Arundel High School's Geoff Warren repeated as the boys champion in Anne Arundel County's cross country championships yesterday at Annapolis to lead the Wildcats to their first team title in 20 years.
Two other Wildcats finished in the top 10, giving the team 56 points.
On the girls side, there was no suspense as Annapolis' Kristen Nicolini coasted to first, outdistancing the field by 1 minute, 8 seconds. There was some suspense in the team title as Old Mill took first even though it tied with Severna Park with 42 points each. The Patriots took first because their sixth runner came in before the Falcons' sixth runner.
Warren did not have an easy time repeating. He had been fighting a virus last week and said he didn't come into the race as strong as he should have. Plus, Old Mill's Jason Reckert opened with a blistering pace.
With less than a quarter-mile to go, Warren made his move and out-kicked Reckert and South River's Jack Longley. Longley was second, edging Reckert.
Arundel's Blair Morse and Jason Birch finished ninth and 10th, respectively, to help the Wildcats take the team title.
Nicolini took an early lead in the girls race and never relinquished it. She had a 52-second lead with a mile to go and increased it to 1:08 at the finish. Glen Burnie's Becky McDivitt took second with Jessica Davis and Lanita Talley coming in third and fourth, respectively.
Running with a lead is nothing new to Nicolini, but she says that sometimes it hinders her effort.
"Sometimes it's good to run a race like you're the only one out there," she said. "But it helps to know someone's close so I just visualize someone's right behind me."