Com­ing in first

Raiders boys sweep quad-meet, Ray wins girls race

The Enterprise - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

There’s most likely no fu­ture for Josh Daw­son as a bas­ket­ball coach.

As a cross coun­try coach? That’s a dif­fer­ent story.

The North­ern girls fin­ished sec­ond through sev­enth and went on to sweep North Point, La Plata and host Leonard­town and re­main per­fect in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence dual meet sea­son.

The Pa­tri­ots (11-0 over­all), who de­feated the Raiders (20-41), Ea­gles (15-50) and War­riors (15-50), are one win ahead of Leonard­town and need just one win in Wed­nes­day’s fi­nale against Chop­ti­con and host Patuxent to win the ti­tle out­right as North­ern holds the tiebreaker.

“I’m happy over­all and I think ev­ery­one’s work­ing

re­ally hard and their times are drop­ping,” Daw­son said. “I’m ex­cited to see how the end of the sea­son goes.”

Daw­son’s fu­ture as a hoops coach was clear when he and his run­ners chucked empty wa­ter bot­tles from the bleach­ers and all missed the trash bin. Maybe they weren’t aim­ing for the trash? Or maybe they were?

Leonard­town fresh­man Nelle Ray won the race in 19 min­utes 6.9 sec­onds to help the Raiders (10-1) take home two wins.

“I was kind of go­ing to let Abby lead it for a bit and see where that took me and if I could pass her,” Ray said of North­ern’s Abby Sweeney, who fin­ished sec­ond, more than 27 sec­onds be­hind. “I knew she was re­ally good, but I passed her right be­fore we went in the woods the sec­ond time and then I just used all the turns and curves in the woods to get away from her.”

“She re­ally wanted to beat Abby to­day so we said, ‘Go out and do what you need to do that’ and she did,” Leonard­town head coach Brooke Fal­lon said. “She’s just go­ing crazy out there. She’s just a big sur­prise to us.”

Sweeney led an on­slaught of seven Pa­tri­ots to the fin­ish line as Clau­dia Dolan (19:46.2), Sarah Deresky (20:20.4), Alyssa Ta­tum (20:49.3), Abby Set­z­fand (20:51.4) and Hannah Mack (20:54.1) all fol­lowed Sweeney to the fin­ish line.

“I thought it was a pretty good race and I def­i­nitely had some­one to push me,” Sweeney said of Ray. “She pushed me through­out the race and got me af­ter the 2-mile [mark]. It was def­i­nitely a hard course with all of the roots and the hills and the rocks. The rocks def­i­nitely got the best of me com­ing out of the woods and I [fell and] got my knees pretty good.”

Leonard­town’s Emily Imhof (eighth, 20:59.9)

and Rachel Geiger (ninth, 21:24.6), North­ern’s Kait­lyn De­lamer (10th, 21:25.1) and North Point’s Mya Riven­burg (11th, 21:43.9) rounded out the top-11.

“I’ve been hav­ing some hip pain, it’s been re­ally tight, so I was happy to come back this week,” said Riven­burg, who was one of four Ea­gles to sit out last week’s race in an at­tempt to keep their legs fresh. “I re­ally like this course be­cause of all the woods; it keeps ev­ery­thing serene and re­laxed. I don’t like run­ning in cir­cles so that one part where it goes around was kind of rough, but when I got back in the woods and started open­ing up my stride that re­ally helped.”

The Ea­gles (6-4) man­aged a 15-43 win against La Plata.

Alexis Collins was the top run­ner for the War­riors (3-7) when she placed 36th in 25:43.4.

The roles were re­versed on the boys side as North­ern’s Greg Old­ham won the race in 16:32.4, but the Raiders placed three run-

ners in the top-5 to sweep the meet.

“I just went out as a rea­son­able pace and tried to keep it as long as I could,” Old­ham said, “and when there was no one be­hind me I slowed down a lit­tle and kept my pace.”

The Raiders (10-1) swept North­ern, La Plata and North Point to move a win up on the Pa­tri­ots with one race re­main­ing.

Fi­nal boys scores were un­avail­able at press time.

“We’re very proud of them be­cause a few of them re­ally had to fight hard in this meet,” Fal­lon said. “And there were some sur­prises as well so we were pleased to see some of the younger kids step up.”

“I was def­i­nitely look­ing for­ward to it and we just wanted to keep the train rolling and we def­i­nitely wanted to beat North­ern be­cause that would prove we were still pretty com­pet­i­tive,” said Leonard­town se­nior Parker McDow­ell, who placed sec­ond in 16:54.6. “We were eye-balling this meet and hats off to them, they

put up a good fight.”

McDow­ell added: “I was plan­ning on go­ing out with Greg, but he went out and killed the first mile, so af­ter that point I just wanted to set­tle in and stride out. I re­ally wanted to fo­cus on re­lax­ing be­cause the last few races I’ve had a prob­lem tens­ing up.”

North­ern (9-2) earned two wins on the day and the Ea­gles took one.

“I thought my guys placed bet­ter than I thought they would and ran very well,” Daw­son said. “I’m very happy with all of the times and the packs are get­ting tighter.”

Leonard­town’s Sean O’Roark (third, 17:31.1), North Point’s Josh Doughty (fourth, time un­avail­able), Leonard­town’s Matthew Kosten (fifth, 17:38.7) and North­ern’s Jack Lehn­hardt (sixth, 17:39.5) rounded out the top six.

North Point’s Ray Steven­son (sev­enth, 17:54.7) and La Plata’s Ethan Kane (eighth, 18:01.4) each led their re­spec­tive teams.

“I think I ran pretty well to­day,” said Kane, who

was com­ing off a sprained an­kle. “I started at a pretty fast pace and kept it up un­til the end.”

“[My] strat­egy was just get up the hills as far as pos­si­ble and try and keep my pace through­out the whole race,” said North Point’s Lo­gan Hand­work, who was ninth in 18:18.9, “and at the end just pick it up and fin­ish.”

The War­riors (4-6) have just 28 to­tal run­ners.

“We had a lot of PRs and we’re try­ing to build the pro­gram so they did well to­day,” La Plata head coach John Childers said of both teams. “Right now we’re not at a place where we can beat a lot of these teams. We’re at a place where we can try and build the pro­gram and get them faster each week and we are.”

North Point (5-5) squared its record at .500.

“We’re young, ev­ery­one’s banged up and run­ning against two great teams,” North Point head coach Jimmy Ball said. “I’m very thrilled where we are now.”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Leonard­town’s Nelle Ray crests a hill on her way to win­ning the girls race Wed­nes­day in a time of 19 min­utes 6.9 sec­onds.

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