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Century

Coaches: Chris Mead, 1st year; Mindy Grosh, 1st year

2018 county meet finish: Third

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First meet: Sept. 7 at Spiked Shoe Invitational

Key losses: Leah Fenton, Kara Lang, Jessica McClelland, Chloe Sobchak

Key returners: Elise Greenwald, Erika Leimkuhler, Madeleine Mason, Lauren Wunder

Outlook: Mead returns after coaching the Knights from 2010-2017, and the team finished third at last year’s county meet. Greenwald took fourth place at counties last fall, and earned Times first-team all-county honors as a sophomore. This year’s Knights will be young, but no less competitive than any other season, Mead said via email. “They look forward to challenging themselves; both in practice and competition, while veterans are excited to form a strong pack with some talented incoming freshman,” he said.

Francis Scott Key

Coach: Tracey Smith, 1st year

2018 county meet finish: Seventh

First meet: Sept. 7 at Brunswick Invitational

Key loss: Lakota Comeau

Key returners: Maria Leppo, Emma Shipton

Outlook: The Eagles have two new coaches at the helm this season, and Shipton returns after spending the last two seasons at Century. The Eagles qualified for states with five varsity runners last fall and Leppo placed 15th at counties, ninth at the 1A West meet and 25th at states. “The girls look strong because of some key returning runners and a promising group of freshmen and sophomores who are new to the team,” Smith said via email.

Liberty

Coaches: Dan Jones, 30th year; Pete Lester, 9th year

2018 county meet finish: Fifth

First meet: Sept. 7 at Spiked Shoe Invitational

Key losses: Lilly Rainey

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Key returners: Sammie Spargo, Jenna Zietowski

Outlook: The Lions return their top two runners in Spargo and Zietowski and the duo earned first-team all-county honors in 2018. The duo finished sixth and eighth at last year’s county meet. Look for some fresh faces to make an impact for the team this season as well. “We have a smaller team this year, so staying healthy will be key; but if we do, we will have a chance to find success in the county, region, and state,” Lester said via email.

Manchester Valley

Coach: Nancy Hayes, 4th year

2018 county meet finish: Sixth

First meet: Sept. 11 vs. Century and Westminster

Key losses: Ellie Boswell

Key returners: Rubie Goffena, Margaret Frazier, Emily Herrold, Fenna Hott, Allison Rhoads

Outlook: The Mavericks return Goffena, the 2018 Times Runner of the Year. Goffena won last year’s county and 3A West meets, and capped off her freshman campaign with a fifth-place finish at the state meet. Hayes anticipates a healthy and successful season for the Mavericks. “This year’s team is comprised of dedicated runners who exude sportsmanship, camaraderie, and impressive work ethic,” Hayes said via email.

South Carroll

Coach: Joe Murray, 1st year

2018 county meet finish: First

First meet: Sept. 7 at Brunswick Invitational

Key losses: Hallie Thomas

Key returners: Danielle Firlie, Lexi Hardesty, Ansleigh Myers, Madeline Rathmann, Kelsey Shekore, Grace Siehler, Danielle Spencer

Outlook: The Cavaliers won their third county title in seven seasons last fall, led by first-team all-countian Danielle Firlie. Firlie finished third at counties, fourth at the 2A West meet, and seventh at states. She returns along with Shekore and Rathmann, who finished ninth and 13th at counties. “Cautiously optimistic about defending the county title,” Murray said via email. “Health of the team will be the key to a successful season.”

Westminster

Coaches: Jim Beacham, 9th year; Ryan DuLaney, 10th year

2018 county meet finish: Second

First meet: Sept. 7 at Seahawk Invitational

Key losses: Erin McGrath, Abby Manning, Julia Wawrzynski, Abby Manning

Key returners: Kristina Kemp, Alannah Kernan, Karissa Miranda, Paige Miranda, Cora Richardson

Outlook: The Owls graduated their top two runners in McGrath and Wawrzynski, but return a strong core that should make strides this season. Kristina Kemp and Karissa Miranda finished 29th and 36th at last year’s county meet. “The girls team returns a strong varsity and the depth will be paramount to the success of the team,” DuLaney said via email. “The girls are looking to take the next step in their progression.”

Winters Mill

Coach: Ben Brown, 8th year

2018 county meet finish: Fourth

First meet: Sept. 7 at Brunswick Invitational

Key losses: Dellaney Georgiana, Rachael Steers

Key returners: Kathryn Hopkins, Makenzie Hopkins, Brianna Mays, Abby Sneska

Outlook: The Falcons will have a familiar face returning to the team in Makenzie Hopkins, the 2017 Times Runner of the Year. Sister Kathryn Hopkins finished second at counties and third at the region and state meets. “Our numbers are smaller this year but we’re looking to use each and every runner that we have to be a successful team through successful training and working together as a team,” Brown said via email.

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