Runner of the Year: Katie Hursey, North Carroll
Moments after capturing the Class 3A state championship in her first season of cross country, Hursey was asked to compare the experience with her previous incarnation as a soccer player. The junior replied, "This definitely beats sitting on the bench."
Hursey proved that she was anything but a reserve this fall as she bridged the success she had in outdoor track (Class 3A state crowns in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs) to performances she posted in cross country. After opening the season with back-to-back victories at the Westminster and Gettysburg invitationals, Hursey slipped to third in the medium schools division at Bull Run, which was her first time traversing the difficult course at Hereford High School.
The Carroll County Runner of the Year never lost again. Hursey won two more invitationals and then swept the postseason, including the Carroll County (18:38) and Class 3A West region (18:58.89) titles. Her winning time of 19:12.54 at the state meet was the fastest posted by a female runner in all four classifications.
Coach of the Year: Ed Purpura, Severna Park
With 14 of the top 25 runners from last year's Anne Arundel County varsity and JV championships and the addition of several promising freshmen, Severna Park was expected by many to win the Class 3A state championship. With only seven varsity positions, Purpura masterfully mixed rookies with veterans. The No. 3 Falcons won four of five invitationals with a variety of lineups. Purpura put his best seven out there for the postseason, and Severna Park swept the Anne Arundel County championship (the school's 20th in the past 23 years), the Class 3A East region crown and the program's first state title since 1998.
Sara Bailey, C. Milton Wright
The sophomore proved that her selection to the All-Metro second team last season was no fluke. Bailey never fell outside the top nine in seven invitationals and championships. The Harford County Runner of the Year claimed wins at the Class 4A North region meet (20:04.67), the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championships (18:55), the UCBAC's Chesapeake Division race (18:23) and the Bobcat Invitational (19:45).
Michelle Donadio, Franklin
A model of consistency, the senior finished in the top six in all six invitationals and championships. The Baltimore County Runner of the Year took home three first-place awards, including the Baltimore County (18:34.2) and Class 3A North region (18:16.80) crowns. Donadio's biggest victory was in the medium schools division of the Bull Run in 20:14, handing North Carroll's Katie Hursey her only loss of the season.
Brittany Furst, John Carroll
The junior was the catalyst for a Patriots squad that ended the season ranked ninth in the metro area. Furst never fell outside the top 10 in five invitationals and championships, and her worst performance was 10th in the seeded race at the Harford Invitational. Furst won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference title (19:18) and the large schools crown at the state private schools championships (19:40.10).
Katie Harman, River Hill
The freshman placed in the top six in six of seven invitationals and championships, and her worst finish was 11th in the seeded race at the Harford Invitational. Harman won at the Knights Invite in 19:26.81. She posted runner-up showings throughout the postseason - at the Howard County (19:47.20), the Class 3A East region (19:50.64) and state (19:37.72) championships.
Kelsey Hill, Severna Park
The freshman opened her varsity campaign with four consecutive wins - the public schools race at the Meade Autumn Classic (19:26.71), the Scorpion Crawl (19:02.24), the Anne Arundel County championships (18:50.2) and the Class 3A East region meet (19:19.15). Bothered by a hip injury, the Anne Arundel County Runner of the Year managed to finish 22nd at the state championships.
Christy Johnson, Bryn Mawr
The senior had three wins and one top-four showing in four invitationals and championships. Johnson's biggest victory was in the elite division of the Bull Run, where she beat some of the state's best public school runners in 19:38. The Baltimore City Runner of the Year also won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title (18:30) and the private schools race at the Meade Autumn Classic (18:48.14).
Kristen Malloy, Hereford
The consistent freshman compiled top-five showings in all five invitationals and championships. After finishing fourth in the elite division at Bull Run and fifth in the seeded race at the Harford Invitational, Malloy was second at the Baltimore County championships (18:50.3). She won the Class 2A North region meet (20:03.86) before finishing third at the state championships (20:43.31).
Laura Paulsen, Bryn Mawr
The senior was a perfect complement to Christy Johnson, who enjoyed competitive runs with her teammate. Paulsen never fell outside the top 10 in five invitationals and championships. Her worst effort was a ninth-place showing in the elite division at Bull Run. Paulsen, who kept opponents off Johnson's heels, never wavered at the IAAM championships, where she placed second in 19:02.
Alison Smith, Atholton
The junior posted seven top-three finishes in eight invitationals and championships. Smith, the Howard County Runner of the Year, won the Howard County Striders (20:10.17) and Lancer (18:55.3) invitationals. With her Howard County title in 19:29.90, Smith joined River Hill's Lee McDuff as the only female runners to win three county crowns. The two-time All-Metro pick also won a second straight Class 2A state crown (19:24.17).
Lauren Capone Towson, senior
Jessica Clarke Mt. de Sales, senior
Liya Kasimova Severna Park, sophomore
Emma Larkin Dulaney, sophomore
Liz McCarter Mt. Hebron, junior
Marissa McPhail Arundel, senior
Kelly Rush Dulaney, sophomore
Angeli Sivaraman Centennial, junior
Maureen Wahl Archbishop Spalding, senior
Tait Woodward Broadneck, sophomore
Note: Teams selected by Edward Lee after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.