Runner of the Year: Alison Smith, Atholton
When Smith finished the Class 2A state championship race at Hereford, the senior truly looked as if she'd been in a battle. Mud was splattered all over her because she fell about midway through the race, watching Kristen Malloy of Hereford and others pass her.
"All of a sudden, I'm on the ground," Smith said after the race. "My legs gave out and I was so worried." But Smith got back up, ran right back into contention and took command, winning her third straight state title.
Smith then went on to place fifth in the Foot Locker Cross Country Northeast regional and earned a trip to the national finals in San Diego, where she finished 18th. She was just the fourth Maryland girl to qualify for the meet.
Smith, a four-time All-Metro pick, also was Runner of the Year as a sophomore. In addition, she became the first girl to win four straight Howard County championships.
She also is a dominant performer in outdoor track, where she was an All-Metro selection and won two straight 800- and 3,200-meter state titles. Smith is considering offers from Syracuse, Villanova, Virginia, Georgetown and others.
Coach of the Year: Matt Stump, Howard
Stump guided the Lions to their first state title this fall. He pushed the team concept, constantly telling his runners the importance of everyone's points.
The Lions bought into it and eventually became one of the most balanced teams in any of the state's four classes, taking off around midseason. They went on to capture the Howard County, Class 2A South and state titles.
Howard had come a long way since last fall, when it finished ninth in Howard County, seventh in the Class 2A South region and 14th in the state meet.
Elyse Borisko, Howard
Borisko played a major role in Howard's surprising run to its first state title. The sophomore turned in big performances in several key races, finishing fourth in the Howard County title race and second in Class 2A East.
Borisko ended the season with a second-place finish in the state meet, beating Hereford's Kristen Malloy on her home course.
Nicole Clarke, John Carroll
Clarke's first year of cross country proved to be an outstanding one. A quarter-miler in track for the past two years, she made a smooth transition to the longer distances.
The junior set a John Carroll course record in a regular-season contest. She also took second in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship meet and third in the state private schools meet.
Katie Hursey, North Carroll
The senior saw her long winning streak end when Liz McCarter of Mount Hebron beat her in the Class 3A state title race. Hursey, the Runner of the Year last year, ran cross country for two years and her only other loss came at the 2005 Bull Run Invitational.
She was one of the state's most dominant runners. She and McCarter both will be running for Syracuse next year.
Liya Kasimova, Severna Park
She played a key role in Severna Park repeating as state champion. The junior won the Anne Arundel County meet, took third in the Class 3A East regional and finished fifth in the state.
She also took seventh in the elite division at Bull Run. A second-team All-Metro pick last year, Kasimova's consistency helped carry the Falcons.
Hillary Lee, South River
The freshman quickly established herself as one of the area's top runners. She combined with teammate Mary Fromme and others to help the Seahawks become one of Anne Arundel County's top teams.
Lee took second in the county meet and in the Class 4A East regional. She finished seventh in the state meet and earlier finished second in the Meade Autumn Classic.
Kristen Malloy, Hereford
Malloy set a meet record (18 minutes, 40 seconds) in winning the elite division of the Bull Run Invitational on her home course this fall. The sophomore also won the Barnhart Invitational before slipping to third in the Class 2A state meet behind fellow All-Metro picks Alison Smith of Atholton and Elyse Borisko of Howard.
Malloy also was an All-Metro pick last year and is a top runner in both indoor and outdoor track.
Liz McCarter, Mount Hebron
After losing to Katie Hursey of North Carroll three times this season, McCarter made a bold mid-race move to take charge and beat Hursey for the Class 3A state title. Still, the senior stumbled and fell at the end and had to crawl the final 10 yards for the victory.
McCarter, who is headed to Syracuse, also won the Class 3A East regional title and took third in Anne Arundel County.
Angeli Sivaraman, Centennial
The senior was somewhat overshadowed by other Howard County runners such as Atholton's Alison Smith and Mount Hebron's Liz McCarter, but coaches and runners certainly knew her.
Sivaraman took fifth in the Bull Run elite division early in the season. She then finished fifth in the county championships, second in the Class 3A East regional and third in the state meet.
Erika Stasakova, John Carroll
The junior evolved into the Patriots' top runner by the end of the season. She took fourth in the Harford Invite and second in an in-season meet.
But Stasakova then won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship and followed that with a second-place finish in the state private schools meet the next week.
Name School Class
Kate Askine Dulaney Senior
Sarah Bailey C.M. Wright Junior
Anjelica DiNucci Dulaney Junior
Mary Fromme South River Soph.
Katie Harman River Hill Soph.
Kelsey Hill Severna Park Soph.
Marta Randall Hereford Soph.
Kelly Rush Dulaney Junior
Lindsay Wilson Seton Keough Senior
Tait Woodward Broadneck Senior