”

Coach Mike Ward said that five of his top runners are freshmen. He took over the program in August and was told that he had a bunch of good young runners.    

Ward said he’d wait until he saw the team but quickly became a believer when he saw girls like Eden – who also is a very good ice-hockey player – and Combs.

“These kids are tough mentally,” Ward said. “[Eden’s] an all-around athlete. She’s unbelievable.”

There was one race overall with B and C Conference championships given to runners and teams based on their finish in that run.

Roland Park won the B Conference with 37 points, and Park captured the C Conference with 35. In the B Conference, Alayna Gibson of Roland Park was first in 20:34.59 with teammate Elizabeth Currie right behind in second (21:03.29).

Park placed three runners in the top five. Seton Keough’s Abigail Sullivan took first in 21:03.58 while Park’s Clara Brill-Carlat (second, 21:07.22) was next. Also from Park, Julia Luljak (third) and Maeve Thistel (fifth) ran well.

2016 IAAM CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
(AT STEVENSON UNIVERSITY)

A CONFERENCE

Top 3 Teams
1. Maryvale, 51
2. Archbishop Spalding, 60
3. Notre Dame Prep, 64

Top 10 Individuals
1. Lacey Eden, Archbishop Spalding
2. Emily Craig, Maryvale Prep
3. Allysa Combs, Archbishop Spalding
4. Amy Egan, Bryn Mawr
5. Samantha Facius, Mount de Sales
6. Rachel Thomas, Maryvale Prep
7. Kelly Szalankiewicz, Mount de Sales
8. Emily Wayson, Notre Dame Prep
9. Adria Pirozzi, John Carroll
10. Gabby Lorenzi, Notre Dame Prep.

B Conference

Top 3 Teams
1. Roland Park Country, 37
2. St. Mary’s, 65
3. St. Paul’s School for Girls, 93.

Top 10 Individuals
1. Alayna Gibson, Roland Park Country
2. Elizabeth Currie, Roland Park Country
3. Hannah Kulla, Oldfields
4. Hannah Rhea, Roland Park Country
5. Gillian Adkins, St. Mary’s
6. Kylie McMahon, St. Mary’s
7. Leigh Hardy, Garrison Forest
8. Maddie Miller, Annapolis Area Christian School
9. Julia Schaefer, Annapolis Area Christian School
10. Sydney Siegmeister, Roland Park Country

C Conference

Top 3 Teams
1. Park, 35
2. St. Vincent Pallotti, 74
3. Glenelg Country School, 86

Top 10 Individuals
1. Abigail Sullivan, Seton Keough
2. Clara Brill-Carlat, Park
3. Julia Luljak, Park
4. Nicole Garza, St. Vincent Pallotti
5. Maeve Thistel, Park
6. Skylar Johnson, St. Vincent Pallotti
7. Emily Shorb, Glenelg Country School
8. Olivia Oleary, Glenelg Country School
9. Celka Rice, Park
10. Annette Bernier, St. John’s Catholic