Before the season and even during the fall campaign, Maryvale coach Jason Miller and his Lions knew that if they were to win the school's first ever Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland cross country title, defending champ Bryn Mawr would be their biggest hurdle.
The first step was beating the Mawrtians in a dual meet, and Maryvale was up to the task when the teams met in Brooklandville in September.
The real test, however, came in the MIAA championship meet Wednesday afternoon at Oregon Ridge Park where sophomore Kendall Gray and senior Colleen Cook led the way to a decisive victory and a B Conference crown.
Gray led conference finishers with a 20:13 on the hilly course in Hunt Valley. Cook was second, three seconds behind Gray.
Bryn Mawr freshman Amy Egan (20:26) was sandwiched between Cook and Maryvale junior Victoria Sill (20:45). Sophomore Callie Phillips (7th, 21:06) and senior Parker Gray (10th, 21:24) were the other top-10 finishers for the Lions (24 points).
Junior Alexa Corse (8th, 21:11) did the same for the Mawrtians (49).
"The girls prepped themselves very well," Miller said, noting the win came 10 years after Maryvale was denied an A Conference banner when it fell a point short to Mercy. "It was tough to keep motivated over the last 10 days."
He praised Cook for her senior leadership. The Anneslie resident sent individual letters to all of her teammates and coaches to pump them up for the meet.
"Colleen helped push everyone," Miller said.
The highest local finisher in the A Conference was Notre Dame Prep freshman Abby Potter (10th, 20:36). Junior teammate Summer Legambi (13th, 20:43) also paced the Blazers.
A Conference: John Carroll (36), McDonogh (56), Mount de Sales (74), Archbishop Spalding (85), Notre Dame Prep (108), St. Mary's (159), Severn (230), Mercy (245)
C Conference: Garrison Forest (44), Catholic (60), Glenelg Country (85), Oldfields (97), Indian Creek (148), Friends 164), Park (164), Pallotti (170), Beth Tfiloh (230)
Overall individual: Ellie Gonzalez (Catholic, 18:26), Kristen Kohles (JC, 19:38), Margaret Seybold (McD, 19:44), Jessica Harris (MDS, 19:58), Adria Pirozzi (JC, 20:05), Ellie Marindin (JC, 20:11), Kendall Gray (MVP, 20:13), Colleen Cook (MVP, 20:16), Alexis Weikert (Spalding, 20:20), Katrina Hrabinski (MDS, 20:24)