After back-to-back years at Chesapeake High, the Anne Arundel County Cross Country championships shifted back to Kinder Farm Park in Severna Park.
Despite a change in location, results remained the same, as Annapolis’ Anna Coffin and Severna Park’s Garrison Clark repeated as individual champions, while Broadneck’s girls and Severna Park’s boys repeated as team champions on Wednesday.
After her win last year, a Coffin runner had won the girls race for four consecutive years, with Maria doing it three times and Anna once.
Sitting off the lead group for the first mile, Coffin and South River’s Bronwyn Patterson were even on opposite sides of the chasing group.
Coffin and Patterson are familiar with one another, not only from cross country but also as club lacrosse teammates. Having edged Patterson by only a few seconds at the Boonsboro Invitational, Coffin knew she would have to move early due to Patterson’s closing skills.
“I’ve raced against Bronwyn many times," Coffin said. “I know she has an incredible kick, she’s super good at sprinting so I knew I wanted to make my move a little bit earlier then I usually would without her in a race. So that’s what I did and I was lucky enough to make some space.”
Coffin made enough space to win her final county championship race comfortably with Patterson taking second.
Including Sarah Sykora’s win in 2012, a Panther has taken the girl’s county title six of the past seven seasons, a special accomplishment.
“It’s awesome,” Coffin said. “I was never planning on running until I saw my sister do it and she was amazing so it kind of always made me want to be as good as her and I think it’s so awesome I was able to follow in her footsteps.”
Despite winning the past three county championships, the Bruins’ girls squad did not view itself as the favorite heading into this year’s county championships.
“We’ve been underdogs coming into the season,” Broadneck’s Anna Janke said. “We lost a lot of good runners last year and our top 10 and our top seven has been constantly changing. When Coach told us who was in the top 10 today, we all knew this was a good group. We are a super close team.”
Janke led the way with a third-place finish, with teammate Mollie Fenn right behind her. The Bruins placed four in the top nine, as Madison Palmer got seventh and Madeleine Hurley finished ninth. That was enough to hold off Severna Park, 38-44, and give Broadneck a fourth consecutive county title.
Severna Park’s Allyssa Combs (fifth), Kelsie O’Neil (sixth) and Caroline Gage (10th) all cracked the top 10, while Arundel’ Lindsay Wingeart finished in eighth.
The Bruins have achieved their success by fully buying into the team mentality, even eating lunch together every day in coach Brianna Bostic’s room.
“The whole time it’s been a team mentality,” Bostic said. “It doesn’t matter how we finish one through five, as long as we get those five where we need them to be.”
Four consecutive titles is a notable and difficult achievement, considering how often the roster turns over, but the Bruins have now built a legacy that each subsequent team wants to build on.
“It’s not something you expect with how competitive other schools are, but it’s a testament to the tradition that these girls have started,” Bostic said. “It’s kind of the mentality of the next man up, let’s keep it going. Kind of like how the Severna Park boys are.”
Those Falcons that Bostic referred to showed how well oiled their machine is, winning the school’s consecutive county championship and 11th out of the last 12, defeating South River 24-74.
Severna Park’s Garrison Clark led the way en route to his second straight county title, seizing the lead in the first half mile and finishing 19 seconds ahead of teammate Samuel Martin.
“I felt good,” Clark said. “My teammates and I all just trust in what our coaches have done to set us up to have success. We all just push each other, all the way down from the bottom up to the top, just pushing each other to be better.”
Sam Keeny of South River was third, Old Mill’s Jared Leath was fourth and Arundel’s Tanner Piotrowski finished fifth. After that it was four consecutive Falcons taking sixth through ninth in Jake Gelfand, Matthew Bateman, Nick Engleman and Nathan Vandemeulebroecke. Broadneck’s Spencer Tate came in 10th place.
For the Falcons, it’s just the beginning of what will be an exciting month of racing as they look to win their 11th consecutive region title next Thursday at Arundel before looking to defend their state title while winning the school’s fifth state championship at Hereford on November 10th.
“The boys ran well,” Severna Park coach Josh Alcombright said. “We did what we needed to do. It’s just the first step. We shook it out to see who was going to be our seven next week. We saw what we needed to see, which was more consistency up front so that was good.”
Severna Park has been a model of consistency the past decade plus, perhaps the facet of Severna Park’s success that Alcombright has been the most proud of.
“When you go back and look it, we are proud of the consistency,” Alcombright said. “Being able to put out that product every year. We lost five seniors from the top seven last year, but they just did the work they had to do and stepped up.”
1, Severna Park, 24; 2, South River, 74; 3, Arundel, 80; 4, Broadneck, 93; 5, Old Mill, 144; 6, Chesapeake, 157; 7, Annapolis, 197; 8, Southern, 249; 9, North County, 264; 10, Glen Burnie, 296; 11, Northeast, 355; 12, Meade, 359.