When Wilde Lake runner David Eisenhauer moved to the Columbia area before the start of the 2013 school year, he knew very little about his future high school’s cross country program, aside from what he could find online.
Since August, Eisenhauer has put up impressive finishes in both tri-meets and championship caliber races for the Wildecats.
In Thursday’s 3A East Regionals, the junior ran his best race all season, taking the individual crown with a time of 16:40.34 at Centennial High School.
“I felt really bad at the finish line,” Eisenhauer joked after the race as he congratulated his fellow finishers. “It feels great now.”
In last week’s Howard County Championship, Eisenhauer finished third, behind River Hill’s Chris Heydrick and Mt. Hebron’s Ben Weinstein. Coming into this race, he said his strategy was to stay with the county’s top runners for as long as possible.
“I knew I had to stay with them or stay just behind them so I could push it up the hills,” he said.
Heydrick finished second (16:50.99), while Weinstein (16:54.48), and Centennial runners Hutson Baumann (16:56) and Alec Font (17:06) rounded out the top five for the boys individuals.
For the second straight race at Centennial’s course, Mt. Hebron captured a team win. The Vikings (49) beat out the host Eagles by 11 points. River Hill (70), Atholton (94) and Reservoir (107) rounded out the top five.
In the girls race, it was business as usual for Shreya Nalubola, who captured the win with a time of 19:03.26. It was her second victory on her home turf in less than two weeks.
“This course is really difficult, and I’m glad I was able to do it a second time,” she said after the race.” My season has been really great. I feel all the work I’ve been putting in has been paying off.”
Just as she did in the county championships, Nalubola got out to a commanding lead following the first mile. From there, it was a race for second and third.
River Hill’s Allison Krein (19:34.44) and Reservoir’s Karli Smiraglia (19:36.55) battled just as they did in the county championships. This time, it was Krein who took home the silver, despite a last-ditch sprinting effort by Smiraglia at the finish line.
Centennial’s Devin McIntyre (20:12.24) finished fourth, while Glenelg’s Julia Nardone (20:26.09) took fifth.
The Eagles’ season of dominance was tested, however, as it tied for the overall team title with River Hill at 35 points.
In this situation, each school’s first displacer determines the tiebreaker.
Centennial’s Anna Li (14th) finished just ahead of River Hill’s Eileen Ying (17th) ensuring the win for the Eagles.
The boys race was close early on, as most of the field was stuck in one pack. Eisenhauer said he found himself too far in the back for his own comfort.
“In the beginning, when everyone was cutting over because we were in box one, I got stuck in 40th place and decided I did not want to stay there,” he said.
By the end of the first mile, the Wildecats’ top runner had moved up to eighth. That’s when he said he kicked into high gear.
“Something inside of me was just like, ‘Go now!’” he said. “I gave it everything I had until I hit the line.”
Wilde Lake coach Whitty Bass said he was proud of Eisenhaur, noting that his staff continues to be surprised by his performance.
“Today he ran a really smart race, and he put it to the top kids in the region,” said Bass. “It’s really hard to argue against him today.”
Eisenhaur’s coach added that he likes the runner’s chances heading into next week’s state meet, saying he’s “definitely in the mix, just like a lot of other people.”
For the girls, Nalubola set a steady pace that kept the top runners on their toes.
“She’s certainly gotten a lot better than last year,” said Krein after her second place performance. “I’m just trying to catch up. Karli (Smiraglia) has had a really good season too. She beat me last week, and she really pushed me today.”
Top finishers and teams will move on and comete in the state championship meet on Nov. 9 at McDaniel College in Westminster.
For full results, click here
In the 2A South Regionals, Marriotts Ridge, Oakland Mills and Hammond all competed for a chance to advance to states.
On the boys side, The Mustangs (41) and Scorpions (48) teams finished first and second, respectively. The Golden Bears finished the day in sixth with 134 points.
Last year’s 2A state champion Brit Lang—who had been injured and unable to finish last week’s county championship—finished second overall for the Scorpions in the girls race with a time of 20:01.
Marriotts Ridge finished second (75), Oakland Mills finished fourth (98) and Hammond finished fifth (107) in the girls team race.
6. Silas Buck, 18:22; 7. Aedan Hale, 18:24; 8. Jason Kohler, 18:26; 9. Sanjay George, 18:28; 11. Michael Bernal, 18:31.
3. Connor Holley, 18:02; 4. Joey Navario, 18:05; 10. Ian Holderman, 18:29; 13. Gavin Kohn, 18:33; Isaac Kirk-Davido, 19:07.
15. Nebiyu Samuel, 18:47; 19. Colin Pinkerton, 19:16; 26. Nate Palmer, 19:35; 31. Jonathan Gorel, 19:47; 43. Josh Carbo, 21:17.
5. Abigail Starks, 20:37; 9. Chloe Virden, 21:49; 17. Bailey Merrill, 22:56; 20. Katie Allgair, 22:31; 24. Amanda Miller, 24:02.
2. Brit Lang, 20:01; 15. Oriana Ovide, 22:47; 18. Mackenzie Snyder, 23:01; 28. Rosa Kirk-Davido, 24:51; 35. Emily Hebert, 25:27.
4. Julia Reed, 20:30; 14. Rachel Sandler, 22:26; 23. Emma Denlinger, 23:59; 27. Meg Murray, 24:43; 39. Alicia Feliciano, 25:50.
Howard, the county’s lone 4A school, traveled to Dulaney High School for the North Regionals.
Girls: Third place with 92 points
6. Gabby Rayner, 19:52.90; 14. Melissa Froh, 20:52; 21. Courtney Mann, 21:03.40; 23. Melissa Pratt, 21:24.30; 28. Taylor Jaranyi, 21:35.20.
Boys: Fifth place with 112 points
6. Luke Filar, 16:30; 17. Devin Rowell, 17:19.4; 28. Justin Hicks, 17:53; 29. Steven Eastman, 17:58.5; 32. Marcel Jones, 18:07.