Run­ning in the sun

NP picks up wins at home cross coun­try meet; Nueslein third in girls

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @cfh­philly

The tem­per­a­ture was a bit on the warm side, but it did lit­tle to slow down Molly Bar­rick and her North­ern High School cross coun­try team­mates in the team’s first South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence meet of the year on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon at North Point.

Bar­rick led a group of three Pa­tri­ots in the top four as North­ern stormed out to strong start to the con­fer­ence sched­ule in a meet that also in­cluded Calvert and La Plata in ad­di­tion to the host Ea­gles.

“It felt pretty good. It’s re­ally hot,” Bar­rick said af­ter fin­ish­ing the race in 19 min­utes 39.67 sec­onds. “It was ac­tu­ally a pretty tough race, but it felt good to get a race in. I was happy with my place, but my time I was a lit­tle mad about. But it felt good for the weather.”

Join­ing Bar­rick’s first-place ef­fort in the top four for North­ern were Abbey Sweeney, who fin­ished sec­ond in 19:45.51, and Clau­dia Dolan (fourth, 20:22.25). North Point’s Rachel Nueslein was third (19:52.95), while Calvert’s Sydney Friedel was fifth (20:37.28).

Round­ing out the top 10 were North Point’s Mya Riven­burg (sixth), Calvert’s Lau­ren Miller (sev­enth), North­ern’s Kait­lyn De­lamer (eighth), Calvert’s Kayla Bren­nan (ninth) and North­ern’s Ali­cia Ben­nett (10th).

North­ern’s girls (3-0 over­all) earned three wins on the day, de­feat­ing Calvert 20-37, North Point 20-39 and La Plata 15-50. Calvert (2-1) picked up a pair of vic­to­ries, top­ping La Plata 15-49 and North Point 26-31, while North Point (1-2) de­feated La Plata (0-3), 16-44.

With a tal­ented, ex­pe­ri­enced group of run­ners, the ex­pec­ta­tions for North­ern’s girls are big. And while the goals the Pa­tri­ots have set can­not be reached un­til much later in the fall, their eyes are all fo­cused on what they want to ac­com­plish.

“We’ve been train­ing re­ally hard and we’re look­ing to­wards states, train­ing to­wards states,” Bar­rick said. “Ev­ery­thing we do dur­ing the week is train­ing to­wards the end of the sea­son, SMAC, re­gion­als and states. We’re just fo­cus­ing on our main goal.”

On the boys side, North­ern’s Char­lie Sweeney crossed the fin­ish line first in 16:31.81. But while a North­ern run­ner won in­di­vid­u­ally, Calvert boasted seven of the top 14 run­ners over­all in de­feat­ing newly minted ri­val North­ern, as well as La Plata and North Point.

Calvert (3-0) de­feated La Plata 16-48, North Point 15-48 and North­ern 24-34. North­ern (2-1) earned wins over La Plata (1940) and North Point (18-41), while the Ea­gles (1-2) nipped La Plata (0-3), 26-33.

“The team per­formed re­ally well to­day. I think we had seven run­ners in the top [14], so that was re­ally good,” said Calvert’s Justin Diehl, who fin­ished sec­ond in 16:57.19. “Per­son­ally, I didn’t have my best race, just wasn’t feeling it, but I’m re­ally proud of how the team per­formed to­day.

“I’m def­i­nitely feeling pretty good right now. We’re go­ing to start do­ing some harder work­outs, get into bet­ter shape. But right now it’s just a build­ing process to get into that bet­ter shape to­wards states and hope­fully a state cham­pi­onship for the team.”

Calvert also re­ceived top10 show­ings from John Dodsworth (fourth, 17:22.91), Ben Aris (fifth, 18:12.83), Liam Aris (sixth) and Isa­iah Wil­lett (eighth). La Plata was paced by Gage White, who fin­ished sev­enth, while North Point’s Daniel Walsh led the Ea­gles with a ninth-place ef­fort.

In ad­di­tion to Sweeney’s first­place show­ing, Greg Old­ham fin­ished in third for the Pa­tri­ots (17:16.45), while Reece Lohr took 10th.

Sweeney was rel­a­tively pleased with his day, as well as what the North­ern team has shown lead­ing into the meet on Wed­nes­day.

“I thought I ran well,” he said. “he plan was to kind of stick it out for the first two miles and see what I had left at mile two. That’s what I did. It was re­ally hot, but I felt good, my legs felt fine. When I got to two miles I put like a minute surge in and just pushed all the way in.”

Hav­ing lost some key se­niors from last year’s team, in­clud­ing Class 3A state cham­pion Matt Ben­nett, it might have been ex­pected that this year would be a down one for the Pa­tri­ots. But Sweeney felt op­ti­mistic that the group will re­main com­pet­i­tive.

“Per­son­ally I think the sea­son is start­ing re­ally well,” he said. “I’m still build­ing up mileage, so when I peak and taper later I think it will turn out well. Team­wise, I didn’t think we were go­ing to be too good this year, but our 4,5, 6, 7 run­ners are all start­ing to re­ally pick it up, and we have a fresh­man run­ning on var­sity who is re­ally start­ing to mo­ti­vate the up­per­class­men. I think peo­ple are go­ing to sleep on us this year and I think we can sur­prise some peo­ple.”

North Point head coach Jimmy Ball had sim­i­lar feel­ings re­gard­ing his team, which is chal­lenged by some youth and rel­a­tively low num­bers.

“We have a lot of young guys and this is their first con­fer­ence meet. You have the heat, I think they did as well as they could do,” Ball said. “Hope­fully by a month from now we can com­pete for a ti­tle. On the girls side we’re low on num­bers, but the girls come out ev­ery day and work hard. And Rachel’s go­ing to be their at the end. I’m ex­cited for where we’re go­ing to be.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

North Point’s Rachel Nueslein runs dur­ing the lat­ter stages of the girls cross coun­try race at Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon’s quad-meet at North Point. Nueslein fin­ished third in the girls race in a time of 19 min­utes 52.95 sec­onds in a meet that also in­cluded the teams from Calvert, La Plata and North­ern.

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