Dulaney's Walz finishes second in 4A state cross country championship

Dulaney junior Eric Walz broke 16 minutes and captured second in the Class 4A state cross country meet for the Lion boys who also finished second.
Dulaney junior Eric Walz broke 16 minutes and captured second in the Class 4A state cross country meet for the Lion boys who also finished second. (File photo/2014)
Dulaney junior Eric Walz couldn’t have picked a better way to close his race on the way to a second-place finish in the Class 4A boys state cross country championship meet at Hereford High Saturday morning.
In the final 1/4 mile Walz closed a 50-yard gap on Northwest’s Diego Zarate and held him off at the finish in a time of 15:56.0.
Zarate clocked in at 15:56.3.
Both of them trailed race winner Evan Woods, of Walt Whitman, who ran a 15:49.
“I saw Diego kind of slow down and I was like, ‘maybe I’m not going to get first, but I think I can get this guy,’ ” Walz said. “I just surged after the dip and when I finally caught him I just kicked as hard as I could.”
Because of construction at the school, the course was altered and there is a slight downhill slope to the finish.
“I guess downhill running is kind of a weakness, but when you are kicking, it’s like I didn’t even notice,” said Walz, who was ninth in the state meet last year in a time of 16:19. “I wanted to win, but if I get second and I get under 16, that would be nice.”
The Lions (79 points) finished second as a team for the second year in a row to Severna Park (37 points), which won the state title for the third straight year.
Dulaney juniors Austin Carey (15th, 16:51.1), Sean Smyth (16th, 16:51.2) and Andrew King (23rd, 16:58) placed in the top 25 for the Lions, who were also represented by seniors Adolfo Carvalho (30th, 17:16) and Rex Ledesma (62nd, 17:55).
With five of the top seven back next year, Walz and coach Chad Boyle hope to raise the bar even higher.
“We are going to start training for it now,” Walz said. “We just want it. That’s the big thing.”
The Dulaney girls, winners of the Class 4A North Region title like the Lion boys, were highlighted by the top 10 performance of junior Kristin Meek (10th, 19:41).
The 2014 Baltimore County cross country champion, who played soccer last year, wanted to make up for her disappointing showing at the Bull Run Invitational on the same Hereford course in late September.
“I just wanted to redeem myself from what I ran at Bull Run and just try to get up there,” said Meek, who cut 70 seconds off her time from Bull Run after a stronger start. “I really tried to push myself that first mile compared to Bull Run.”
The Lions (144 points) trailed champion Walter Johnson (51), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (91) and Winston Churchill (135) in the race won by Bethesda senior Nora McUmber (18:39).
Dulaney placed five runners in the top 50, including freshman Dorrie Gaeng (27th, 20:43), sophomore Jessica Meek (33rd, 20:55), junior Brynn Jones (46th, 21:11) and senior Maria Andrade (47th, 21:12).
Junior Molly Turlington (69th, 21:43) and senior Carly Sniffen (73rd, 21:50) also ran for the Lions.

Towson girls continue to surge

The Towson girls proved its second-place finish in the Baltimore County championships (after losing a tie-breaker to Dulaney) and its Class 3A North Region title weren’t flukes, placing fifth in the Class 3A state race.
The Generals (142) trailed front-running River Hill (64), Albert Einstein (105), Urbana (108) and Centennial (129) in the race won by Urbana’s Emily Mulhern (19:02).
The talented first-year cross country trio of Towson junior Johanna Admiral (9th, 20:06), Sydney Conboy (17th, 20:30) and Lauren Miller (21st, 20:38) led the way for the Generals.
“I think we definitely blended as a team since the beginning of the year. We were already friends, but right now we are the closest we’ve ever been,” said Miller, who took second at the regional race. “Even though these races are so hard and they take it out of you, we’re all supportive of each other, so it’s just fun to be around each other.”
The competition among the top three helps bring out their best.
“They love it,” Towson coach Gil Stange said. “They don’t really care who wins. That’s nice.”
Also running for the Generals were Sally Mercer (51st, 21:58), Isabella Chestney (58th, 22:09), Morgan Jemison (69th, 22:31) and Karen Prem (114th, 23:57).
The regional champion Towson boys were 11th in the Class 3A race won by River Hill.

Vaughn Parts (24th, 17:20) placed in the 25 and Jonathan Ellis (65th, 18:06), Sushant Dhaurali (79th, 18:26), Luke Bender (85th, 18:31), Tyler Paul (95th, 18:36.6), James Kavanaugh (96th, 18:36.8) and Aidan Kirby (120th, 18:57) also ran for the Generals. 

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