Nature’s thermostat got stuck on a “high” setting Saturday, the next-to-last day of summer, making the tough, 3-mile Hereford cross-country course even tougher for its annual ravine-running festival, the Bull Run Invitational.
The temperature approached 90 degrees under a bright sun in the meet’s afternoon session, in which seven Harford high school teams competed.
The oppressive conditions put a brake on afternoon performances and kept Gator drivers busy ferrying dropouts across the deep ravine known as The Dip.
There were two Harford winners despite the conditions. In the Medium Schools Division, C. Milton Wright’s Haley Cummins won the girls’ race, and Harford Tech’s Kevin Baranoski, the boys’.
Cummins, who has run 18:41 on this course in cool weather, finished in 20:01, collapsing as she crossed the finish line. Teammate Lindsay Perry finished second, dropping to the ground as she finished in 20:05. With only five runners finishing, and a first-to-fifth-runner spread of 5 1/2 minutes, the CMW girls still placed fifth among the 16 teams.
Nine of the 10 fastest girls’ performances in the meet came in the cooler morning session.
Bel Air’s Mackenzie Morrison ran 19:32 in finishing fourth in the Elite Division race held just before noon. The top five Bel Air runners averaged 21:05 and had a spread of 2:19 in securing a fifth-place finish. Elizabeth Pickett was 22nd in 20:56; Rebekah Cross, 30th in 21:26; Shelby Hay, 40th in 21:40; and Maya Feick, 49th in 21:51.
The Edgewood girls, with three runners in the top 25, placed third in the Medium Schools race at 3 p.m. Madison Buddenbohn was seventh in 21:40; Michaela Crue, 10th in 22:22; Anna Decker, 25th in 23:20; Mary Crue, 36th in 23:50; and Delaney Saulsbury, 58th in 25:46.
Laurel Brown led the North Harford girls in the same race, placing 11th among 137 in 22:33. The Hawks placed 12th with only five finishers and a spread of 8 minutes from first to fifth.
The heat took a heavy toll on Harford Tech, Aberdeen and Patterson Mill teams. Tech had only four finishers, led by Catalina Herrera, who was 42nd in 24:26. Patterson Mill’s top five averaged 29:34, with Valerie Kruger leading at 44th place in 26:46. Aberdeen averaged 31:14 for its top five. Baranoski leads Tech to fourth place Harford Tech had one of the best three-runner finishes of the meet. Competing in the Small Schools Division, Kevin Baranoski finished first in 16:54. Daron Taylor placed sixth in 17:15, and Zachary Taylor, seventh in 17:32. The team placed fourth in the division.
In the Medium School’s race, C. Milton Wright also put three runners in the top 10. Ben Sprague was sixth in 17:37; Bryan Key, eighth in 17:47; and Ashton Tolson, ninth in 17:50. With Trevor Jagde in 31st and Gray Hansel, 40th, the Mustangs placed second, 14 points behind Atholton among 23 teams.
Bel Air’s Caleb Zylka was the fastest among Harford boys in the meet. The senior clocked 16:42 in placing 13th in the Elite Division race. Freshman Bryce Knoll, 52nd in 17:50, was no. 2 for the Bobcats who placed 10th as a team.
Will Tikiob finished fourth in 17:04 to lead North Harford to fifth place in the Medium Schools race. Also placing in the top 50 were Jason Ramsland, 12th in 18:00; Ethan Sweaney, 46th in 19:34; and Garrett Ulmer, 50th in 19:38.
Led by Giles Daly, Fallston placed seventh among 21 teams in the Small Schools race with three runners in the top 30. Daly was 11th in 17:41; Tyler Flatau, 21st in 18:06; and Alex Xavier, 27th in 18:31.
Sophomore Donovan Peyton finished 29th in the Medium Schools race in 18:57, leading Aberdeen to an 11th place finish. Aman Tripathi finished 24th in 18:44 to lead Edgewood to 15th place. Cameron Dunne, 60th in 19:47, was the top finisher for Patterson Mill.