Coaches sometimes can be hard to please. But Centennial coach Kevin McCoy smiles a lot when talking about the early season success of his young team.
Centennial won the Barnhart Invitational last weekend at Dulaney, and the girls turned in another strong performance en route to the Large School division title in Saturday's Bull Run Invitational at Hereford.
The Eagles defeated a number of strong teams in the Bull Run, an event that's always popular due to its tough competition. There were 118 teams and about 3,000 runners in the various classes Saturday.
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Centennial finished with 68 points to edge Strath Haven (Pa.) by eight in the Large School division. Westminster (148) and No. 8 Severna Park (154) finished third and fourth, respectively.
"To now go back-to-back [weeks] with wins is a major confidence booster," McCoy said. "You can see it in practices. You can see it in everything."
What's most impressive for Centennial is that the Eagles are using a number of young runners to win these events. Sophomore Shreya Nalubola led the way with her second-place effort of 20 minutes, 22 seconds. That was 14 seconds behind winner Lucie Noall of Clarksburg.
But the Eagles also took advantage of good performances from freshmen Allie Driscoll (sixth), Devin McIntyre (13th) and Anna Li (22nd), plus senior Catie Bernhardt (27th).
"We run our hearts out every time," Nalubola said. "I think Centennial is going to do really well this year."
Also in the Large School divsiion, the No. 7 River Hill boys were second (79 points) behind Sherwood (55). Chris Heydrick (third) and Terry Tossman (sixth) led the Hawks with their top-10 runs.
In the Elite Division, Tatnall (Del.) swept the team titles for boys and girls. The Severna Park boys came close, but Tatnall (69) beat the Falcons by five points.
"We didn't run as well four through seven," Severna Park coach Josh Alcombright. "It's good to see that, on an off-day, we came that close. We just didn't have our best day."
The Falcons placed just one runner in the top 10. Ryan Forsyth took 10th place in 17:01, two seconds ahead of teammate Jimmy Shipley (11th) and four seconds in front of Ben Cambon (12th), also from Severna Park.
Hereford took fourth place with 118 points. Jon Luckin (fourth) and Julian Rivera (ninth) paced the Bulls.
The Hereford girls did a little better. Tatnall put four runners in the top 10 and won easily with 46 points, but the Bulls took second with 95.
They were missing Erin Causey (leg issues), but Hereford still fared well. Meghan Anderson (fourth), Sara Carter (eighth) and Alicia Kozlowski (17th) gave the Bulls top-20 runs. River Hill took fourth (144).
"Running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical," Anderson said. "We run hard together. We're a big family."
The Reservoir girls and McDonogh's boys were the other local team winners.
Cindy Alms won the Medium School race in 20:30 and led four Reservoir runners who placed in the top 10. Karli Smiraglia (second), Katie Wilson (fourth) and Heather Konstanzer (sixth) helped the Gators end up with 36 points and easily beat out North Harford (63).
Megan Tidey (third), Casey Welsh (fifth) and Annie Scott (seventh) gave North Harford its top-10 finishes.
The McDonogh boys (152 points) beat out Boonsboro (167) in the Small School division. Mikey Singer led the Eagles with his third-place effort, and Andrew Michelson (seventh) and Matt Brown (14th) both helped.