Dulaney High senior Isabel Griffith made it look easy while cruising to her second straight Baltimore County cross country championship Saturday on her home course by 18 seconds over Hereford sophomore Sarah Coffey, but she acknowledged it was extremely stressful.
“I haven’t been feeling right, but I’m a very tough athlete, and I come out here and no matter what -- I’m going to run my best,” Griffith said. “My breathing was OK, but my legs, my body and my mind were just not in that place.”
Her time of 18:47 was 58 seconds off the pace she ran on the same 5K course in late September at the Barnhart Invitational.
That was also the last race she had competed in, and she admitted she was nervous.
“I not one who usually feels pressure, but I definitely felt pressure from myself today,” she said. “I think what happened to me today was I never worry about physicality ever and I always know I’m fit and know I put the work in and that is never my problem. But when I feel sick or I feel not exactly right, I have to worry more about my physicality and that stresses me out and that makes me nervous.”
While Griffith led the Lions, it was the Hereford girls who won the meet for the fourth straight year.
They finished with 25 points, well ahead of second-place Dulaney (63).
They were led by sophomore Coffey (2nd, 19:05.4), who won the junior varsity county title last year in a time of 21:10.2.
Erin Causey (3rd, 19:30.40), a senior, capped her county career with her fourth straight team title and praised the efforts of her teammates who included senior Uriel Lee (5th), sophomore Emily Causey (7th), seniors Lacey Brown (8th), Steph Reynolds (9th) and Emily Arnold (30th).
“We all push each other in practice,” Erin Causey said. “Even though we’ve had a lot of injuries and stuff, we have dealt with it pretty well.”
The Hereford boys' quest for a fifth consecutive county title ended when Dulaney stormed the front of the pack and won with 21 points.
Towson (60) and Catonsville (63) followed the Lions and Hereford (90) finished fourth in the race won by Dulaney sophomore Eric Walz (16:12.1).
Walz’s time was 2:25 faster than he ran while placing sixth on the same course in the junior varsity race as a freshman.
Walz, classmate Austin Carey (2nd) and junior Adolfo Cavalho (5th) went to the front of the pack early and set a fast pace.
“We have a lot of competition within the team and we’ve all been close together, but every race the order is different,” Walz said. “We want to win as a team, but we also want to beat each other and push each other.
The team triumph was especially sweet for senior Brian Witty (9th), who followed sophomore Andrew King (7th) and was one of five Lions in the top 10.
“All three years Hereford has been kicking our butts and this is the first year that it was our time to shine,” Witty said. “I think it was the perfect time before we (seniors) go out.”
Senior Nick Bond and junior Rex Ledesma also ran for the champions.
Dulaney 21, Towson 60, Catonsville 63, Hereford 90, Perry Hall 164, Loch Raven 179, Parkville 196, Franklin 231, Carver 269, Eastern Tech 292.
Hereford 25, Dulaney 63, Towson 67, Catonsville 129, Perry Hall 142.
Boys (top 15)
Eric Walz (DUL) 16:12.1, Austin Carey (DUL) 16:24.4, Jordan Leon (MM) 16:33.4, Hudson Thomas (TOW) 16:37.5, Adolfo Carvalho (DUL) 16:40.6, Nick Pindale (HER) 16:44.1, Andrew King (DUL) 16:46.5, Ben Mansfield (CAT) 16:51,2, Brian Witty (DUL) 16:53.0, Anthony Huynh (CAT) 16:59.4, Vaughn Parts (TOW) 17:02.2, Nick Bond (DUL) 17:08.2, Kirubel Asfaw (17:09.1), Dylan Kirby (TOW) 17:12.3, Colin King (TOW) 17:13.3.
Girls (top 15)
Isabel Griffith (DUL) 18:47.0, Sarah Coffey (HER) 19:05.4, Erin Causey (HER) 19:30.4, Tara Macdonald (CAT) 19:36.5, Uriel Lee (19:57.5), Hannah Voelker (TOW) 20:04.1, Emily Causey (HER) 20:10.8, Lacey Brown (HER) 20:11.8, Steph Reynolds 20:16.1), Cathy Toro (LR) 20:18.3, Isabella Chestney (TOW) 20:24.6, Anesseh Holt (LANS) 20:32.5, Casey Ryan (TOW) 20:45.9, Maria Andrade (DUL) 20:46.4, Sally Mercer (TOW) 20:48.5.