Leonard­town girls run to vic­tory in the rain

Calvert boys, Leonard­town girls sweep cross coun­try meet

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

On a cold, wet, rainy day, it was the Leonard­town girls and the Calvert boys cross coun­try teams that shined bright­est dur­ing a tri-meet Wed­nes­day at Leonard­town High School that also in­cluded Great Mills.

The Leonard­town girls (2-0 SMAC/over­all) earned two wins af­ter it slipped past Calvert 26-29 and de­feated Great Mills 15-50. The Cava­liers (1-1) earned the split fol­low­ing a 15-48 win over the Hor­nets (0-2).

The Calvert boys took seven of the top-10 places to col­lect wins over Leonard­town (24-35) and Great Mills (15-50). The Raiders (1-1) sal­vaged a win on the day with a 16-47 vic­tory over Great Mills (0-2).

“It’s a big win, es­pe­cially against Leonard­town be­cause they’re so deep,” Calvert head coach John Ma­jor said. “Once we get to our No. 4,5, 6, 7 run- ners, they’re pretty much a good group and to­day it came down to them, so it was just as im­por­tant as Justin win­ning. I’m pleased.”

Justin Diehl of Calvert won the boys race in 16 min­utes 32.50 sec­onds. Sean O’Roark of Leonard­town (16:53.10), John Dodsworth of Calvert (17:00.50), Parker McDow­ell of Leonard­town (17:09.50) and Paul Fag­nano of Calvert (17:18.90) rounded out the top five.

“Yeah, I’m happy with it,” Diehl said. “At first I told my­self I wasn’t go­ing to lead the first mile and then for some rea­son I was in the lead, so I just scratched that plan and went [for it]. We’re run­ning off pretty tired legs [af­ter com­pet­ing in the Sea­hawk In­vi­ta­tional at South River High School in Anne Arun­del County on Saturday] and we don’t want to peak too early.”

“I didn’t do too well per­son­ally,” Fag­nano said. “I felt good dur­ing the race, but I wish I would have done bet­ter. Af­ter the race I didn’t feel tired or any­thing. I feel I could have put in more ef­fort.”

Kevin McDanal was the first Great Mills boys run­ner to cross the fin­ish line, plac­ing 12th in 19:01.90.

“I did pretty de­cent,” said McDanal, a ju­nior, who elected to wear spikes. “It was pretty muddy and rain­ing so it fogged up my vi­sion glasses, but it wasn’t bad. There was a long stretch in the woods where I didn’t see any­one, so it was hard to judge [how I was do­ing].”

In the girls race, Syd­ney Friedel of Calvert took the top spot in 20:50.80.

“I was just try­ing to go out with a good, steady pace the first mile and throw in some surges,” Friedel said. “I was get­ting tired, but I had to kick it up a bit. The course was pretty tough. There was a lot of mud, but there were also a lot of flat parts.”

“She’s been work­ing

on get­ting out strong and faster,” Ma­jor said, “and she got out and held a nice lead.”

Leonard­town team­mates Nelle Ray (21:29.60) and Emily Imhof (21:41.10) fin­ished sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively. Round­ing out the top five were Rachel Geiger of Leonard­town (21:43.70) and Dana Miller of Calvert (22:00.90).

“I just went out with all the girls and then just booked it the last mile or two,” said Ray, who added she had to make some ad­just­ments on the slip­pery course. “It kind of changes your strat­egy be­cause I wanted to sprint around the turns, but it was too muddy so I had to slow down.”

“I am very happy with the way that I ran,” Imhof said. “I’ve been re­ally train­ing on my en­durance and try­ing to get my pace down, and this is a re­ally hard course, so I’m re­ally happy with the time that I ran. I re­ally tried to work on Mile 2 be­cause that’s my weak­ness, so I started pump­ing my arms, singing in my head and just re­ally re­lax­ing my shoul­ders. I feel my form was much bet­ter.”

“I was ex­cited to­day for them be­cause this was their first meet where they’re all get­ting to run,” Leonard­town head coach Brooke Fal­lon said, re­fer­ring to both of her teams. “They did a great job and most of them got per­sonal records and made def­i­nite im­prove­ments. And we had some sur­prises for the girls and boys, so I’m ex­cited to see the tal­ent I saw to­day [this sea­son].”

The top run­ner for the Hor­nets girls was fresh­man Jolie Ganzell, plac­ing 13th in 23:21.90.

“It was a lot of fun to run in the rain and the hills made it a lit­tle harder,” Ganzell said, “but I think I did pretty well.”

“We have a lot of new run­ners, so I think we did a re­ally good job,” Great Mills head coach Lynn O’Dell said of her two squads, many of whom set PRs. “We have two se­niors who came out for their first time and a lot of ninth-graders and we have some re­turn­ing peo­ple, but it’s ba­si­cally a re­build­ing year. This is tech­ni­cally their first time [com­pet­ing], so I’m very happy.”

The meet also sig­ni­fied a sort of home­com­ing for Fag­nano, who com­peted for the Raiders last year but trans­ferred to Calvert High.

“Hon­estly, it was a bit weird see­ing them across the [start­ing] line,” said Fag­nano, who cooled down fol­low­ing the race with for­mer Raiders team­mate Parker McDow­ell. “We’re all just a group of guys who are try­ing to reach the same goal which is to be as good as we can be.”

On the girls side, Emily Imhof suited up for Leonard­town for the first time af­ter run­ning for Great Mills High last year.

“It’s much dif­fer­ent and a lit­tle strange,” Imhof said of com­pet­ing for a bit­ter county ri­val. “It’s so weird some­times, and my mom re­ally liked the yel­low [jer­seys] so she could see me. But I re­ally like the girls and it’s also in­ter­est­ing just look­ing at the Great Mills team. There’s so many new faces.”

As for her for­mer green-and-yel­low and cur­rent blue-and-white wardrobe?

“I think I’m go­ing to make a quilt where half is my Great Mills shirts and half of it is my Leonard­town shirts and take that to col­lege,” Imhof said. “Then ev­ery­one will like, ‘Why are there two schools?’ and then I’ll tell them my unique story.”


Leonard­town’s Nelle Ray runs the last few me­ters on her way to a sec­ond-place fin­ish on Wed­nes­day in a home tri-meet that also in­cluded Calvert and Great Mills. Ray fin­ished in a time of 21 min­utes 29.60 sec­onds.

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