Vince Ciattei and Isabel Griffith came into the Baltimore County cross country championships at Dulaney with one goal in mind — to win individual titles for the first time.
Perry Hall’s Ciattei did it in convincing fashion on a cool Saturday morning — setting a county meet record in a time of 16:05.1.
Dulaney’s Griffith held off Hereford’s Meghan Anderson with a strong kick and clocked in at 18:56.9.
The Hereford girls and boys won the team titles for the third straight year.
Hereford’s Julian Rivera was second and teammates Jon Luckin, Kevin Payne, Kevin Collins and Gabe Rivera were right behind him.
Hereford’s 20 points were well ahead of runner-up Catonsville (68), who was led by senior Luke Chetelat (7th) and juniors Kirabel Asfaw (12th) and Jason Miller (15th).
The top five for the Bulls girls were: Anderson (2nd), Erin Causey (4th), Alicia Kozlowski (7th), Morgan Oakley (9th) and Uriel Lee (11th).
They had 29 points, ahead of second-place Dulaney (67).
Ciattei was happy to rebound from a tough county race in 2011, when he cramped up while in the lead pack and finished fifth.
“My priority was to win, but with the way my invitationals had been going, I really wanted to try and go for a sub-16 [minute] performance. But I knew when it was pouring last night that it was going to be tough to do today.” Ciattei said.
Ciattei was shadowed by four Hereford runners in the first mile, but broke away and never looked back.
“Vince has been unbelievable this year,” Hereford coach Jason Bowman said. “He went up and ran with the top guys in the nation last weekend so we knew Vince was going to be really tough to handle.”
Griffith, who finished second last year to Loch Raven’s Emily Ruppel, had Hereford’s Anderson in her shadow for most of the race.
“Meghan was on my tail the whole time,” Griffith said. “I know I have to work on my finishes, and I was trying and I couldn’t feel my legs and my arms were tired, but I wanted to win so badly and I was out there to do it.”
“Because Meg has a pretty good kick, we wanted her to have a chance to kick her down at the end, but Isabel is strong and she held her off in the end,” Bowman said.
Griffith surged in the final quarter-mile, winning by 10 seconds over Anderson and 17 seconds over Owings Mills’ Alyssa Taylor, the third-place finisher.
“I had to trust my training and trust my body,” Griffith said. “I felt really good today.”
Bowman was proud of the effort from the Hereford girls after a season in which two elite runners, Sara Carter and Causey, have battled injuries and have not run together in a race. Carter is still recovering from a bad SUV accident and Causey has had hip issues.
“The girls have had to step up and they did a great job of doing that,” Bowman said.
Although Hereford senior Luckin wasn’t happy with his own personal time, his team’s winning effort is right on schedule.
“It’s always a goal for us to win counties, regionals and states, and we did it the last two years and we fully intend to do it again,” Luckin said.
Individual top 15
1. Ciattei (PH) 16:05.1, 2. J. Rivera (Here) 16:25.1, 3. Luckin (Here) 16:28.5, 4. Payne (Here) 16:59.6, 5. Collns (Here) 17:04.1, 6. G. Rivera (Here) 17:05.2, 7. Chetelat (Cat) 17:08.1, 8. Vitek (PH) 17:13.1, 9. Carvalho (Dul) 17:14, 10. Gonzales (Dun) 17:14.4, 11. Solomon (Pik) 17:19.6, 12. Asfaw (Cat) 17:32.2, 13. Kirby (Tow) 17:33.1, 14. Witty (Dul) 17:35.2, 15. Miller (Cat) 17:36.1).
1. Hereford 29, 2. Dulaney 67, 3. Catonsville 98, 4. Perry Hall 101, 5. Towson 128, 6. Western Tech 158, 7. Loch Raven 163, 8. Franklin 189.
Individual top 15
1. Griffith (Dul) 18:56.9, 2. Anderson (Here) 19:06.9, 3. Taylor (OM) 19:13.7, 4. Causey (Here) 19:26, 5. Moore (PH) 19:43.4, 6. Macdonald (Cat) 19:44.9, 7. Kozlowski (Here) 19:50.2, 8. Llorin (Cat) 19:58.7, 9. Oakley (Here) 20:47.1, 10. Voelker (Tow) 20:56.4, 11. Lee (Here) 20:59.7, 12. Boyd (KW) 21:01.4, 13. McCleary (Here) 21:21, 14. Jones (Dul) 21:28.3, 15. Link (Dul) 21:31.3.