Howard teams excel at states

The top-ranked River Hill and No. 2 C. Milton Wright girls repeated as team champions in yesterday's state title meet at Hereford - but both teams' victories were different from last year's.

C.M. Wright pulled out a one-point victory over Eleanor Roosevelt in the Class 4A division last year, but the Mustangs dominated this time. Their 93 points easily beat out Northwest (127). Shannon Rafferty (ninth) led C.M. Wright, which also got top-20 finishes from Erica Scripa (12th) and Whitney Hora (20th).


"This just proves that last year wasn't a fluke," C.M. Wright coach Donnie Mickey said. "Our real goal was to stay positive and not doubt ourselves all day and [let] whatever happens happen."

River Hill won the Class 2A title by 26 points over Century last year, but the Carroll County school made it tougher this year, thanks to an impressive victory by Maura Linde (19 minutes, 48 seconds) over Mount Hebron's Becky Yep (19:55). Still, River Hill (47 points) edged the third-ranked Knights by a point.


Katie Harman (third) led the Hawks, who had to overcome three top-10 finishes by Century (Kirsten McGovern, fourth, and Allie Dearie, sixth). But River Hill's Kendall Auth took ninth, and then Payton Lawrence (12th), Anna Demaree (13th) and Kelsey Harman (15th) came in 15 seconds apart to give the Hawks the victory.

Howard County schools had a big day overall, also getting team titles from the Mount Hebron boys in Class 2A and the Atholton boys in Class 3A.

No. 4 Mount Hebron (57 points) routed the field, easily beating River Hill (105) even though the Hawks' Craig Morgan (16:46) and Sean Kirby (16:56) took first and second. But the Vikings got top-10 efforts from Zach Weinstein (fourth), Ryan Steinbach (sixth) and Constantine Matsakis (eighth) and ran away.

The top-ranked Atholton boys earned their first state title in 19 years, getting a big boost from Graham Bazell (16:29) and Michael Lynch (16:50), who finished first and second, respectively. But the Raiders placed all five scoring runners in the top 30 to finish with 69 points and edge No. 8 Bel Air (74). Tyler Muse (sixth), Alex Lohrman (ninth) and Mike Evans (10th) led the Bobcats.

"From the end of track season last year, we were focused on winning states here," Atholton coach Michael Babe said. "Their ability to push themselves to their maximum limit was [huge]."

The No. 6 Towson girls were the other local team champion. After winning the Baltimore County title two weeks ago, the Generals slipped and finished second to No. 4 Hereford in last week's regional.

But Towson came back with a bang yesterday. Rachel Pillion finished third, and the Generals also got strong runs from Emma Fesperman (eighth) and Ellie Kavanagh (10th) to end up with 55 points and pay back Hereford (84).

"We really wanted to come back and win this," Pillion said. "We were excited, and we really wanted it."


Marta Randall's seventh-place finish led Hereford.

The South Carroll boys had the day's other close call. Bohemia Manor (91), which swept the Class 1A boys and girls titles, edged the Cavaliers by one point.

Jake Zamostny led South Carroll by winning in 16:58, easily beating Smithsburg's David Wilson (17:11).

"This is a dream come true for me," Zamostny said. "It means so much to me."

The most impressive performance came from Sherwood's Solomon Haile, who set the course and meet records by running 15:43 to win by 40 seconds over Walt Whitman's Andrew Palmer. Bazell had just set the course record (15:51) last month at the Bull Run Invitational.

Maryland private school boys:: Senior Chris Swisko's fifth-place finish helped earn Calvert Hall its third consecutive Maryland private schools state championship at Maryland Agricultural Park in Derwood. Swisko finished the five-kilometer course in 16:23. Teammate Nick Rowe wasn't far behind, clocking in at 16:39, ninth overall. The Cardinals' 78 points easily distanced them from second-place finisher Georgetown Prep (93). Archbishop Spalding finished fifth.