Cross Country: Man Valley's Goffena, Liberty's Saxon golden at county meet

Manchester Valley's Rubie Goffena talks about Wednesday's cross country county meet at McDaniel College

Rubie Goffena wasted no time merging into the front of the pack at the cross country county meet Wednesday at McDaniel College.

The Manchester Valley freshman controlled the meet at her own pace and kept her head forward as she cruised to victory in her county meet debut in 19 minutes, 24.37 seconds.


Goffena said her adrenaline hit at the start, and she never looked back.

“I was expecting some hills and there were definitely some challenging hills throughout the course,” she said. “It was kind of chilly today, so at the start it was kind of cold and everyone was jumping up and down. I’m very proud of my time and how I placed.”


Winters Mill’s Kathryn Hopkins finished second in 20:09.36, followed by South Carroll’s Danielle Firlie in 20:11.81. The Cavaliers edged Westminster by two points (61-63) to capture their first county title since 2015.

Kelsey Shekore finished ninth while Kate Yokay and Madeline Rathmann came in 12th and 13th for the Cavs.

SC coach Jeff McConville said each of the girls has been progressively working on her nutrition and race strategy to remain healthy and competitive. Their camaraderie has been an added bonus, he said.

“I am stoked,” McConville said. “The girls have been training really hard and they pulled it out today. They’ve been easing back into this end of the season and timed that execution perfectly to finish the year out, so we’re excited to go into regionals with them.”


Century’s Elise Greenwald finished fourth and teammate Chloe Sobchak rounded out the top 10 — the Knights took third as a team with 70 points.

Liberty, last year’s county champs, came in fifth with 106 points. Sammie Spargo and Jenna Zietowski came in sixth and eighth for the Lions.

Francis Scott Key sophomore Maria Leppo finished 15th, but the Eagles did not field enough runners to officially qualify for a team score.

Liberty boys three-peat, Saxon defends

Recent history has shown the Lions don’t have too many bad days on the course. In the event there is one, the team tends to rely on its depth for success.

Led by Daniel Saxon, Woodrow Kashima, and Connor Stewart, the Lions captured their third straight county title with 39 points. Saxon, the reigning Times Boys Runner of the Year, defended his individual county title with another first-place finish in 16:30.92.

Century senior Zachary Fenton took second in 16:36.38.

Liberty senior Daniel Saxon approaches the finish line in the county cross country championships at McDaniel College in Westminster Oct. 24, 2018.
Liberty senior Daniel Saxon approaches the finish line in the county cross country championships at McDaniel College in Westminster Oct. 24, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

“It’s nice knowing Dan can come out here and win these races for us,” Kashima said. “Me and Connor are right there and right behind us we have two more, and two more after that.”

The Lions have crowned four individual champions in the last six seasons — Chad Sussman won in 2014, Nick Tilson took the 2016 individual title, and Saxon raced to victory in the most recent two meets.

South Carroll edged Century by one point for second, 60-61, thanks in part to Patrick Tunkel clipping Ryan Lustig by two seconds for 21st place. Jason Cave placed fifth as the Cavs’ top finisher, and teammate John Kettula came in sixth.

“The boys have been trying to get second in the state position and we’ve got it, I think,” McConville said. “ It’s been a big year for us and we’ve had some changes culturally on the team and it’s definitely paying off. We’ve got the most solid team we’ve had ever since I’ve coached, on both sides, so I’m very excited.”

Century had Hayden Hebert and Jacob Havins place ninth and 10th. Winters Mill’s Jack Frantz beat out Westminster’s Charlie Ferguson for third place — the Falcons finished fourth as a team, and the Owls came in fifth.

Saxon, a senior, said he tried to kick things into gear as he approached the three-and-a-half mile marker en route to winning his second straight county meet.

“I started to push all the downhills and pushed up the one hill right before the 4K mark,” Saxon said. “I tried to have a good extension and just keep it going, keep the stride open to really make a bigger gap.”


1. Liberty 39, 2. South Carroll 60, 3. Century 61, 4. Winters Mill 94, 5. Westminster 121, 6. Manchester Valley 174, 7. Francis Scott Key 207.


1. Daniel Saxon (Liberty) 16:30.92, 2. Zachary Fenton (Century) 16:36.38, 3. Jack Frantz (Winters Mill) 16:43.76, 4. Charlie Ferguson (Westminster) 16:44.01, 5. Jason Cave (South Carroll) 16:56.29, 6. John Kettula (South Carroll) 17:15.72, 7. Woodrow Kashima (Liberty) 17:15.94, 8. Connor Stewart (Liberty) 17:20.09, 9. Hayden Hebert (Century) 17:21.43, 10. Jacob Havins (Century) 17:28.56.


1. South Carroll 61, 2. Westminster 63, 3. Century 70, 4. Winters Mill 75, 5. Liberty 106, 6. Manchester Valley 133.


1. Rubie Goffena (Manchester Valley) 19:24.37, 2. Kathryn Hopkins (Winters Mill) 20:09.36, 3. Danielle Firlie (South Carroll) 20:11.81, 4. Elise Greenwald (Century) 20:55.58, 5. Erin McGrath (Westminster) 21:15.21, 6. Sammie Spargo (Liberty) 21:33.04, 7. Dellaney Georgiana (Winters Mill) 21:35.02, 8 Jenna Zietowski (Liberty) 21:35.24, 9. Kelsey Shekore (South Carroll), 10. Chloe Sobchak (Century) 21:59.97.

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