HOWARD COUNTY, MD — When Howard senior Nick Deamer crossed the finish line nearly 15 seconds ahead of Bel Air's Kieran McDermott at the Howard County Invitational at Centennial on Saturday, more than one person let him know his unofficial time of 15 minutes, 56 seconds tied a course record.
He was happy, of course, as he set his personal goal of breaking the 16-minute mark under perfect conditions. But little did he know that when the official times came out, he actually finished in 15:50.58 and broke the course record by nearly six seconds.
"I was trying to break 16 [minutes], so 15:59 would've been fine, but coming through with that time, I was really proud of myself," Deamer said.
"It's pretty good having this fast of a time the second race of the season. It's giving me a lot of confidence to go faster for counties here and at states and regionals."
Deamer wasn't the only county's standout performer on the day. Mt. Hebron senior Emily Beyer won the girls race in 19:06.00, more than 26 seconds ahead of River Hill freshman Faith Meininger (19:32.86), although the Hawks got the last laugh by capturing the girls team title with 73 points. Atholton had five runners in the top 21 and came in second with 78 points, while Centennial finished third with 110.
The River Hill boys placed four runners in the top 25 and were the county's top team with 93 points, though it finished runner-up to Severna Park (89 points). Howard came in third with 114 points and Centennial finished fourth with 127.
But the day was about Deamer and his record-breaking performance. He was in the lead pack but sitting in third during the first part of the 5K race before he made his way to the front at the 1.5 mile mark.
"I made my move into first and I just kept on pushing to the end," Deamer said. "Kieran McDermott was in front of me and I have a lot of experience with him because he was in our region last year, and Anish [Nanjappa] from River Hill. I know those two runners well and I knew I could hang with them and maybe beat them."
Meanwhile, Beyer, who finished runner-up to River Hill's Jasmine Tiamfook at last year's county and regional meets to before finishing sixth at the 3A state meet, was ecstatic to win her first-ever major varsity race. She said after last week's "discombobulated" Seahawk Invitational, in which she finished fourth in 19:27.00, she was simply focused on getting her season off to a good start.
"We just wanted to go out there as a team and show what we've got. Getting the season off to a good start gives you the mentality of, let's just keep going," Beyer said.
"It feels really good to win. I'm just so happy."
Beyer said her experience with the course played a factor. She said she knew she could push herself during certain parts of the race, especially on the hills.
"Once we got to the second mile I definitely wanted to start building a gap and it kind of went back to counties last year, going back and forth and back and forth, but I used all I could just to get that lead and I didn't care even if it was 10 meters," Beyer said. "I just wanted to get a lead."
Beyer won the race, but River Hill as the most cohesive group. In addition to Meininger's runner-up finish, Tiamfook finished fourth in 19:57.42, junior Raaya Khleif finished 14th in 20:48.34, senior Alexa Matthews finished 22nd in 21:17.75 and sophomore Kennedy Clark finished 35th in 21:58.66.
The Hawks' boys' top finisher was Nanjappa, who came in third in 16:11.44, though senior Jake Downing finished 13th in 16:47.29, senior Brendan Fitzgerald finished 18th in 16:56.44, sophomore Ryan Rose finished 25th in 17:10.76, and junior Chase McGeehan finished 34th in 17:22.07.
Hawks coach John DiFato said the goal for both the girls and the boys was to run as a team and both teams were able to do that.
"Jasmine and Faith kind of went there and worked well together and on the boys side they wanted to start fast because it was going to be crowded and they kept up," he said. "We've got to get a better start for some of our guys but they looked good. It's still early in the season but they're running well together."
It's the second straight week Meininger and Tiamfook have been the top runners for the Hawks and finished in the top 10, as they placed eighth and 10th at the Seahawk Invitational. DiFato said the duo gives the girls' team a chance in every meet.
"We knew [Meininger] was coming in and she's been a great addition to the program," he said. "Her and Jasmine run really well together. It's friendly competition on the course but at practice they're really pushing each other. It's a great one-two punch."
Individually, 12 county girls finished among the top 20 runners.
Centennial's senior Kirsten Wikner came in sixth in 20:16.08 and junior Alison Betler finished eighth in 20:18.45. Reservoir's junior Annabel Cortez finished 10th in 20:26.69 and junior Meah Konstanzer finished 15th in 20:50.91. Atholton's junior Camryn Streib finished 11th in 20:29.13, junior Gabriella DeGrezia finished 12th in 20:39.15, junior Celine Pisanic finished 18th in 21:10.42, and senior Emma O'Brien finished 19th in 21:10.42.
On the boys' side, nine county competitors placed in the top 20.
Reservoir senior Kai Muniz finished fifth overall in 16:28.99, while Howard senior Ian Hinson finished seventh in 16:40.37. Centennial senior Greg Costello finished ninth in 16:42.36; Atholton junior Jake Perret finished 11th in 16:44.72; and Oakland Mills junior Frederick Eiland finished 12th in 16:45.92.
Howard County Invitational at Centennial High School on Saturday, Sept. 9:
Top girls finishers:
1. Emily Beyer, MH, 19:06.00; 2. Faith Meininger, RH, 19:32.86; 3. Erin Brown, Bel Air, 19:36.86; 4. Jasmine Tiamfook, RH, 19:57.42; 5. Faith Loftus, Bel Air, 20:15.35; 6. Kirsten Wikner, C, 20:16.08; 7. Javon Watts, C.H. Flowers, 20:18.34; 8. Alison Betler, C, 20:18.45; 9. Logan Rohde, Poolsville, 20:21.57; 10. Annabel Cortez, Re, 20:26.69.
11. Camryn Streib, A, 20:29.13; 12. Gabriella DeGrezia, A, 20:39.15; 13. Anna Cestari, St. John's, 20:40.83; 14. Raaya Khleif, RH, 20:48.34; 15. Meah Konstanzer, Re, 20:50.91; 16. Jordan Nastos, Liberty, 20:55.40; 17. Grace Siehler, South Carroll, 21:04.27; 18. Celine Pisanic, A, 21:09.97; 19. Emma O'Brien, A, 21:10.42; 20. Shelby Hay, Bel Air, 21:11.18.
Top boys finishers:
1. Nick Deamer, Ho, 15:50.58; 2. Kieran McDermott, Bel Air, 16:05.09; 3. Anish Nanjappa, RH, 16:11.44; 4. Camden Gilmore, Loyola, 16:21.01; 5. Kai Muniz, Re, 16:28.99; 6. Collin Dempsey, Oakdale, 16:36.62; 7. Ian Hinson, Ho, 16:40.37; 8. Daniel Saxon, Liberty, 16:41.75; 9. Greg Costello, C, 16:42.36; 10. Nathan Vandemeulebrocke, Severna Park, 16:42.46.
11. Jake Perret, A, 16:44.72; 12. Frederick Eiland, OM, 16:45.92; 13. Jake Downing, RH, 16:47.29; 14. Nick Engelman, Severna Park, 16:47.65; 15. Kyle Clarke, Loyola, 16:49.70; 16. John Lemaster, Liberty, 16:50.02; 17. Sean Engelfried, Severna Park, 16:52.25; 18. Brendan Fitzgerald, River Hill, 16:56.44; 19. Matthew Bateman, Severna Park, 17:00.18; 20. Johnathan Johnson, Parkdale, 17:03.85.
Girls team scores:
1. River Hill, 73; 2. Atholton, 78; 3. Centennial, 110; 4. Bel Air, 123; 5. South Carroll, 183; 6. Liberty, 185; 7. Severna Park, 191; 8. Mt. Hebron, 241; 9. Marriotts Ridge, 247; 10. Howard, 251.
11. Reservoir, 273; 12. C.H. Flowers, 281; 13. Elizabeth Seton, 295; 14. John Carroll, 360; 15. Poolsville, 365; 16. Long Reach, 423; 17. St. Vincent Pallotti, 430; 18. John F. Kennedy, 455.
Boys team scores:
1. Severna Park, 89 points; 2. River Hill, 93; 3. Howard, 114; 4. Centennial, 127; 5. Liberty, 140; 6. Loyola Blakefield, 168; 7. Oakdale, 178; 8. Oakland Mills, 242; 9. Atholton, 249; 10. Reservoir, 254.
11. South Carroll, 273; 12. Gilman, 279; 13. Bel Air, 327; 14. John Carroll, 356; 15. Parkdale, 414; 16. St. John's College, 429; 17. Archbishop Spalding, 486; 18. C.H. Flowers, 497; 19. Mt. Hebron, 537; 20. Poolsville, 585.
21. Long Reach, 586; 22. Hammond, 683.