Mervo's boys cross country team lived up to its reputation yesterday as it coasted to an easy victory in the Baltimore City Championships at Herring Run.
Mike Curtis, Antoine Collins and Garfield Thompson finished 1-2-3 to lead Mervo to its third consecutive city title.
Curtis, who finished second at last year's city meet behind Thompson, won his final race at Herring Run in 16 minutes, 45 seconds. Fifty-one seconds later, runner-up Collins crossed the line for a Mervo team that breezed past second-place Poly, 17-61.
"We're looking toward bigger things. Not to down this race, but we're more worried about next week," said Mervo coach Ronald Neal, referring to next Thursday's Class 4A regional meet at Oregon Ridge. "We haven't really backed off our training. We ran hard yesterday because we're trying to get ready for next week. Perry Hall is the team to beat, but we're hoping to surprise them."
Yesterday's big surprise came in the girls team competition, where upstart Southwestern ended Western's reign by edging the defending District 9 champs, 45-53, for their first Citywide title.
Southwestern prevailed despite a 1-2 finish by Western's Kimya McCoy and Elizabeth Johnson. McCoy won the title in 20:33, one second ahead of Johnson and five seconds before Northern's Senaya Gebreyesus.
Gebreyesus' sister, Fereweyen, finished sixth, behind Tiffany Bell of Southwestern.
"I didn't have a great race but we had a good enough race to beat them," said Brown, a first-year runner who went undefeated in dual-meet competition. "[Western] only beat us by a point during the regular season so we knew we were close to them."
And Southwestern second-year coach Sarah Heilbron couldn't believe it.
"We've come a long way since last year," said Heilbron. "Last year, we were a completely new team and this year we've had a lot of commitment and the kids have shown a lot of heart.
"Western has always won and I thought there was no way we would ever take first, but . . ."