senior Caroline Willard and juniors Claire Mack and Kimmie Palace. Adding lift is a solid looking sophomore group, led by Molly Connelly (eighth at Track and Trail), Carly Turner, Katie Norman and Olivia Kendall, and freshman Hannah Claggett.
A junior running cross country for the first time, Sanchez won last week’s season opener at Kent County, and placed fifth in the large school varsity boys’ competition at Track and Trail. Stanfield (14th at Track and Trail), Nichols, who is expected to return from injury today, and sophomores Cade Donnelly and Shane Peters should make the Buccaneers a serious contender for a seventh consecutive conference championship. There appears to be plenty of support from the likes of sophomore Curtis
Perez, James Alexander, and junior Ben Ferragamo.
North Caroline The Bulldogs lost some major players from last year’s title run, including Sturm, Savannah Herbert, Emma Beaven and Savannah Bixler.
“My last year’s number four is now number one,” Whiteley said of senior Megan Hannegan.
The Bulldogs are not without talent though. Sophomore Emily Lewis, who had an outstanding outdoor track season in the hurdles, is back and will look to push current No. 2 and 3 runners, freshmen Sierra Reynolds and Hamnia Josselyn. Senior Alana Reynolds, who ran the 4 x 800 relay as a freshman, could be among the group that pushes for the important fifth spot, along with sophomore Natalie Calloway, junior
Katie Saathoff and freshman Hailey Gauck.
Junior Troy Smith and senior Mitchell Kato lead the boys’ core group, which also includes junior Melvin Umana and senior Kyle Shurtz. How senior Seth Layton, sophomore Tony Gonzales and freshman Cody Groves progress could be pivotal in whether Caroline earns a trip to states. Queen Anne’s County Wilhelm returns four of his top five from last year’s girls’ team, which placed third at Baysides and again qualified for states.
Senior Maddie Wilson, junior Taylor Peck and sophomore Maisie Meehan, who finished sixth, eighth and 13th, respectively, in the 2A East, lead the way. Senior Emily Gates, who has run track and comes over from field hockey, could provide a boost. Gates finished sixth in last week’s opener at Kent County and medaled at Track and Trail.
Junior Natalie Wilson — Maddie’s sister — also comes over from field hockey. If she and sophomores Grace Sweetak and Audrey Weese continued to improve, the Lions could challenge for their first conference title since 2007, and again be headed to Hereford in November.
“As long as we can stay healthy, our top four girls are pretty strong,” Wilhelm said.
The boys could be a lot like last year’s team, with runners switching places from week to week, led by junior Kevin Schmidt.
“Hopefully he’ll be running in the 17s by the end of the season,” Wilhelm said of Schmidt, his No. 1. “Everyone else is going to be kind of bunched together. It’s going to be tough for them to finish first or second in the Bayside, but we should be able to finish up high enough to hopefully qualify for states again, which is always our goal.” Saints Peter and Paul Second-year head coach Chris Thompson hopes to continue developing a team that has 13 boys and just two girls.
Senior Jack Singelstad and sophomore Ryan Summers lead the pack, though placing high in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships could take some doing. Sophomore Fred Bradbury and freshman Aubrey Perry lead the support group.
Senior Molly Martell and returning junior Melissa Wetherbee can regular-season races and invitationals, but there is no Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship.
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