Liberty boys take second, South Carroll girls fourth
ELDERSBURG — Zachary Fenton felt his spark kick in as he approached the third mile during the Class 2A West meet Thursday.
The Century senior trailed Oakdale’s Kyle Lund in second place as they sprinted toward the finish, and Fenton crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 14.9 seconds. Liberty senior Daniel Saxon came in fourth in 17:04.3.
Fenton had yet to beat Saxon in a race this season, and he said Saxon’s ability to pace himself so well during a race helps Fenton to do the same. Saxon won the Bull Run Invitational on Sept. 22, and Fenton came in second. On Oct. 23, Saxon took third at the Frank Keyser Invitational and Fenton finished right behind him.
Saxon won the county meet with a personal-record time of 16:36.4 and, again, Fenton came in second.
The runners feed off one another, and it showed at Liberty High School as they paced in first and second place with Lund and Oakdale’s Collin Dempsey.
“I think something just clicked in my head … I thought to myself, we have to get going and we have to put down this last mile because if not, someone is going to take it,” Fenton said. “I guess I kind of thought it was time to capitalize, so I’d say probably around the third mile. I think I saw Dan start to go as well and he really played a key role in this race as well, so I thought I needed to go.”
The top five runners for each team score and if there is a tie after those top five runners, a tiebreaker is determined using the sixth runner for those teams. If the sixth runner finishes ahead of the opposing team’s sixth athlete, that team breaks the tie.
Such was the case for Oakdale and Liberty’s boys teams — Spencer Buckwalter finished 24th for the Bears and Liberty’s Gavin Edson came in behind him. That gave Oakdale the first-place edge.
Four Carroll athletes finished in the top 10 with Fenton and Saxon — Winters Mill’s Jack Frantz finished fifth, South Carroll’s Jason Cave came in sixth, Liberty’s Connor Stewart raced seventh, and Jacob Havins from Century finished eighth.
South Carroll’s girls, this year’s county champions, placed fourth in the region with 115 points, good for best in Carroll. Cavaliers sophomore Danielle Firlie came in fourth behind Winters Mill sophomore Kathryn Hopkins, and the duo raced in the same position throughout.
Poolesville’s Nandini Satsangi won the race in 19:47.4.
Firlie, Hopkins, and Century sophomore Elise Greenwald were the lone Carroll athletes to finish in the top 10. Greenwald finished 10th in 21:56.1 and the Knights finished sixth as a team with 126 points.
Next weekend’s state championship meet at Hereford will be a good test for these athletes. Championship season concludes with states, and the region meet provides a good share of the competition each team will face in their respective classifications.
“I could not be more impressed with our guys,” Lions co-coach Dan Jones said. “They work so hard and they take everything to heart. There is not a wasted word and everything they do is with a goal in mind and that’s to bring home another championship. They’re an impressive group of guys and they will go home today and they will sit down and try to figure out what they need to do to get better and that’s what they do.”