Howard County cross country programs turned in strong showings at their respective regional meets on either Thursday or Friday.
In the 2A South region, sophomore Faith Meininger and junior Anish Nanjappa of River Hill each won individual titles, helping the Hawks finish as the runner-up on both the boys’ and girls’ sides. In 3A East, the Centennial girls claimed their fourth straight regional title by edging out Atholton, while the Eagles’ boys squad also captured a regional crown. Reservoir sophomore Annabel Cortez and Atholton senior Javon Daniel won the 3A East individual titles.
And in 4A North, the Howard girls’ team backed up its county championship with its first region title in 11 years. On the boys’ side, the Lions took second.
Next up for the top county runners and teams is the state cross country championships on Saturday at Hereford. The event kicks off with the 3A girls’ race at 10 a.m. and concludes with the 2A boys’ race at 3 p.m.
Meininger, Nanjappa win region titles
River Hill sophomore Faith Meininger settled for third at the county championships on Oct. 24, but she would not be denied of an individual title at the 2A South region meet on Thursday at Oak Ridge Park in Hughesville.
Meininger crossed the finish line in 20 minutes, 12.51 seconds to beat out Calvert’s Sydney Friedel.
However, with four runners in the top five, Calvert (39 points) beat out River Hill (46 points) and Glenelg (55 points) for the team championship. Coming in behind River Hill was Glenelg (55 points), Marriotts Ridge (119), Hammond (142) and Oakland Mills (150).
The Hawks took second thanks to four runners finishing in the top-12. Following Meininger was junior Katherine Kitzinger, who placed seventh in 21:49.45, senior Raaya Khleif (eighth, 21:50.95) and senior Kennedy Clark (20th, 22:58.25).
Other top county performances included a sixth-place finish from sophomore April Smith (21:41.69) of Glenelg, which also received a 10th-place mark from junior Katie Melesko (21:53.62).
While slower than his previous two 5,000-meter finishes, Nanjappa’s time of 16 minutes, 45 seconds was good enough to beat out Calvert’s Justin Diehl and Isaiah Willett and Oakland Mills senior Frederick Eiland II, who all finished between 16:55.90 and 16:56.24.
Battling for the team title, meanwhile, was Calvert and River Hill. The Hawks could not beat out Calvert (40 points), but they did take second with 48 points. La Plata (135 points) finished in a distance third, followed by county teams such as Glenelg (fourth, 137 points), Marriotts Ridge (fifth, 138), Oakland Mills (sixth, 148), Wilde Lake (seventh, 170) and Hammond (ninth, 220).
The depth of River Hill allowed it to compete with Calvert, evident by seven Hawks’ runners placing in the top 20. Ryan Rose (ninth place) was the second-fastest Hawks’ runner, followed by Luke Meininger (11th), Chase McGeehan (13th), Eric Wetherell (14th), Sean Krein (16th) and Joshua Galindo (20th).
Eiland, who placed second behind Nanjappa at the county meet, posted a time of 16:56.24 to earn fourth, while Glenelg’s Graham Dilworth (fifth, 17:01.01) and Wilde Lake’s Andrew English (eighth, 17:15.88) and William Tripp (10th, 17:33.45) rounded out the top 10.
2. River Hill, 48 points; 4. Glenelg, 137; 5. Marriotts Ridge, 138; 6. Oakland Mills, 148; 7. Wilde Lake, 170; 9. Hammond, 220.
Top-20 county finishers (boys)
1. Anish Nanjappa, RH, 16:45.31; 2. Frederick Eiland II, OM, 16:56.24; 5. Graham Dilworth, G, 17:01.01; 8. Andrew English, WL; 9. Ryan Rose, RH, 17:25.44; 10. William Tripp, WL, 17:33.45.
11. Luke Meininger, RH, 17:35.38; 12. Grayson Max Crockett, MR, 17:38.52; 13. Chase McGeehan, RH, 17:39.54; 14. Eric Wetherell, RH, 17:40.61; 16. Sean Krein, RH, 17:45.10; 17. Baidy Ba, OM, 17:51.11; 19. David Salazar, OM, 18:07.27; 20. Joshua Galindo, RH, 18:07.74.
Centennial sweeps 3A East titles
The Centennial girls’ team put five runners in the top 12 en route to beating out Atholton for the program’s fourth-straight regional championship on their home course on Thursday. Following the Eagles, who scored 35 points, from around the league were Atholton (second, 46 points), Reservoir (third, 67), Mt. Hebron (fourth, 98) and Long Reach (seventh, 207).
Centennial did not have the fastest runner — that distinction went to Reservoir senior Annabel Cortez, who finished in 20 minutes, 9 seconds — but it boasted a second place (senior Cora Blount, 20:18) a fourth place (senior Alison Betler, 20:41), and a seventh place (sophomore Katerina Talanova, 20:59). Eagles junior Apoorva Ajith, meanwhile, finished 10th.
Third, sixth and ninth went to Atholton, which relied heavily on seniors Gabriella DeGrezia (20:29) and Celine Pisanic (20:53) and sophomore Aanchal Kasargod (21:23) to snag runner-up in the team portion of the event. Other top county finishers were Reservoir freshman Meah Konstanzer (fifth, 20:51) and Mt. Hebron sophomore Maria Grafov (eighth, 21:17).
1. Annabel Cortez, Re, 20:09; 2. Cora Blount, C, 20:18; 3. Gabriella DeGrezia, A, 20:29; 4. Alison Betler, C, 20:41; 5. Meah Konstanzer, Re, 20:51; 6. Celine Pisanic, A, 20:53; 7. Katerina Talanova, C, 20:59; 8. Maria Grafov, MH, 21:17; 9. Aanchal Kasargod, A, 21:23; 10. Apoorva Ajith, C, 21:29.
12. Michelle Weaver, C, 21:33; 13. Sara Carlisle, A, 21:39; 15. Caroline Rosenberry, Re, 21:49; 16. Emily Brefo, A, 21:51; 17. Jasmine Ives, MH, 22:00; 19. Christina Stavlas, C, 22:09.
In a race where county runners took the first 12 places, Centennial bested Atholton for the 3A East boys’ region title on Thursday at Centennial. With 34 points, the Eagles finished ahead of the Raiders (47 points) and other league programs Mt. Hebron (third, 82 points), Reservoir (fourth, 108) and Long Reach (sixth, 147).
After placing third at the county championships, Atholton senior Javon Daniel won the boys’ race in 16 minutes, 23 seconds. Senior teammate Jake Perret came in behind him in 16:39, while Centennial sophomore Jacob Cole (16:45) and senior Chris Bieberich (16:54) and Mt. Hebron sophomore William Jones (16:58) rounded out the top five.
Next to finish were Reservoir freshman Noah Kim, Centennial seniors David Riina and Justin Ziegler, Atholton senior Nicholas Weber and Mt. Hebron freshman Landon Yi.
1. Javon Daniel, A, 16:23; 2. Jake Perret, A, 16:39; 3. Jacob Cole, C, 16:45; 4. Chris Bieberich, C, 16:54; 5. William Jones, MH, 16:58; 6. Noah Kim, Re, 16:59; 7. David Riina, C, 17:04; 8. Justin Ziegler, C, 17:10; 9. Nicholas Weber, A, 17:19; 10. Landon Yi, MH, 17:20.
11. Cameron Hindle, LR, 17:22; 12. Jason Kraisser, C, 17:33; 15. Zachary Deming, 17:38; 16. Bryce Kampert, MH, 17:52; 17. Eric Becker, A, 17:59; 18. Ryder Neal, A, 18:04; 20. Logan Kim, Re, 18:06.
Howard girls win first-ever 4A region title
For the first time since 2007, the Howard girls are regional champions.
A little more than a week after winning their first county championship since 2007, the Lions (42 points) ran away from second-place Dulaney during the 4A North meet on Friday at the Maryland Agricultural Center in Cockeysville.
Reigning county champion Amanda Eliker placed second with a time of 19 minutes, 14.3 seconds, followed by sophomore Sara Kindbom (fifth) and junior Emily Gorny (sixth). Sherwood freshman Katie Kaneko won the race in 18:58.7.
The Howard boys’ team, meanwhile, took second in what coach Zachary Dickerson called the “toughest region in the state.”
The Lions could not catch regional champion Northwood (60 points), but their 82-point showing was good enough to finish ahead of Dulaney, Paint Branch and Sherwood. Senior Alex Strawley was the squad’s top finisher, placing fifth in 16 minutes, 23.7 seconds, while sophomore Kendall Phillips (seventh, 16:29.2) was also a significant part of the Lions’ success on Friday.