John Carroll girls close cross country season with another win

The John Carroll girls' cross-country team presented a championship encore to conclude its championship season Saturday, winning the Maryland-D.C. Private School Championship in Gaithersburg.

Over a 5K course at the Agricultural History Farm Park, the Patriots placed three runners in the top eight to win the Large Schools Division race with a low score of 70. The National Cathedral School of D.C. finished second with 72.

The victory, which came on the heels of the team's IAAM championship, was the first for John Carroll in the annual meet. The Patriots finished third in it in 2006 and 2009, years in which they won IAAM championships.

Kristen Kohles again led the team, finishing second in 19:46. Amanda Spaeth placed seventh in 20:20, with Adria Pirozzi one second behind her in eighth. Alex Gromacki finished 29th and Ellie Marindin, 30th, both in 21:16, to complete the scoring. Faith Ensor, 39th in 21:35, and Holly Driver, 46th in 22:01 were the team's sixth and seventh runners.

"This is our most accomplished team in my 12 years at John Carroll," Coach Rob Torres said. "It's been a great season, and I'm sad to see it end."

John Carroll finished 13th in the boys' race. Will Hopkins ran 16:59 in 16th place to lead the team after Evan Moore, the Patriots' no. 1 runner throughout the season, fell during the race. Moore led John Carroll in the MIAA Championships at Oregon Ridge three days earlier, placing 11th in 16:58.

MPSSAA State Meet: Long Day, Short Day

Saturday was a long day for Harford County runners in the MPSSAA State Cross-Country Meet in Westminster. It was a short day, however, for Nick Fransham.

Fransham, a North Harford junior, was the best hope for a state title among Harford runners. But the gutty, two-time UCBAC champ dropped out of the 3A boys race with a sore knee after one kilometer.

When the 175 competitors lined up for the 3A boys' race, it was uncertain whether Fransham would be able to compete because of soreness that had persisted since the regional meet nine days earlier. He and his coach agreed that he should withdraw if the knee prevented him from sustaining race pace.

The situation was familiar to Fransham. He came into last year's state meet with hopes of a win despite a strained hamstring. Soreness derailed that effort, dropping him from third at the halfway point to 63rd at the finish.

"His chances were high," Eric Benjamin, his coach, said about his potential had the soreness abated for Saturday's race. "But that course was just as difficult as Hereford's in its own way. I do feel he had the ability to place in the top five, if not win."

The meet returned to McDaniel College for the first time in 21 years after the Hereford High School course, the traditional site, was altered for building construction this fall.

Runners found the McDaniel course, with a long hard climb just past the midway point, a difficult one. Once the 1,200 competitors had completed all eight races of the program, only two Harford runners had climbed the long hill fast enough to earn medals for top-25 finishes.

Fallston's UCBAC champ Nicole Wohlfort finished 17th among Class 2A girls in 20:07. C. Milton Wright's Max Anderson placed 25th in 3A in 17:03.

There were 86 boys teams and 75 girls' teams in the meet. The North Harford girls recorded the highest finish by a Harford team -- ninth in Class 3A. Megan Tidey placed 29th in 20:39 and Valerie Taylor, 42nd in 21:03 to lead the Hawks.

The North Harford boys had two top-50 finishes. Calen Dowley was 44th in 17:24 and Chris Busick, 46th in 17:27 to take 12th among 3A boys' teams without Fransham.

Patterson Mill placed 12th among the 23 teams in the 2A boys' race with top-50 finishes by Aaron Smith, 33rd in 17:38, and Lawrence Swartz, 45th in 17:48.

Noah Kudla finished 46th in 17:56 in Class 2A to lead Fallston to 14th place. The Cougars also finished 14th in the 2A girls race behind the Wohlfort.

Miriam Silton placed 35th in 20:58 among the 3A girls to pace C. Milton Wright to 12th place. Max Anderson led Wright to 18th place among 24 boys' teams in 3A.

Edgewood, with its leader Michael Dzambasow placing 70th in 17:49, finished 19th as a team, one place ahead of Bel Air. Ethan Brito led the Bobcats in 17:56 and 82nd place.

Billy Morris, the lone qualifier from Aberdeen, finished 45th in 3A in 17:27. Havre de Grace's Danielle Jankovich was 45th in the 1A girls race in 24:25. She was the only Harford runner in Class 1A.

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