The top five sports sto­ries of 2018 are in

Stand­ing atop the state

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - ANDY STATES

Hav­ing grad­u­ated some se­niors who had been in­te­gral parts of a team that had won back-to-back state cham­pi­onships, there was a bit of an un­known fac­tor sur­round­ing the North­ern girls cross coun­try team as the 2018 fall sea­son be­gan.

By the sec­ond Satur­day in Novem­ber, this year’s Pa­tri­ots an­swered any out­stand­ing ques­tions and in rather em­phatic fash­ion. North­ern fol­lowed a per­fect reg­u­lar sea­son with ti­tles at both of the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence and Class 3A South Re­gion cham­pi­onship meets, and then capped off the sea­son with a third con­sec­u­tive 3A state ti­tle at the an­nual state gath­er­ing at Here­ford High School in Park­ton.

Led by a sec­ond-place fin­ish by se­nior Clau­dia Dolan, the Pa­tri­ots placed five run­ners within the top 26 to fin­ish with a score of 56, 12 points clear of run­ner-up Bel Air.

“The girls side of things, they ac­tu­ally panned out how I had hoped,” North­ern head coach Josh Daw­son said af­ter the meet. “I can’t say planned, but it worked out great. Bel Air is a great team, they are the team that should have come in and won, just be­cause of the depth that they have, but we were able to put three in front of their first run­ner. Clau­dia Dolan, Hannah Mack and Syd­ney Yankanich, 2, 3 and 6 over­all. I’m ab­so­lutely ex­cited. It’s the first time they’ve ac­tu­ally been sur­prised with the win. It was awe­some. The girls were here to win.”

While there may not have been supreme con­fi­dence that the team could de­liver the three-peat at the sea­son’s start, it was cer­tainly al­ways the goal.

“It’s re­ally just been the train­ing that we’ve done all sea­son,” Clau­dia Dolan said. “We have worked up to peak­ing for this race. We’ve pre­pared as much as we could and our coach did a great job. It’s kind of bit­ter­sweet. It’s painful to do run­ning, but I’m re­ally happy that we ended it with a team ti­tle again. It’s the best way to end it.”

Dolan won the girls races at both the SMAC and 3A South meets lead­ing up to the state cham­pi­onships, and had won the Bull Run In­vi­ta­tional at Here­ford ear­lier in the sea­son. But on Nov. 10, Hunt­ing­town’s Oakley Ol­son, who has since trans­ferred to North­ern, was the first to cross the line.

“It didn’t go how I want- ed it to,” Dolan said of the race. “We had an event here ear­lier this sea­son and I was pretty con­sis­tent, right around the same time that I ran at that in­vite. As far as the sea­son goes, I pro­gressed well and stayed up with my fit­ness. I was hop­ing to come home with a win to­day. Hunt­ing­town sopho­more Oakley Ol­son was close com­pe­ti­tion and beat me. We were even neck-and-neck all sea­son, so I’m happy that she was the one that beat me to­day.”

Af­ter fin­ish­ing run­ner-up to Dolan at both SMAC and re­gion­als, the state ti­tle was an ob­vi­ously sat­is­fy­ing con­clu­sion to the sea­son for Ol­son.

““For me it was a re­ally big ac­com­plish­ment,” Ol­son said. “It was a big sur­prise be­cause I had Clau­dia and Hannah [Mack] all sea­son, and at re­gion­als I lost to [Dolan] by a cou­ple sec­onds. So it was a re­ally big deal, and I didn’t think it was pos­si­ble un­til the last half mile of the race. Hunt­ing­town is a re­ally new pro­gram and we’re young, so our school is sup­port­ing it. My two lit­tle broth­ers have Duchenne Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy, so their mus­cles are break­ing down and soon they can’t walk any­more and I was run­ning for them.”

Hunt­ing­town’s Oakley Ol­son cross the fin­ish line at the state cross coun­try meet at Here­ford High School on Nov. 10.

FILE PHOTOS BY COLIN STOECKER

North­ern’s Clau­dia Dolan runs at the state cross coun­try meet in Novem­ber. Dolan fin­ished sec­ond to lead the Pa­tri­ots to their third con­sec­u­tive Class 3A cham­pi­onship.

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