Ellie Gonzalez was not thrilled with her time (18:26) in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland cross country championships on Wednesday at Oregon Ridge Park in Hunt Valley.
Given that she ran 27 seconds slower than she did on the same course last season, the Catholic High senior's reaction to capturing her third consecutive IAAM overall individual title is understandable.
Even so, Gonzalez acknowledged that finishing first by a healthy 1:12 over runner-up Kristen Kohles of A Conference team champion John Carroll is still something special.
"I gave it my best shot," said Gonzalez, who set a course record last fall. "Either way, I knew everybody else was behind me, so that was still pretty good."
Gonzalez said that she took the lead from the start and pulled away over the hilly course.
"There are a lot of variables in a race, and you never know what they will be," she said. "Some days are better than others. Maybe this just wasn't my day."
Her Cubs (60 points) finished behind champions Garrison Forest (44) in the C Conference team standings while Maryvale (24), with sophomore Kendall Gray and senior Colleen Cook leading the way, prevailed in the B Conference over Bryn Mawr (49).
Using a strong group of pack runners, John Carroll (36) easily outpaced McDonogh (56) and Mount de Sales (74) to capture its first A Conference crown since 2009 and third overall under coach Rob Torres.
"Our plan was to get out fast," said Torres, 70-33 in dual meets in his 11-year tenure at the Bel Air school. "We felt if we were in a position to win at the 2-mile mark, we could close it out. Our pack running has been very good this year."
Kohles (19:38) finished ahead of McDonogh junior Margaret Seybold (19:44) among A Conference runners. Mount de Sales senior Jessica Harris was third, crossing the line ahead of John Carroll freshman Adria Pirozzi and sophomore teammate Ellie Marindin.
Sophomore Holly Driver was 12th and senior Amanda Spaeth 14th for the champs.
"The girls' times have been so close this year, so the way we work it is, if one girl has a bad day somebody else will pick her up," Torres said.
A Conference: John Carroll (36), McDonogh (56), Mount de Sales (74), Archbishop Spalding (85), Notre Dame Prep (108), St. Mary's (159), Severn (230), Mercy (245)
B Conference: Maryvale (24), Bryn Mawr 49, Annapolis Area Christian (60), Institute of Notre Dame (125), St. Paul's (126), Roland Park (146)
C Conference: Garrison Forest (44), Catholic (60), Glenelg Country (85), Oldfields (97), Indian Creek (148), Friends 164), Park (164), Pallotti (170), Beth Tfiloh (230)
Overall individual: Gonzalez (Catholic, 18:26), Kohles (JC, 19:38), Seybold (McD, 19:44), Harris (MDS, 19:58), Pirozzi (JC, 20:05), Marindin (JC, 20:11), Gray (MVP, 20:13), Cook (MVP, 20:16), Weikert (Spalding, 20:20), Hrabinski (MDS, 20:24)Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun