Since the day the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association announced its reclassifications for this fall season, people began pointing to a loaded Class 3A for cross country.
Towson, last year’s 3A state boys and girls champion, was joined by Severna Park, the 4A boys and girls champion from a season ago.
In a clash of titans, each storied program added one title to its respective legacy. Towson edged the Falcons for the boys team title, while the Severna Park girls ran away with their crown at Hereford High.
Towson’s Kieran Mischke, the boys individual champion, said there’s more to winning than just finishing first.
“It’s great to be on top but we don’t just want to win, we want to progress as a team,” he said. “We want to encourage our underclassmen to have good culture and a good team atmosphere. That’s what winning really is.”
Severna Park had won five straight state championships until it got paired against a Towson team that had a solid lineup from top to bottom. All five Generals scorers were in the top 30. Mischke was backed by Evan Cline (fifth place), Jack Blanchfield (17th), Trent Raffaelli (27th) and Theodore Brown (28th).
Towson totaled 72 points, followed by Severna Park (87) and Howard (92).
Severna Park was formidable as well, led by third-place finisher Taylor Jarvis (16:18.58).
“It was a good race, a tough race, we all got out pretty well,” Jarvis said. “At the end, we’re all kind of racing for each other. It didn’t turn out how we wanted; we were gunning for first place. But it’s always nice to be out here on a nice day racing with people you love.”
Jarvis was backed by Caden Lazzor (11th), Ty Maddox (22nd), Cooper Alahverdian (25th) and Leo Havens (33rd).
“Our team has great depth,” Jarvis said. ”All our effort goes into the freshman just as much as the seniors. Everyone gets treated the same. We’re all working for it. As people graduate we have people filling in all the time.”
Besides the team race, Mischke was involved in another close battle. He had to hold off a hard-charging Joey Ensor of Howard to win the individual title. Ensor was trailing but appeared to be catching up as the two hit the last hill shortly before the finish. But Mischke kicked into another gear and won in 15:50.10, a little more than 10 seconds faster than Ensor.
“I looked to behind me to make sure I had enough distance,” Mischke said. “My team’s all in that corner, all the girls, the boys, my family. Hearing their voices really pushes me to the finish.”
Kamas leads Falcons’ title run
The 3A girls race was never in doubt; Great Mills’ Carter Brotherton won it by nearly 30 seconds. But Severna Park freshman Josephine Kamas ran one of the best races of her young career, finishing fourth in 19:27.6. She was soon followed by several teammates as the Falcons finished with 66 points, comfortably ahead of second-place Howard (119).
“It was a great race. I think winning the state championship, I couldn’t imagine it any other way for our team,” Kamas said. “I think all the teams out here worked really hard, but day in and day out we were working and the girls, we work so well together. I don’t think I could’ve done it without them.”
Kathryn Murphy and Jocelyn DiAngelo finished 14th and 15th, respectively. Kaylee Jenish (23rd) and Madison Davis (27th) rounded out the Falcons’ scorers. Kamas acknowledged it was tough to keep pace with her teammates, but the struggle proved beneficial.
“I told myself I was going to get out with them, so I got out with them and it was hard,” she said. “I found in the first part I was struggling more than I normally do, but there’s something about the struggle that gives you more confidence and you can do it successfully. I think the drive I had to make sure all my work paid off and everyone’s work paid off was what did it.”
A pair of runner-up finishes
Howard freshman Claire Sivitz finished in second place (19:01.72), a performance she knew she had in her but wasn’t really expecting.
“I didn’t expect to get second first of all,” she said. “In my first mile, my strategy was to stay behind the two front girls and pass them at the end; I passed one. Still, I’m really proud of myself. I think I did good and I’m really proud of my time, too.”
Old Mill’s Tsedeke Jakovics was the top local finisher in the 4A races. The junior took second in the boys race, finishing in 15:44.95. He was running right behind eventual winner James Partlow of Thomas Johnson, but he couldn’t maneuver his way around Partlow on the final stretch.
“I felt really relaxed for the first two miles, even up the hill,” Jackovics said. “The part where the race left my hands was right by the baseball field. My opponent who came in first, he was kind of weaving left and right and that tripped up my stride. It was a good race tactic, got to give it to him. He probably would’ve got me on the kick as well; my legs were shot by that point.”