Respect for the hills
Lackey cross country splits at Chopticon; Dobry finishes fourth in boys
The first Southern Maryland Athletic Conference cross country meet of the season for Chopticon, Lackey and Patuxent got underway without a hitch Wednesday afternoon at Chopticon High School. And even Patuxent’s Hayley Jackson, the girls 2015 Class 2A state champion, gave much respect to the tough course.
Jackson led the girls race early on and finished with the victory, crossing the finish line in 20 minutes 21 seconds.
Jackson said she and her team felt eager to get the first meet of the season going and in the books.
“I came in here thinking it was flat and maybe a few hills,” Jackson said, “but once we started taking the course walk I realized that wasn’t the case at all. We were told there were just a few hills, because we haven’t been here in like 10 years. My mom and coach Paul were thinking that there was just one hill, but we weren’t sure.
“I was like, ‘We got this. We’re going to have a great start to the season because all of us are running great times in practice and we’re getting stronger than last year. We’re not cocky or anything; we’re just ready to start our season and our times today aren’t where we want them to me [smiling]. Later on, we’ll accept it that this was a tough course and that it’s the first meet of the season and we’ll have Saturday’s meet (the Richard Barnhart Memorial Cross Country Invitational at Dulaney High School in Timonium), which will be a lot cooler than this. This heat today is a factor.”
Despite Jackson’s individual win, Chopticon’s girls (2-0 overall) finished second through fifth to record a 21-35 win over Patuxent (1-1), while the Braves and Panthers posted wins over the Chargers (0-2) who did not have enough runners to secure a team score.
Lauren Fancella finished second overall, first for the Braves, with a time of 22:37. Although on her home course, Fancella said the course still hits a runner hard.
“The hills are difficult,” she said. “I kind of wish I would have went a little faster, but it’s hot and it’s our first meet. I’m at a low 21 [minutes], so I really want to break 21 this year and had toward 19 minutes and get the team to states.”
Braves teammates Savannah Pullium (23:43), captain Maggie Moreland (23:45) and Makenzie Vandevander (24:02) finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Chopticon boys (20) grabbed the top two spots and fifth en route to wins over Lackey (2041) and Patuxent (18-45). The Chargers (1-1) edged the Panthers (0-2) for the split, 27-29.
Chopticon’s Tyler Modrzejewski took first overall with a time of 17:58 and teammate Darius White captured second in 18:15.
Brendon Jones was Patuxent’s first boy to finish, placing third with a time of 18:52. Jones said the race didn’t quite end up like he had hoped.
“The first mile I was right on pace (5:30) and then I started dying out and I started feeling a little tingly and I knew that wasn’t good so I backed off, and I decided I’d run with Chopticon’s second runner Darius, but I let him get too far away and I couldn’t catch back up to him. I have a race on Saturday anyway, so Darius and I raced together for a while and then the third mile I was pretty much by myself.”
Jones also gave respect to the course.
“The course is very difficult; very hard course,” Jones said. “Compared to other courses in SMAC, this is par for the course. It’s about the fourth hardest course in the conference.”
Lackey’s first male to finish was senior Jacob Dobry, a first-year runner. A three-sport athlete, Dobry plays soccer and also wrestles for the Chargers so he thought he would try cross country for endurance and staying in shape.
Dobry finished fourth overall in 20:05 with Chopticon’s Nicolas Gagnon in fifth in 20:14.
“It’s a good sport to do for endurance.” Dobry said. “The course was great; it was very tough especially in the woods. It was very hilly and going across the bridges, making the adjustment to the steps was tough.
When asked if he was happy with his time, Dobry said, “I am blessed; especially for my first meet.”