La Plata cross country falls in regular season finale
Warriors lose to H-town, L-town; White finishes 2nd in boys race
As they have done throughout much of the season, the Leonardtown High School cross country team made quick work of its Southern Maryland Athletic Conference opponents again on Wednesday afternoon at La Plata High School, as the Raiders boys and girls both departed with a pair of lopsided tallies.
The Leonardtown boys (13-0 SMAC/ overall) put the finishing touches on an undefeated league regular season by downing Huntingtown, 15-48, and La Plata, 19-44, while the Hurricanes (9-4) earned a split by edging the Warriors (7-6), 22-37. Leonardtown’s boys captured six of the top seven spots at the event, with La Plata’s Gage White spoiling the clean sweep with a runner-up performance behind Raiders junior Parker McDowell.
“It was really hot today,” McDowell said. “I made sure to really hydrate before the race and I took a few extra sips of water before we started. My focus was to go out and win today so we could win against both teams and finish the season undefeated. That was really the main goal. We just wanted to get the lead pack and make sure we won as a team.”
McDowell completed the three-mile course in 17 minutes 26.56 seconds to finish nearly 21 seconds ahead of White (17:47.38). Paul Fagnano (18:06.17), Samuel Katulich (18:10.31), Sean O’Roark (18:15.38), Ben Ciancio (18:25.21) and Reed Pilkerton (18:25.62), all Raiders, completed the top seven. Huntingtown’s Dylan Watson (18:37.88) and Aidan Baird (18:39.26) were eighth and ninth, respectively. Huntingtown runner Colin Flynn has missed the last three meets after requiring an appendectomy.
“Parker is really fast,” White said after his runner-up effort on Wednesday. “I stayed with him until about a mile into the race and then he started to pull away from me. From there I just wanted to focus on finishing second. It was definitely hot today. I drank five bottles of water earlier and loaded up on graham crackers, one of my favorite things to eat on race day.”
Amid slightly cooler conditions, the Leonardtown girls (12-1) coasted to identical 15-50 victories over La Plata and Huntingtown on Wednesday as Raiders senior Liana Foianini (21:10.00) led her team to a sweep of the top nine placings at the meet. Kristen Buck (22:17.57), Courtney Lawson (22:21.74), Bethany Laird (22:23.51) and Rachel Geiger (22:24.45) completed the top five for the Raiders.
“It was a little warmer today than it has been, but I didn’t think it was nearly as hot as when the boys went out,” Foianini said. “There were some cool spots in the woods. This course is not very hilly, so once you got into the shaded areas it was fine. We have the SMAC championships next week (scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Chaptico Park) and I’m hoping to go there and finish in the top five.”
Buck, who also competes for the school during the indoor track and field season each winter and the outdoor track and field season in the spring, although primarily in sprints and hurdles, was pleased with her runner-up effort on Wednesday. She had offered no pretensions of catching Foianini, but she wanted to stay well clear of Lawson for the runner-up honors.
“I mainly paced myself behind Courtney,” said Buck, who also has hopes of finishing in the top 10 at SMAC. “I was behind her for a while and then I just caught a runner’s high and took off. I felt really good the last part of the race. Now we’re hoping to do well as a team at SMAC and I’m hoping to mainly finish in the top five if I can.”
Huntingtown (9-4) earned the split in defeating La Plata (6-7), 17-44. Huntingtown’s Maitlin Greiner (23:02.11), Savanna Ligsay (23:16.23) and Margaret Foulkes (23:56.92) were 10th, 11th and 16th, respectively, but they were the top three finishers against the Warriors as Hasana Brown (24:03.20) was 17th overall for La Plata.
La Plata High School’s Gage White completes the three-mile course on his home track on Wednesday but settles for second behind Leonardtown High School junior Parker McDowell who led the Raiders to a sweep of the dual meet by finishing nearly 21 seconds ahead of the Warriors runner.