HAGERSTOWN —Those who witnessed all six races at the 30th annual Washington County Public Schools Elementary School Cross Country Run at Washington County Regional Park on Saturday saw every kind of finish.
Winners did it in all ways. There were winners who led the final half of the race or more, winners who charged from back in the pack to take control late, and there were races that were decided only in the frantic final 200-meter stretch.
In all, 693 Washington County students in grades three through five toed the starting line Saturday.
In perhaps the best battle of the day, Lincolnshire’s Jordan Cross sprinted past Maugansville’s Spencer McNamee in the final 50 meters for the victory in the 1,600-meter fifth grade boys race in 6:30.
Cross took the lead initially with about 400 meters left, but McNamee surged ahead early in the final stretch. Cross found a little extra to battle back and repass McNamee, who took second in 6:32.
“I was running out of steam, but I wanted to get (the win) so I kept pushing,” said Cross, who finished 20th in the fourth grade race last year. “It was just going back and forth. It was intense.”
The 1,600-meter fifth grade girls race was a two-girl battle between Maugansville’s Geraldine Betancur and Pleasant Valley’s Ali Rhinaman. Betancur led the entire second half of the race with Rhinaman in hot pursuit, but Betancur held on for the win in 6:51 with Rhinaman two seconds back.
“I could feel her coming, and I really pushed it,” said Betancur.
Rhinaman won the fourth grade girls race last year, with Betancur finishing third.
“I really wanted to do this, because I knew this was my last year,” Betancur said. “I have to thank my Mom, my Dad and my gym teacher, they really helped me.”
Rockland Woods’ David Butts finally caught and passed Old Forge’s Eli Knodle with about 100 meters left to win the 1,600-meter fourth grade boys race in 6:35.
Knodle — who settled for second for the second straight year, clocking 6:39 — led most of the race with Butts close behind.
“I wanted to run super fast and get in front of him,” Butts said. “It was really hard because I usually can’t run that fast that far.”
Maugansville’s Michael Murray charged into third with 400 meters left and held that spot at the finish in 6:44.
Old Forge’s Ashley Davis surged ahead of several contenders in the final 200 meters to win the fourth grade girls race in 7:06.
“I was trying to pace myself and do as best as I can,” Davis said. “I was thinking, ‘I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.’”
A group of five runners made up the lead group over the final half of the 1,600-meter race. Davis’ final kick beat out Williamsport’s Rachel Snavely (second in 7:08) and Smithsburg’s Andi Wynkoop (third in 7:14).
“They’re really good, but I thought I could do it,” Davis said. “I pushed it at the end with my sprint.”
Conococheague’s Eric Bender won a thrilling third grade boys race, finding fresher legs than several challengers over the final 200 meters of the 1,000-meter race for the victory in 4:35.