No. 2 Hereford boys win third straight cross country state title
Bulls cruise to 63-point win on home course; No. 3 Reservoir girls win first state championship
Hereford runner Aaron Leininger, left, celebrates with fans and teammates after the Bulls won the Class 3A team state championship in cross country on their home course. (Patrick Smith / For The Baltimore Sun / November 10, 2012)
No. 2 Hereford was too much for everyone else in Class 3A, cruising to a 63-point win en route to a third consecutive state title Saturday afternoon at its home course. The Bulls also completed a third straight postseason sweep of the Baltimore County, Class 3A North region and state titles, finishing the job with little trouble.
The pack strategy also served the top-ranked Severna Park boys and No. 3 Reservoir girls, both of which won their first state title.
For Hereford, the Bulls placed two runners in the top 10 and all five in the top 19. The five runners were only 57.4 seconds apart and a big reason the Bulls finished with 52 points. Thomas Johnson (115) took second, just ahead of No. 3 Centennial (120).
"We had a lot of confidence, but you can never be 100 percent confident because you never know what can happen in a race," Hereford senior Jon Luckin said. "We work together. We're all similar ability levels, and it's a great experience."
Luckin led the Bulls with his third-place finish. Hale Bullen of Annapolis won the race in 16:19.5, edging out Howard's Danny Rau by seven-tenths of a second. Luckin (16:22.9) took third, 5.9 seconds ahead of Hereford teammate Julian Rivera. Kevin Payne (15th), Kevin Collins (16th) and Gabe Rivera (19th) were the other top Bulls.
Bullen scored his victory with a late charge in the final 800 meters. He was around fourth place at that point and decided it was time to move.
"It was time to bring one home for the school," said Bullen, who also won his county and region titles. "I just completely took off."
Severna Park also ran away from the pack in the tough Class 4A race. The Falcon boys placed three in the top 10 and all five in the top 17 — all only 37.8 seconds apart. Severna Park ended up with 47 points, far ahead of runner-up Walter Johnson (93).
Ryan Forsyth led the Falcons with his second-place finish after Clarksburg's Will Bertrand won the race. Jimmy Shipley took fifth, and Rhys Burgett (10th), Sam Pershall (16th) and Dillon Cooley were the final three Severna Park runners. Baltimore County champion Vince Ciattei of Perry Hall finished third.
The Reservoir girls placed five in the top 22 and beat out No. 4 Centennial, 65-73, for the Class 3A title.
Amy Oliver (eighth) and Cindy Alms (10th) were the Gators' only top-10 finishers, but the rest of the pack stayed close as the trio of Karli Smiraglia (15th), Katie Wilson (18th) and Heather Konstanzer (22nd) ran well.
The top five Reservoir runners finished just 27.6 seconds apart. The Gators also won the county and region crowns before this.
"The [pack] is one thing we started working on last year," Reservoir coach Judson Lincoln said. "That was really one of the best things we did. It's really paid off well for us."
Shreya Nalubola (third) and Devin McIntyre (11th) led the Centennial girls to their second-place finish in the classification. The top-ranked Hereford girls were going for a third straight state title in Class 3A but couldn't pull it off. Erin Causey (fourth) led the way, but the Bulls lost Meghan Anderson to an asthma attack during the race and ended up fifth overall.
Also for the girls, No. 2 Broadneck came in third in the Class 4A race. Bethesda-Chevy Chase won with 67 points, ahead of Quince Orchard (103) and the Bruins (119). No. 5 Dulaney's Isabel Griffith was the highest local finisher, taking fourth place.
Freshman Brittany Lang of No. 10 Oakland Mills led the Scorpions to a second-place finish in Class 2A when she won that race in 19:21.8. Calvert grabbed the team title with 57 points, ahead of Oakland Mills (101).
In Class 1A, the Manchester Valley girls finished second, led by Abby Culp and her second-place finish. Boonsboro won with 44 points, beating out the Mavericks (64). Boonsboro also won for the boys in Class 1A, and North Carroll's Grant Dell finished second.
Catoctin won the Class 2A for the boys, and Weston Carvalho of Winters Mill finished in second place.