Hurricanes girls run to sweep
McGirr wins as H-town boys split
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.
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.