Con­quer­ing Here­ford

West­lake’s Hall places 4th in 2A boys race at state meet; North­ern girls, Patux­ent’s Jackson win

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TAMMY SHOWAL­TER tshowal­ter@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @tam­lyn­nusa

PARKTON — Cross coun­try run­ners from across the state took to the hills of Here­ford High School on Satur­day to put their legs to the test one last time in the 2016 sea- son. With coach, fam­ily and team sup­port, each ath­lete em­braced the chal­lenge of the 3.1-mile course known for its hills.

Satur­day’s 50-de­gree weather made the all-im- por­tant walk-through of the course and warm-up time even more im­port- ant for the ath­letes.

For Patux­ent se­nior Hay- ley Jackson, she just want- ed some alone time to pon­der and pre­pare men­tally for the Class 2A race that started at 2:30 p.m. She knew she was go­ing up against two strong run­ners in Julien Web­ster of Ca­toc- tin and Kelly Wesolowski of Here­ford.

Her strat­egy worked again this year.

Patux­ent head coach Dave Walser walked over closer to the view­ing area to get set for the race and cheer on his team.

As the race be­gan, Web­ster had a good lead in the first one-quar­ter of a mile. She strug­gled with cramp­ing through­out the race and Jackson could be seen com­ing around the bend to head for the last hill of the day with her stride steady and still strong.

Jackson claimed the win, her third con­sec­u­tive state ti­tle, with a time of 18 min­utes 19.52 sec­onds.

“I’m go­ing through so many emo­tions right now,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t easy to­day. I was go­ing through emo­tions. I didn’t feel like they un- der­stood [the pres­sure]. This race was re­ally im- por­tant to me.

“The sport has def­i­nitely changed a lot for me. I’m go­ing to miss it. I just ap­pre­ci­ate the sport so much and just the dif­fer- ent peo­ple that I’ve met, like An­nie [Imhof] of Great Mills and Sydney [Friedel] of Calvert. It doesn’t feel like like a ri- valry type sport and I just love it so much. I’m ex- cited that tracks go­ing to start, but I’m re­ally go­ing to miss my team. Coach [Walser] has been there for me. He’s let me cry on his shoul­der at times when I’ve got­ten an­gry or when I’m re­ally ex­cited, he’ll be there. My mom has coached me this sea- son and she’s changed so many things in the pro­gram for the pos­i­tive. All the par­ents on our team are just so sup­port­ive and I can’t thank them enough.”

Here­ford High won the girls 2A meet team ti­tle with 52 points. Calvert fin­ished ninth with 214. Patux­ent took 11th over- all with 319 and La Plata fin­ished 17th with 490.

In the 2A boys race, Calvert sopho­more Justin Diehl claimed sec- ond place in 16:18.71 as Eastern Tech se­nior Tay­lor Bara­noski won in 16:03.88. West­lake ju­nior Jay Hall was fourth with a time of 16:25.76.

Hall said he was happy with his time and his progress and he’s now ready for in­door track.

“I feel OK about it. There were some places I should have worked harder at on the course, but it was a good race over­all,” Hall said, “I’m happy with my time. I did a lot bet­ter than last year. I im­proved so that was the good thing. I’m happy with the sea­son over­all. I got my times down to where I wanted them to be.”

Team-wise, Liberty of Car­roll County was the 2A state boys cham­pion with 42 points. Diehl and Calvert placed third over- all with 114 points, while La Plata (399), Patux­ent (446), West­lake (495) and Lackey (510) were 14th, 16th, 17th and 19th, re­spec­tively.

North­ern grabs ti­tle in 3A girls

The Pa­tri­ots had four run­ners in the top 25 to take the 3A girls team ti­tle with 72 points, 17 bet­ter than sec­ond-place River Hill of Har­ford County. North­ern placed sec­ond a year ago.

C. Mil­ton Wright fresh­man Ha­ley Cum­mins won the race in 18:41.61. North­ern se­nior Molly Bar­rick was right be­hind her in sec­ond in 18:52.71.

“My strat­egy has al­ways been to speed up in the sec­ond mile and close the gap and to­day my strat­egy was to stay with An­nie [Im- hof] or one of the top girls [Cum­mins] for the first mile and then try to break the sec­ond mile,” Bar­rick said. “Our whole team trains all year for states, so this is def­i­nitely want we’ve been work­ing to­ward all year so we just wanted to show every­one what we’ve been work­ing for.”

Bar­rick’s fin­ish was the first of three straight for SMAC run­ners. Imhof, a Great Mills se­nior, was third over­all in 19:15.18, then North­ern se­nior Abby Sweeney came in fourth, just 81 one-hun- dredths of a sec­ond later.

Great Mills fin­ished 10th over­all with 254 points and Hunt­ing­town was 21st with 569.

“I didn’t quite have the race I was ex­pect­ing to­day, but Ha­ley Cum­mins is an amaz­ing young tal- ent and Molly Bar­rick has been a great com­peti­tor all sea­son,” Imhof said. “I’m look­ing for­ward to track sea­son and then run­ning at the Naval Acad­emy next year. I was very ex­cited that my sis­ter Emily won a medal to­day as well (plac­ing 20th, 20:44.64). I’m very proud of her and hope to run again on the same team in a cou­ple years.”

River Hill won the 3A boys team ti­tle with 47 points. North­ern fin­ished 12th over­all with 336, while Great Mills in 18th (448) and Hunt­ing­town in 22nd (584).

Poolesville ju­nior Ryan Lock­ett won the race in 16:00.65. North­ern se­nior Char­lie Sweeney was the first SMAC run­ner to fin- ish, tak­ing 11th over­all with a time 16:38.45.

Sweeney said he pre- pared well for the cold front that had come across the area by dress­ing in lay- ers all morn­ing. He said Lock­ett passed him on the sec­ond mile and that it’s been a great year.

“I knew there would be a big pack of at least seven of us up front and so I was go­ing to try and push up the back hills and do some work around mile two, but I ended up lead­ing the first mile and I think I got a lit­tle anx­ious and pushed the pace and they passed me on the down­hill,” Sweeney said. “I caught up a lit­tle and then from there on they just grad­u­ally went for­ward. I think my strength is more like 8Ks, like when I get to col­lege, but I’m re­ally happy with how this year turned out. I set a cou­ple course records and re­gional champs, so...”

The boys 4A team state ti­tle went to Du­laney of Bal­ti­more County with 97 points, edg­ing Sev­erna Park of Anne Arun­del County by one point. Leonard­town took 13th with 320.

In­di­vid­u­ally, Chop­ti­con sopho­more Tyler Mo­drze­jew­ski fin­ished 15th over­all, the first SMAC run­ner to fin­ish, with a time of 16:49.53. Leonard­town ju­nior Parker McDow­ell was 23rd (16:58.98). Richard Mont­gomery se­nior Ro­hann As­faw won the race in 16:04.24.

On the girls side, the team win­ner was Wal­ter Johnson of Mont­gomery County with 59 points. Leonard­town took 13th with 331.

North Point se­nior Rachel Nueslein fin­ished 18th over­all (20:23.73) to be the first con­fer­ence run­ner to fin­ish, while Leonard­town se­nior Liana Foian­ini was 24th in 20:43.45. Annapolis se­nior Maria Cof­fin won the race in 17:49.38.

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