In "The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy is told to click her ruby red slippers together and repeat "There's no place like home," and Glinda the Good Witch's magic took her there.
There was no magic or the clicking of heels at Saturday's Westminster Invitational cross country meet, but there was a white sign sticking out of the ground heading toward end of the course that read: "There's no place like the finish line."
Eight participating teams — four from Carroll — took to the grounds of where Wakefield Valley Golf Club once resided, a course that Westminster co-coach Jim Beacham designed over the last year.
Beacham's goal in putting on the race was to introduce the course to the running community and the county in general to shine a light on the course and the property surrounding Wakefield Valley.
"I've been running this course personally for many years now and thought it would be a great opportunity to get high schools out here to run a cross country race," Beacham said. "There's so much open land and the beauty about this course is there's no crossovers or switchbacks. It's all one continuous loop so it's a nice, fairly flat course."
South Carroll's Jamie Anderson was the first Carroll runner to find the finish line, and she did so in 21 minutes, 30 seconds — second behind Boonsboro's Camryn Harper (20:59). Jilly Wagner, Julia Wawrzynski, and Erin McGrath from Westminster finished within 19 seconds of one another and were the Owls' three top 10 finishers.
Races are a mental game to Wagner, especially on relatively flat courses such as this one. The Owls' senior sprained her ankle at the start of the season and spent two weeks off, making a comeback in Saturday's invitational.
"You turn a turn and you're like 'Well, what's in front of me this time?'" Wagner said. "You have to focus on the girl in front and how she's going to run that part. Should I try to catch up with her or who's behind me? It's honestly just about how you want to put yourself in the race and how you plan to kick or when to slow down a little."
Boonsboro took first place with 32 team points. South Carroll finished second with 49 and Westminster placed third, just three points shy of the Cavaliers. Manchester Valley was seventh.
Liberty senior Nick Tilson breezed through the boys pack and finished in first place, all alone, in 16:15. It was his first experience on this course and he said overall, he was pleased with it.
"My goal was first for this meet and I've been fourth in the past three meets we've had so I really wanted to get my confidence built back up and get a win under the belt," Tilson said. "Two guys from our team and another from Albert Einstein were really pushing me so I was happy to have them up there pushing me, it helped a lot."
Albert Einstein's Simeon Mussie finish second in 16:26 and Liberty's Daniel Saxon wasn't far behind in third, finishing in 16:32. John Lemaster was three seconds behind Saxon for fourth. Three more Owls rounded out the top 10 finishers, including Liberty's Andrew Miner, Albert Einstein's Tyler Wilson and South Carroll's Chris Scalzi.
The Lions took first place with 26 points. Westminster was second with 56 and Einstein rounded out the top three with 78. South Carroll was fourth and Man Valley came in sixth.
"I'm very, very excited for this year," Tilson said. "We have two freshmen in our top six that have been absolutely amazing so far. Our No. 3, he did so much over the summer and was No. 15 last year. He's worked so hard over the summer to get that third spot so I have to give those guys credit for the work they've been putting in."
Boys Team Scores
1. Liberty 26, 2. Westminster 56, 3. Albert Einstein 78, 4. South Carroll 97, 5. Boonsboro 113, 6. Manchester Valley 156, 7. Western Tech 225, 8. Clear Spring 231.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Nick Tilson (L) 16:15, 2. Simeon Mussie (AE) 16:26, 3. Daniel Saxon (L) 16:32, 4. John Lemaster (L) 16:35, 5. Brandon Arbaugh (W) 17:06, 6. Noah Griffin (W) 17:09, 7. Andrew Miner (L) 17:13, 8. Tyler Wilson (AE) 17:22, 9. Chris Scalzi (SC) 17:26. 10. Charlie Ferguson (W) 17:30.
Girls Team Scores
1. Boonsboro 32, 2. South Carroll 49, 3. Westminster 52, 4. Liberty 101, 5. Albert Einstein 127, 6. Clear Spring 175, 7. Manchester Valley 200, 8. Western Tech 218.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Camryn Harper (B) 20:59, 2. Jamie Anderson (SC) 21:30, 3. Jilly Wagner (W) 21:36, 4. Julia Wawrzynski (W) 21:53, 5. Erin McGrath (W) 21:55, 6. Molly Jones (B) 21:59, 7. Maggie Luzier (B) 22:02, 8. Kaitlyn Rogers (B) 22:14, 9. Sarah Trail (SC) 22:18, 10. Makenna Luzier (B) 22:21.
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