For a program improving year-after-year, Howard reached new heights Thursday afternoon. The Lions placed second as a team in both girls and boys 4A North regional meets, trailing only host Dulaney in each race.
“It means a lot, and you look ar where we’ve come the last few years – two years ago we were 5th, last year we were 3rd, and this year we were 2nd – and we’ve had similar progression during the county meet, and the state meet. So where the program is headed is in the right direction, and next year we’re going to win the thing,” said Lions coach Zack Dickerson. “We did well, really good competition with Dulaney here on both the boys and the girls side. We knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but we raced well, and our goal was to have a strong race leading up to states for next year, so we did what we were able to do. We qualified for states, we had a bunch of PR’s today, and we have one more race until state championships.”
Nick Deamer showed well for Howard, crossing at the 16:21.98 mark. The sophomore even led the pack for a stretch during the boys race, but eventually ended up 5th, behind Eric Walz, Andrew King, Sean Smyth, and Elijah Hawkins, respectively – all of Dulaney.
“I think about the second mile they started coming. I tried to stay with them, but my legs were kind of dead,” Deamer said shortly after the race. “I think I did good. I think I was going to go around my PR in the beginning, which is 16:18. But I think I got around 16:20, so I am pretty happy about that.”
Gavin Reynolds (8th overall), Brian Goulet (11th), Ryan Gunderson (12th) and Dennis Danieli (14th) all finished in the top-15 for the Lions' boys, with times of 16:40.47, 16:54.04, 16:57.57 and 17:11.15, respectively. Joseph Lapointe finished 16th overall, rounding out Howard’s top-six, as he crossed with a time of 17:15.59.
“(Deamer) raced well, and even as that group came up to him he ran with them, and mixed it up pretty well. They’re a nationally-ranked team so to be able to run with their guys is impressive for a sophomore,” Dickerson added. “Brian Goulet broke 17 minutes for the first time today, which is a big PR number. He is the number three guy on our team. Gavin Reynolds ran well, and Nick as well.”
On the girls side, Courtney Mann led the Lions to a second consecutive second-place finish, as they had also finished second overall a week ago at counties.
Mann crossed 8th, with a time of 19 minutes and 57.8 seconds.
“I think I did alright. I didn’t exactly get the time I wanted, but I pushed hard and that’s all that matters, and I gave it my all, so I’m pretty happy with it,” Mann said. “As a team I think we did really well. We pushed so well and worked so hard all season, and we did exactly that today, so I couldn’t be any happier with my teammates. There were a lot of PR’s and it was really good. I enjoyed it.”
All of the Lions' girls ran well together, as their top eight runners finished one after another. Taylor Jaranyi followed Mann for a 9th place finish, then Emily Hawkins and Emily Magoon came in side by side, finishing 11th and 12th respectively, while Nhu Chau and Maura Mead also finished not too far off from each other, crossing 16th and 18th overall respectively.
“I’m ecstatic, they ran really well,” said Howard coach Mathew Stump. “They stayed together as a pack. They kept their heads in the game, and they ran a good race. When you get to this level of racing, the times don’t matter as much as the places do. So you want to make sure to keep your team close together and I think we accomplished that.”
Dulaney finished first in both boys and girls, with 16 and 35 overall points respectively. Howard boys finished with a team score of 50, and was followed by Sherwood (117), Bel Air (130) and Catonsville (147), while the Lions girls, recorded 56 points, with Paint Branch (70), Sherwood (83) and Catonsville (145) trailing to round out the top-five.
“Dulaney is an incredibly strong team, so we kind of knew they were going to run away with it,” Stump added. “Throughout the whole season we’ve had stepping stones in place that we’ve been working toward, so each race is something that we look upon to build on for the next week’s race.”
Centennial girls, River Hill boys top 3A East regional races
The Centennial girls cross country team has quietly become the team to beat, as it again topped the team results for the second consecutive week at the 3A East regional meet Thursday on its own course.
“It was another great day,” said Eagles coach Kevin McCoy. “Going into it, River Hill is a very good team, and we knew this. So we stuck to our plan, ran our race and stayed together as much as we could, and we know that’s been our success all year long – sticking together, sticking together.
“It does help a lot, having a 30-second spread, if we go up to the state meet and keep that, I mean it puts it in the realm of possibility, which is nice for us. But we get River Hill again, then there’s Northern Calvert and Towson who are both really good. So I think the four of us are toward the top, and it’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be a dog fight between the four of us, it is going to be intense. It’ll be really fun to watch. I just want to go up there and run well, and just have fun, be happy. It’s the state championship, just live in the moment and just have a good time. It’s a great atmosphere to go up there and run.”
Similar to their winning performance at counties on Oct. 29 – where they placed 7-through-10, Centennial crossed their top-four runners in the top-10 Thursday afternoon. Kara Taylor (3rd overall) and Jessica Jiang (4th) crossed one after another, followed by Devin McIntrye (6th), and Alison Betler (9th) – not to mention Ashley Mazer who placed 14th overall.
“So five in the top-15 again, I mean that is the name of the game,” said McCoy. “You do that, you’re going to give yourself a chance every day.”
The biggest surprise for Centennial is the emergence of freshman Betler, who clocked in at 20 minutes and 35.46 seconds, good for a 9th place finish. With her performance improving with each race, it makes the Eagles even harder to beat.
“Allison Betler, our number five, she is running out of her mind,” McCoy said. “This is the second week in a row, she’s 15th in the county, she was 9th today, I mean, she’s just closed the gap so much for us, that our spread one through five right now is 30 seconds. That’s pretty nice.”
River Hill came in second place for the girls, followed by Mt. Hebron, Reservoir, Wilde Lake, Atholton, Glenelg, Chesapeake and Long Reach, respectively.
“Howard County is stacked,” McCoy added. “We’ve always been stacked. The past three girls 3A state champs have come out of HoCo. There was a three-year hiatus and then the three years before that was HoCo. If you’re good in Howard County, you are going to be able to compete at the state level every single year, and we all know that.”
The Vikings’ Alexandra Banham finished first overall with a time of 19 minutes and 37.27 seconds, followed by Hawks’ Jasmine Tiamfook (19:47.40), Taylor (20:01.20) and Jiang (20:12.24), and Chesapeake’s Charlotte Bader (20:12.83) to round out the top-5.
“The pace went out really, really fast,” McCoy said. “It kind of surprised me without Britt (Lang) here. I didn’t think it would play out that way, but it did. So we just got to the mile mark and we had to reassess, shake it out real quick, and hang onto it, and just keep pushing.”
On the boys side, River Hill’s Trent Rose finished at the top of the pack for the second consecutive week, with a time of 16 minutes and 27.66 seconds. Teammate Rahul Reddy followed, clocking in at 16 minutes and 42.47 seconds. The two, along with Jacob Parker (7th overall), Andrew Meininger (9th), and Ben Oldhouser (13th), helped earn the Hawks a 32 overall score with their top-15 finishes.
“We did pretty well,” said Hawks coach Paul Hugus. “We made some adjustments in the race. The challenge is getting our three, four and five (runners) up a little bit.”
As far as individual results go, William Christian ran well for Reservoir, coming in 3 rd overall and crossing in 16 minutes and 44.57 seconds. Atholton’s Daniel Smolyak came in 4th, with a time of 16:45.78, followed by Mt. Hebron’s Greg Bisant, who clocked in at 16:46.80.
For the overall team scores on the boys side, Atholton, Mt. Hebron, Centennial, Reservoir, Chesapeake, Glenelg, Wile Lake, Hammond, Stephen Decatur, Northeast, James M. Bennett and Long Reach, followed River Hill respectively.
“I think both (the boys and girls), are still really hungry,” Hugus said of his group. “I don’t think anybody ran up to their ability. Not saying anyone had a bad race, but there is still room to grow…Adding a couple more kids in there will help. It’s not just Centennial, but other teams too. Able to spread attention to not just the team in red, but other teams as well.”
Lang leads girls 2A West region for Oakland Mills
Britt Lang again led the pack at Liberty High School Thursday, finishing 30 seconds faster than the second place finisher.
The senior crossed with a time of 19 minutes and 34.3 seconds, good for a first place finish. Teammate Grace Chaverini also raced well, coming in 7th overall, with a time of 20 minutes and 45.7 seconds.
The Scorpions finished 8th overall as a team however, while Marriotts Ridge posted a third-place team score. Abigail Starks (6th) and Hannah Fredrick (19th) led the way for the Mustangs with times of 20:35.20 and 22:19.10, respectively.
Ibrahim Jirdeh of Marriotts Ridge was the only top-five Howard County finisher at the 2A regional race on the boys side, clocking in at 17 minutes and 23.6 seconds. However Oakland Mills’ Joey Navarro did achieve a top-10 finish, coming in 7th overall with a time of 17 minutes and 39.7 seconds.
The Scorpions’ Jared Nguyen (12th), Fredrick Eiland Li (21st) and the Mustangs’ Jacob Hejeebu (22nd) and James Malloy (25th) all had top-25 times, coming in at 18:16.50, 18:40.30, 18.40.50, and 18:49.60 respectively.
Overall as a team, Oakland Mills boys finished third, with 106 points, trailing Liberty (59) and Winters Mill (74). Marriotts Ridge placed fifth (122) , just behind Century (107).