No. 4 River Hill had an easy time winning its third straight boys cross country title Saturday. No. 3 Liberty did not experience much trouble, either. For No. 2 Dulaney, though, repeating as champion wasn't quite so simple.
River Hill put three runners in the top 10 and breezed to the Class 3A crown, crushing the field and winning by 119 points over Linganore. Liberty rolled to its second straight state title with a 43-point victory over Carroll County rival Century in Class 2A. Dulaney edged top-ranked Severna Park by one in Class 4A to capture its second straight championship at the state title meet on a cold day at Hereford.
The Hawks dominated the Class 3A race. Rahul Reddy (second), Jacob Parker (fifth) and Ben Oldhauser (seventh) led the way. Anish Nanjappa (14th) and Kevin Reynolds (21st) were the other runners who scored as River Hill (47 points) trounced Linganore (166).
"We knew what we needed to do," Reddy said. "We just sort of did it. Most of us were seniors, and we wanted to win it this year."
The Hawks entered the meet after winning the Howard County and the East Region championships. Last year, River Hill won the Class 3A title by 76 points. The previous year, the margin of victory was 60.
Dulaney faced a tougher battle en route to its championship. The Lions, despite having no seniors, finished with 97 points and edged out Severna Park (98).
The original race results showed the Falcons winning by one but some technical problems made the race organizers re-score it, and the victory instead went to Dulaney.
Matt Owens (sixth) and Brian McCullough (ninth) paced the Lions. After that came Connor Martin (25th), Ethan Samels (31st) and Drew Dailey (40th).
"It was just an unbelievable season," Dulaney coach Chad Boyle said. "I'm so proud of this group for their work, their determination, and we're honored to be state champions."
Severna Park was led by Garrison Clark (seventh) and Jonah Lane (14th). The final three were Nathan Vandemeulebroecke (28th), Hugh O'Connor (29th) and Jacob Martin (32nd), and the entire situation disappointed coach Josh Alcombright.
"I don't think we came to run today," he said.
Severna Park also finished second to Dulaney in last year's state meet. Other top local finishers in the race were South River's Nick Boogades (third), Bel Air's Kieran McDermott (fourth) and Howard's Nicholas Deamer (fifth).
In the afternoon races, Liberty won its second straight state title, easily beating No. 10 Century (42-85).
"It's a great feeling," said Liberty's Nick Tilson, the team's top finisher in the race (third). "Being able to defend, it's such a great feeling."
Taylor Baranoski of Eastern Tech won the race in 16:03.88. Tilson took third in 16:21.98. Daniel Saxon (fifth), John Lemaster (sixth), Andrew Miner (13th) and Connor Stewart (15th) all gave Liberty points.
Jacob Spera led Century with his eighth-place effort. Theo Johnson (10th) also ended up in the top 10.