Hur­ri­canes girls run to sweep

McGirr wins as H-town boys split

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Af­ter nav­i­gat­ing the re­con­fig­ured, slightly short­ened course at West­lake High School on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, a quin­tet of Hunt­ing­town High School girls cross coun­try run­ners were quick to beam about their nar­row vic­tory over Leonard­town.

In re­cent years Hunt­ing­town has been slightly over­shad­owed by ta­lented squads from North­ern and Leonard­town, but this year the Hur­ri­canes are qui­etly emerg­ing as the team to beat at the up­com­ing South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cross coun­try cham­pi­onships, cour­tesy of its depth, tal­ent and youth.

Leonard­town sopho­more Nelle Ray com­pleted the 2.7mile course first in 17 min­utes, 29.49 sec­onds, but Hunt­ing­town run­ners (9-1 over­all) claimed the next two spots and four of the top six to edge the Raiders (11-2), 24-31. West­lake (1-8-1) did not have enough run­ners to score.

“I think in the past North­ern was def­i­nitely the team to beat, but I def­i­nitely think that this is our year,” said Hunt­ing­town se­nior Mary Gor­man, who fin­ished sixth on Wed­nes­day (19:48.86). “At least, I’m hop­ing that is be­cause this is my se­nior year. We all con­stantly push each other in prac­tices and at the meets and now the goal is to win SMAC, re­gion­als and states.”

Through the first mile of the event, Hunt­ing­town sopho­more Oak­ley Ol­son (17:47.91) stayed within rel­a­tive strik­ing dis­tance of Ray, vir­tu­ally serv­ing as her shadow on the pri­mar­ily flat course. But Ray was fi­nally able to shake loose from

her near­est pur­suer in the last half of the event and sprinted clear to record her best time of the sea­son.

“I was a lit­tle sur­prised that she was stay­ing so close to me early,” Ray said. “I didn’t ex­pect her to go out with me early and force the pace, but I felt good the last part of it and I was re­ally hop­ing to break 18 to­day. So, I was re­ally happy with my fi­nal time. I’m hop­ing to win SMAC and then hope­fully win states. I learned my les­son last year at states — don’t run the first mile in un­der six min­utes.”

Ray may have gar­nered the in­di­vid­ual hon­ors on Wed­nes­day, but Ol­son and a trio of her youth­ful team­mates — Mary Gor­man is the lone se­nior — were ex­cited about

edg­ing the Raiders for the team ti­tle.

“I think this year we’re a lot closer group than last year,” Ol­son said. “We have a lot of young girls who re­ally work hard and want to keep get­ting bet­ter at ev­ery meet. We all push each other to get bet­ter and get faster. Now, we’re prob­a­bly go­ing into the next meet with the tar­gets on our back.”

“This was def­i­nitely our state­ment meet,” said fresh­man Kirsten Doty, who fin­ished fifth (19:45.40). “We wanted to come out here and prove that we have a re­ally good team.”

Hunt­ing­town ju­nior Conor McGirr (16:38.77) won the boys por­tion of the race, but Leonard­town run­ners cap­tured three of the next four spots and the Raiders edged the Hur­ri­canes, 26-30. Leonard­town (9-4) de­feated West­lake, 15-50, while Hunt­ing­town (5-5)

downed West­lake (5-5), 15-49. De­spite win­ning by nearly 15 sec­onds on Wed­nes­day, McGirr hardly seemed con­tent with his per­for­mance.

“Well, I was re­ally hop­ing to break 16 min­utes to­day,” McGirr said. “I think the course was flat, but we re­ally had to take our time go­ing through the first mile since we were a lit­tle un­sure where to go at first. But once we got back to the main course again, we were able to pick up the tempo.”

West­lake’s Char­lie Ucles (18:31.98), Artez Jones (19:24.83) and Mau­rice An­der­son (19:25.53) were sev­enth, ninth and 10th against Hunt­ing­town and took eighth, ninth and 10th against Leonard­town. Wolver­ines’ An­drea Lizano (25:54.18) and Court­ney Schae­fer (26:45.39) fin­ished 30th and 31st over­all to lead the girls.

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

Hunt­ing­town High School girls cross coun­try mem­bers Mary Gor­don, Oak­ley Ol­son, Vic­to­ria McAn­ney, Jane Gor­man and Kirsten Doty are all smiles af­ter the Hur­ri­canes edged Leonard­town, 24-31, in their cross coun­try meet at West­lake High School on Wed­nes­day. Ol­son, Jane Gor­man, Doty and Mary Gor­man were sec­ond, third, fifth and sixth, re­spec­tively.

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