Sev­erna Park wins 6th straight boys ti­tle

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY CROSS COUNTRY - By Ryan Morse

De­spite the fact that the cal­en­dar year has changed, it seemed a lot like 2015 at the Anne Arun­del County cross coun­try cham­pi­onships Wed­nes­day.

The fact that the races were run at Ch­e­sa­peake was not the only thing that re­sem­bled last year, as the Sev­erna Park boys, Broad­neck girls and Annapolis’ Maria Cof­fin all de­fended their titles from last sea­son. South River’s Nick Boogades was the only new­comer to crash the ti­tle party.

Boogades took off from the out­set and led com­fort­ably most of the race, fin­ish­ing in just un­der 16 min­utes — which was 14 sec­onds ahead of Joseph LaFleche of the Fal­cons. Boogades cred­ited his ag­gres­sive ap­proach with his suc­cess.

“Some of the races I didn’t come in with a chip on my shoul­der, so I knew I needed to come in races more ag­gres­sive and more con­fi­dent and I def­i­nitely did that as the sea­son pro­gressed on,” Boogades said. “Com­ing in, all I re­ally was wor­ried about was our team. We were re­ally go­ing af­ter Sev­erna Park, and hon­estly, I wasn’t as fo­cused on my race as I was our team’s race as a whole and what we needed to do. I was try­ing to get ev­ery­body with me.”

Un­for­tu­nately for Boogades and his Sea­hawks team­mates, the Fal­cons have built a state and na­tional dy­nasty, so it was busi­ness as usual as LaFleche, Gar­ri­son Clark (third), Jonah Lane (fifth), Nathan Van­de­meule­broecke (sev­enth) and Sa­muel Martin (eighth) all fin­ished in the top 10, help­ing Sev­erna Park to its sixth con­sec­u­tive county ti­tle, 25-58, ahead of Broad­neck.

It is also the Fal­cons’ ninth county ti­tle in the past 10 years, made even more im­pres­sive by the youth of this year’s team: The only se­nior in the top seven is LaFleche.

“We have a young team,” Sev­erna Park coach Josh Al­com­bright said. “We are just tak­ing th­ese next two weeks to be more con­sis­tent and get to­gether more as a team. We have yet to have ev­ery­body click on all cylin­ders at one race; it’s al­ways some­body in that top four is hav­ing an off day. We are tak­ing it one step at a time. ... We just want th­ese guys to re­al­ize their po­ten­tial, so we al­ways have to be push­ing them.”

The Broad­neck girls have prided them­selves on work­ing as a team, in­clud­ing their county and re­gion cham­pi­onships last year as well as a fourth-place fin­ish at the state meet. With the whole team re­turn­ing this year, the Bru­ins had high hopes of re­peat­ing as cham­pi­ons but knew that with the im­prove­ment of Sev­erna Park, South River and Annapolis, they would have to stick to­gether.

They com­pleted that mis­sion and then some as Natalia Ja­cobo led the way with a third-place fin­ish while Ju­lianna Fer­nan­dez (fifth), Maya Sage (sev­enth), Madeleine Hur­ley (eighth) and Cierra Sch­nell (10th) all fin­ished in the top 10 to help the Bru­ins de­feat Sev­erna Park, 33-50.

“Our team is re­ally good at stay­ing to­gether, so if our pack gets in front of Sev­erna Park or South River’s pack, we will end up win­ning the en­tire race,” Ja­cobo said. “To­day that was our only goal, to get up there, stay close and don’t let any South River or Sev­erna Park girls get in be­tween us be­cause we know if we fin­ish one by one we will win it all.”

Ja­cobo missed nearly a month of the sea­son with in­juries, but her and her team­mates’ re­silience re­flected their men­tal tough­ness that coach Bri­anna Bos­tic knew they would show.

“I told the team, ‘We have the op­por­tu­nity, you had suc­cess here last year, let’s just re­peat it. Go out there and give it ev­ery­thing that you have and see how it turns out,’ ” Bos­tic said. “That’s what they did. They South River’s Nick Boogades was the only in­di­vid­ual or team com­peti­tor to win a cham­pi­onship for the first time. stepped up, ran great and I couldn’t be more proud of what they did to­day.”

Cof­fin en­tered her fi­nal county cham­pi­onship aim­ing to set her pace and pre­pare for states and na­tion­als, where she looks to de­fend her state ti­tle and im­prove upon her 27th place at the Foot Locker Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in San Diego.

She also com­mit­ted to Prov­i­dence ear­lier this month, so with the weight of a col­lege de­ci­sion off her shoul­ders, she was able to fo­cus on run­ning, which she did en route to a 17:25 fin­ish, a full 100 sec­onds ahead of her sis­ter, Anna, who fin­ished sec­ond.

MATTHEW COLE/BAL­TI­MORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

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