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Fransham, injury free and region champ, eyes state CC title

When 1,500 high school runners convene at Hereford High School Saturday to run the state cross-county meet, UCBAC champion Nick Fransham will arrive on healthy legs, for a change. UCBAC girls' champion Jessica Rogers will arrive on crutches.

Fransham, a North Harford senior, has twice gone to the state meet with injury, at the end of otherwise successful seasons in 2012 and 2013. This year, he may finally capture that elusive state title, having emerged from the regional meet injury-free.

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Rogers, a C. Milton Wright freshman, was not so fortunate in the regional meet. She suffered a stress fracture on the final, downhill straightaway of the 3A North Region meet at Tollgate Park Oct 30. Running just behind the leader, she was 200 meters from the finish when the growth-plate fracture occurred. She hobbled to the finish, dropping from second place to fourth.

Maryland preps run seven to 10 races in nine weeks during the cross-country season, frequently over hilly courses, a schedule that often leads to injury.

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Though the potential for a Harford team title at the state meet has diminished with Rogers' injury, other Harford teams retain hopes of high finishes in the Class 3A and 2A races Saturday.

Six boys teams and four girls teams from the county qualified in regional meets Oct. 30.

3A North boys race

Fransham won the 3A North meet, finishing 17 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger, Jordan Leon of Milford Mill.

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Langston Gash finished third over the 2.9-mile Tollgate Park course in 15:57 to lead Edgewood to second place, nine points behind Towson. In the Rams' top five were David Dzambasow, eighth, 16:26; Sam Verk, 11th, 16:33; Alex Mateo, 27th, 17:13; and Ben Gorski, 29th, 17:23.

Bel Air, led by Kieran McDermott at fourth in 16:00, finished third, 9 points behind Edgewood. Austin Weiss, 15th in 16:50; Casey Sims, 20th, 17:02; Ethan Brito, 22nd, 17:03; and Kenny Connelly, 25th, 17:12 completed the Bobcats' scoring.

With three in the top 20, CMW finished fifth. Eric Jagde was ninth in 16:32; Mike Foulks, 12th, 16:41; Brad Ensor, 17th, 16:54; James Natoli, 26th in 17:13; and Devin Defrieze, 31st in 17:33.

North Harford placed sixth to qualify for the state meet, with Matt Munson, 18th in 17:01; George Schiminger, 23rd, 17:06; George Morey, 43rd, 17:53; and Patrick O'Leary, 48th, 18:08.

Gavin Brennan was Aberdeen's lone qualifier. He placed 13th in the 3A race in 16:43.

3A North girls' race

Rogers finished in 19:06, 21 seconds behind Colleen Kernan of Westminster, to lead the CMW girls to a runner-up finish behind Towson. The Mustangs scored 58 points with Pam Koga sixth in 19:13; Courtney Koga 13th in 20:15; Cassi McPhail, 20th in 20:47; and Megan Cowie, 21st in 20:52.

Casey Welsh finished 11th to pace North Harford to a fourth-place finish. Morgan Digiorgio was 15th in 20:27; Valerie Taylor, 18th, 20:36; Courtney Klapka, 23rd, 20:59; and Regan Davis, 30th, 21:43, for 87 points.

Emily League placed 14th in 20:18 in leading Bel Air to fifth place with a top-five of Meghan Thompson, 24th, 21:01; Sophie Knott, 28th, 21:24; Caroline Fallace, 36th, 21:55; and Joy Hayward, 38th, 22:16.

Kellsey Dunn finished 17th in 20:34 to qualify for the state meet. Her Aberdeen team placed sixth but did not qualify. A top-10 finish went to Edgewood's Rachel Goldsborough, who ran 19:47 and qualified for the state meet individually.

2A East Region

The Fallston boys finished second, five points behind Kent Island, in the 2A East meet at Fair Hill in Cecil County Oct. 30.

The Cougars placed all five scorers in the top 15, with Eric Baranoski third in 16:54 (5K); Andrew Parks, sixth, 17:17; Firuz Etemad-Moghadam, seventh, 17:21; Dan Lekites, 13th, 17:38; and Nikos Katsaros, 14th, 17:39.

Aaron Smith finished second in the 82-runner field to lead Patterson Mill to a state-qualifying third-place finish. The other four scorers for the Huskies were Logan Hardy, 12th, 17:35; Colin McDonald, 20th 18:00; Ken Ikemoto, 29th, 18:44; and Colin Kelly, 33rd, 18:49.

Fallston finished third among 10 teams in the girls' race. Nicole Wohlfort was eighth in 21:48 for the Cougars. Alex Eiler placed 15th in 22:22; Julianna Stevens, 16th, 22:22; Molly Robinson, 30th, 23:11; and Caroline Scranton, 35th, 23:30.

Patterson Mill finished seventh in the girls' race, with Samantha Herman leading the Huskies in 26th in 22:51. Nicole Iacaruso placed 32nd in 23:22; Katlyn Dieter, 33rd, 23:22; Jordan Dawson, 37th, 23:59; and Bailey Chapman, 41st, 24:22.

Hannah Fitzpatrick was the top finisher for Harford Tech at 19th place in 22:26. Jacob Garnett led the Tech boys at 40th in 19:39.

MIAA and IAAM

Evan Moore raced to an eighth-place finish in the MIAA Championships Wednesday. The John Carroll junior was timed in 16:16 over the 5K Oregon Ridge Park course. The Patriots finished eighth as a team with Ben Sullivan 42nd in 18:04; Adam Bognanni, 49th in 18:22; Robert Flynn, 50th in 18:23; and Mark Pickett, 54th in 18:52.

In the IAAM meet a week earlier, Adria Pirozzi led the John Carroll girls to sixth place among 24 teams at Oregon Ridge.

Pirozzi, a sophomore, finished 10th in 20:08. Rosemary Gillam was 29th in 21:07; Ellie Marindin, 30th, 21:09; Faith Ensor, 40th, 21:41; and Beth Sapitowicz, 47th, 22:05, to complete the scoring for the Patriots.

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