Kent Is­land’s Mul­li­gan cap­tures 2A East crown

Durner, Christofel lead North Caro­line rac­ers

Times-Record - - SPORTS - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ csknauss / email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — No one could catch Fiona Mul­li­gan on Thurs­day af­ter­noon at Egypt Road Re­gional Park.

A Kent Is­land High se­nior, Mul­li­gan de­cided to give cross coun­try a try this fall and has made it a good choice. She cap­tured the Class 2A East Re­gion cross coun­try cham­pi­onship to highlight the per­for­mances of Mid-Shore ath­letes at the meet.

Mul­li­gan spanned the 3-mile cir­cuit in 19 min­utes, 51.1 sec­onds, nearly five sec­onds faster than her clos­est chal­lenger, North Har­ford sopho­more Lau­rel Brown (19:56), on a sunny day with tem­per­a­tures in the low 70s.

“I knew I had a chance, but I was just hop­ing to PR (per­sonal record),” Mul­li­gan said. “I think I PRd. I just tried to tuck in be­hind who­ever was kind of run­ning my pace and try and stick with them, cause that re­ally helps to have some­body to run with cause you’re push­ing each other. The sec­ond­place girl, she popped ahead for a lit­tle bit in that sec­tion over there. … It was a gor­geous day; I thought it was fine.”

Mul­li­gan said she de­cided to run cross coun­try to stay in shape and to ready her­self for track sea­son. “It’s just a fun team. I love the team — it’s fun,” she said.

Mul­li­gan won the Class 2A state pole vault ti­tle dur­ing last spring’s track sea­son.

“She shows up and works hard ev­ery day,” Buc­ca­neers head coach Kris­ten Park said of Mul­li­gan. “All the suc­cess that she’s had she has def­i­nitely earned it. … She’s just an in­cred­i­bly hard worker.”

Kyra Schul­ties placed fourth (20:20) and Hannah Claggett (21:03.8) took 15th for the Bucs, who fin­ished se­cond (76 points) among the 10 girls’ teams com­pet­ing; thereby qual­i­fy­ing for the state tour­na­ment, which will be held at Here­ford High School on Satur­day, Nov. 10. North Har­ford won the 2A girls team ti­tle with 57 points.

Kent Is­land’s Molly Con­nelly, who won the Bay­side Cham­pi­onship, was the front-run­ner early but did not fin­ish the race.

Queen Anne’s County, led by Julia Red­path (6th, 20:23.8) and Maisie Mee­han (14th, 21:01), placed third, and North Caro­line, led by Zoe Durner (7th, 20:32.6) and Emily Lewis (12th, 20:55.2) fin­ished fourth to also qual­ify as teams for the state tour­na­ment.

Pat­ter­son Mill’s Ash­ley Betz pulled away from Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester ju­nior Sarah Con­don to win the af­ter­noon’s first event, the Class 1A girls’ race. Betz ran the course in 19:44.1 with Con­don the only other run­ner also un­der 20 min­utes at 19:57.8.

“It was me and Ash­ley; we pushed each other the en­tire race,” said Con­don, who was bat­tling a cold. “Up un­til the last turn to go into the straight is kind of where she passed me. At that point I was try­ing to get my breath. She’s so good ... but I def­i­nitely would have liked to do bet­ter.”

A lit­tle cooler weather would have been ideal for the run­ners, but no one was re­ally com­plain­ing, es­pe­cially not spec­ta­tors.

“The weather ac­tu­ally is pretty nice be­cause it’s not cold on your arms and it’s not hu­mid,” Con­don said. “It’s nice when it’s in the lower 60 cause it’s cool and you’re not overly sweaty. … I’ve been drink­ing lots and lots of wa­ter and try­ing to keep my lungs clear to­day.”

Con­don’s team­mates, Car­rie Price placed third (21:15.1), Anna Hyde eighth (22:22.9), and Ali­son Ridgely 12th (22:41) as the Vik­ings fin­ished se­cond (38 points), qual­i­fy­ing for the state tour­na­ment, be­hind front-run­ner Bo­hemia Manor (33). Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s Con­nor McCroy, the Bay­side Con­fer­ence cham­pion, held off Bo­hemia Manor’s Zachary Laird at the fin­ish line to place se­cond in 16:02.4, a new per­sonal record for McCroy in the boys’ Class 1A race.

“I couldn’t ask for any­thing more; it was per­fect,” McCroy said. “It was a great way to fin­ish. I wanted un­der 16. I came in a lit­tle short at 16:02, but I PRd. Four years for this race. It went about what I ex­pected. I knew one of the Bo Manor boys would go out fast. I knew that I would have to work to get back up. And I knew that they wouldn’t be used to all the twists and turns back in the woods, so ev­ery cor­ner I would surge.”

With the up­com­ing state meet on very hilly course, McCroy has re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions for that meet. He said he would take it easy dur­ing the win­ter in­door track sea­son and pre­pare for the 3,200 me­ters in the spring. “I’m go­ing for un­der 10 in the two-mile,” he said.

Bryce Jones placed eighth for the Vik­ings (17:43.9), John Con­don ninth (17:44.5), and Sam Slacum 14th (18:18.9).

Bo Manor, led by first­place fin­isher Alex Longe­way, won the nine-team Class 1A boys’ race with 31 points, with Cam­bridge-SD se­cond with 57. Kent County’s Daniel Rick­man placed sev­enth (17:31.2) for the Tro­jans.

North Har­ford’s Wil­liam Tikiob won the Class 2A boys’ race with a time of 15:47.4. Kent Is­land’s Isa­iah Shul­ties placed sev­enth with a time of 16:34.8. Finn Walsh was ninth (16:40.4), Cade Don­nelly was 12th (17:17.6), and Jack Pearse was 15th (17:27.9) for Kent Is­land. The Buc­ca­neers (64) fin­ished one point be­hind Har­ford Tech­ni­cal (63) for the team cham­pi­onship and qual­i­fied for the state tour­na­ment.

“We fought hard to­day, un­for­tu­nately we came up a lit­tle bit short,” Park said of her teams’ per­for­mances. “They all went out there. They all put their all in and they did ev­ery­thing we could ask for, and we just got out-per­formed. … We knew the boys was go­ing to be close, but they left it all out there on the course and that’s all I can ask of them.”

Queen Anne’s, led by Jamie Thomp­son (16th, 17:34.3) and Con­nor Reese (26th, 18:05.1) placed fifth among the 12 Class 2A boys teams com­pet­ing to also qual­ify for the state tour­na­ment.

North Caro­line’s Wil­liam Christophel placed 11th (17:10.6).

PHOTOS BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

North Caro­line’s Wil­liam Christophel

North Caro­line’s Zoe Durner

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