La Plata cross coun­try picks up wins

White fin­ishes as boys edge Braves, beat Spar­tans; girls down St. Charles

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

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).

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

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.

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