C. Milton Wright's Pat Bailey got a little bit of redemption. Lauren Centrowitz of Broadneck got a little bit of a surprise. Top-ranked Bryn Mawr, however, got exactly what it wanted.
The Mawrtians placed four runners in the top 11 and scored an impressive victory in the elite division of yesterday's Bull Run Invitational at Hereford. Centrowitz only wanted to improve on her fourth-place finish from last year in that division and jumped all the way to first this year. Bailey rebounded from a painful finish-line loss last year to win in style in the boys elite division race.
Bryn Mawr made coach Jason George happy with five runners in the top 44. Nyam Kagwima (second), Laura Drossner (sixth), Ashley Campbell (eighth), Ellett George (11th) and Sinead Nyhan (44th) combined to give the Mawrtians 69 points. That translated into an easy 30-point victory over Morgantown (W.Va.). This was Bryn Mawr's first win at the Bull Run.
"We knew it was going to be a tough field here," Jason George said. "We figured if we could get four in the top 15 and our fifth before number 50, we'd [win] it."
The Bryn Mawr coach said the strong field would serve as a perfect early-season barometer for the Mawrtians. "This is how you test yourself," he said. "You get better if you run against the best competition."
Bailey rebounded from last year's heartbreaking finish-line loss to Ryan Blood of East Pennsboro to easily beat the Pennsylvania runner. His first-place run helped the No. 2 Mustangs to a second-place team finish with 93 points, just behind Northwest (89). As a junior last year, Bailey didn't really know much about Blood and admitted to using up most of his energy chasing him before losing in a thrilling sprint to the finish line.
Blood won last year in 16 minutes, 14 seconds, but a one-second improvement was more than enough for Bailey this year. He took the lead midway through the race and slowly pulled away to win with little trouble in 16:14 on the tough course. Matt Sanders of No. 5 Mount Hebron took second (16:33), with Blood in third (16:43).
Bailey said he made sure to be constantly aware of where Blood was during the race. Bailey didn't turn around during the race but quickly spun to look for Blood moments after crossing the finish line.
"It feels good," Bailey said. "I changed my strategy this year. Last year, I had to drain myself to catch him. This year, I watched for him."
Everybody was watching Centrowitz when her race ended. Fourth last year in 20:06, she said she just wanted to improve on her time and finish. She did both -- shaving 33 seconds off her time and passing Kagwima on the field just before the finish line to win in 19:33. That helped propel Broadneck to third with 104 points.
"She got away from me a little [in the woods]," Centrowitz said. "We came onto the field, and I started gaining on her."
Kagwima tried to rally at the end but couldn't, finishing 11 seconds behind Centrowitz. The Bryn Mawr senior was spent and nearly passed out at the finish line, needing help before recovering a few minutes later.
"I didn't come in expecting to win," Centrowitz said. "But I'm constantly surprising myself with my results lately."
Archbishop Curley liked its results in the boys small division.
Even though Curley placed just one runner in the top 15 and despite J.J. Wetzel of Archbishop Spalding winning the race in 16:47, the Friars won the team title. They edged Spalding by nine points (147-156).
Wetzel turned in an impressive performance.
"Since we're a private school, this is the only time we get to race on this course," he said. "The quality at this meet is just unbelievable, and I can use it to judge myself against everyone else."
Some other local racers fared well. William Eden of Annapolis finished second behind Gaithersburg's Eric Pauley (16:35) in the large division with a time of 17:13. This was a big improvement from last year, when Eden finished 60th.
The third-ranked Severna Park boys took second in the large division race with 136 points, 30 behind winner James Madison (Va.). Urbana of Frederick County won the girls large school title with 101 points.
No. 10 Bel Air (110) edged Loyola by one point for second place in the boys medium race. Austin Steg and Brett Kelly finished ninth and 10th, respectively, to pace the Bobcats. Chris Chaulk led Loyola with a fifth-place finish. Colonial Forge (Va.) easily won that run with 87 points.
In the girls medium race, Sarah Lancos' seventh-place finish helped Centennial take second. The Eagles finished with 133 points, behind Colonial Forge (58) as the Virginia school completed its sweep of the races in this division.
In the girls small race, Century's Rachel Hawes finished third in 20:20 to help the Carroll County school finish seventh out of 22 teams. Ephrata (Pa.) edged Hereford by seven points to win the team title.