La Plata cross country picks up wins
White finishes as boys edge Braves, beat Spartans; girls down St. Charles
When the numerous runners from a quartet of Charles and St. Mary’s County high school cross country teams convened at La Plata High School on Tuesday, they found the atmospheric conditions ideal although the soggy terrain in the wooded areas of the course proved tricky to navigate.
Great Mills junior Ryan Kennedy won a prolonged stretch battle with La Plata’s Gage White to capture the boys event, then Hornets sisters Annie Imhof and Emily Imhof finished one-two in the girls division. Runners from Great Mills may have had the longest commute to and from the meet, but the Hornets certainly made the journey worthwhile.
Save for a few segments of the course where the runners could stay on the track or the paved pathway connecting the two areas of the course, runners found the soggy terrain in the wooded areas somewhat prohibiting. Kennedy won a stirring stretch duel with White and completed the course in 17 minutes 26.29 seconds, roughly one second ahead of the Warriors runner who fell at one point during the race.
“Once we got into the woods, it seemed like there was only three of us in the front group and then it came down to me and Gage,” Kennedy said. “Then we came out of the woods it was just me and Gage and we came onto the track at the same time. I was glad he was there to push me. I am hoping to break 17 [minutes] at some point this season, but today the footing in the woods was really tough and there were a lot of tree roots.”
Kennedy’s narrow victory keyed the Hornets boys (5-1 overall) to a sweep over Chopticon (23-36), St. Charles (15-49) and La Plata (23-35). La Plata (24) edged Chopticon 27-29 and beat St. Charles 16-47 to post two wins on the day, while Chopticon (3-2) defeated St. Charles (1-4), 15-48.
Chopticon’s Tyler Modzrejewski (17:42.48) and Darius White (17:44.40) finished third and fourth, respectively. Great Mills’ Quinton Nasman (18:27.82) was fifth. St. Charles’ Benjamin Carson (20:08.10) was 16th overall and the top finisher for the Spartans.
There were no surprises in the girls event that followed as Annie Imhof (19:48.27) and Emily Imhof (20:49.76) led a one-twothree finish for the Hornets with teammate Anna Staats (22:09.22) finishing about a minute behind them. Chopticon senior Lauren Fancella (22:22.32) was fourth overall to post the best finish for the Braves, while Asha-Ashanti Turner (25:56.32) was 16th overall and the Spartans best finisher. Great Mills’ Savannah O’Dell (22:44.59) was fifth.
“The course was somewhat sloshy and slushy at some point and there were a lot of puddles,” said Annie Imhof, the defending Class 3A girls state cross country champion. “I was just trying to get through there without rolling an ankle and getting hurt. This was only our second SMAC meet, so I really haven’t been able to figure out what times I need to go when we start facing some bigger teams.”
Fancella, who also runs indoor track during the winter and participates on the Braves outdoor track and field team, chased the Imhof sisters through the soggy terrain and completed the course about 36 seconds faster than teammate Savannah Pullium (22:58.36), who was sixth overall.
“There were some places where it was slick,” Fancella said. “It probably got soggier after the boys ran over it. I was hoping to break 21 [minutes] today, but I didn’t come close to that. By the end of the season I’m hoping to come in around 19 [minutes].”
Bolstered by the efforts of the Imhof siblings and Staats, Great Mills (5-1) swept Chopticon (20-36), St. Charles (15-50) and La Plata (17-44). Chopticon (4-1) picked up two wins, 15-47 over St. Charles and 17-39 versus La Plata. The Warriors (1-5) notched a win with an 18-39 victory over St. Charles (0-4-1).
Great Mills runner Ryan Kennedy sprints clear of La Plata’s Gage White in the final strides of their cross country meet at La Plata on Tuesday. Kennedy and his Hornets teammates completed a sweep over the Warriors, Chopticon and St. Charles in the four-team event.