It was repeat day at the Baltimore County cross country championship meet, held Saturday morning at the Baltimore Agricultural Center.
For the sixth straight year, the Dulaney boys captured the team title, and for the second straight season, Dulaney’s Drew Dailey won the individual crown.
For the girls, Hereford won the team championship for the second consecutive fall and Hereford’s Emily Konkus repeated as champion.
Dulaney coasted to the crown with 22 points, followed by Hereford (63), Towson (96), Catonsville (116) and Loch Raven (101).
Dailey took the lead from the opening gun and never let it go, finishing in personal best time of 16:08.
Runner-up Ryan Weeks, of Eastern Tech, finished in 16:22.
Last year, Dailey won the race when he outkicked teammate Brian McCullough at the line, finishing in 16:19.6, compared to McCullough’s 16:19.7.
Dailey had no desire to make it close this time.
“I knew it was my race to begin with and like it’s a big thing for me mentally to go out with that attitude,” he said. “I was feeling pretty good today.”
Also in the top 10 for Dulaney was Sam Merng (third, 16:30), Zak Audia (fourth, 16:41), Alex Whatley (fifth, 16:47) and Cooper Giesler (ninth, 17:12).
Joining the individual top 10 was Towson’s Peter Sorensen (sixth, 16:49), Catonsville’s Elliott Wack (seventh, 16:53) and Hereford’s Shane Taylor (eighth, 16:55) and Drew Turnbaugh (10th, 17:15).
“My goal was to try and break 15, but it’s hard when you are all alone,” said Dailey, who may have been alone on the course, but had many supporters off it, including the horses and goats the runners cruised past.
“I notice the horses and the goats, all of them, and people that are cheering for me, I see their faces, I wanted to say hi or wave to them, but I have to keep going,” Dailey said.
Dulaney coach Chad Boyle has seen him go and grow over the past two seasons.
“I think it’s a really big deal that he went back-to-back,” Boyle said. “Eric Walz (Dulaney’s three-time county champion) did that, but that is very difficult to do.”
Dailey’s goal, after taking the big lead, was finding his teammates.
A lot of our guys PR’d today, so that’s a good thing,” said the senior, who has taken on a leadership role. “The senior guys last year taught me a lot about how to bring everyone together. I think I’m in a really good position right now and I’m happy with the whole team and everyone’s efforts at every race.”
Boyle couldn’t be happier with the strides he has made including winning the Barnhart Invitational earlier this season in muddy conditions on the same course.
“I appreciate what he says about being a leader, but it’s a credit to his individual training, he really works hard, he’s very dedicated, never misses a day and that’s what running is all about,” Boyle said. “You have to put the work in, bottom line, and he really does it,”.
The rest of the team has followed suit.
“It’s kind of daunting when you look back over our last five or six years and you see some of the things that we’ve been able to do and are still doing,” Boyle said. “I’m real proud of the culture.”
Hereford’s girls know all about a winning culture.
They’ve won three straight straight state championships and four of the past five.
This year’s county title was the Bulls third in the past four years.
The Bulls finished with 30 points and won by 20 over runner-up Dulaney (50).
Towson (72), Catonsville (96) and Pikesville (101) rounded out the top five.
“We expected it to be really close, five or six points either way, the Dulaney kids are great runners, very well-coached and they always come and perform on this day, so we knew they were going to give us everything we could handle and we were just exceptional,” Hereford coach Adam Hittner said.
The difference was a faster start by the entire Bulls bunch.
“Normally, the first mile, mile and a half or two miles, we are behind and we close and we finish strong,”Hittner said. “I mean, from the very early stages we were right there with them and in a better position than we normally are and they just ran incredible.”
Konkus, who ran a PR, was the main one who took the lead and ran with it.
“I think I’m a pretty conservative runner, so I went out kind of slow and just tried to set the pace when we got to the mile mark,” Konkus said. “I went out faster than I thought I was going. I went out at like a 5:45 (first mile). It was faster than I thought it was going to be, so I was a little nervous about that, but it seemed to pay off.”
She crossed the line 24 seconds ahead of runner-up Brooke Ruffin (19:34), of Dulaney and admitted she was gassed at the end.
“I was definitely tired and this is after that last little hill, so that definitely gets the last bit of energy out of you, but it’s nice because the last straightaway is downhill,” Konkus said.
Piper Lentz (fourth, 19:48), Caroline Benda (fifth, 19:55), Libby May (ninth, 20:08) and Emily Francis (11th, 20:47) were the top five placers for the champions.
Joining the individual top 10 were Dulaney’s Anna Albergo (third, 19:40), Catonsville’s Jessica McDivitt (sixth, 20:04), Towson’s Madeline Till (seventh, 20:06), Sparrows Point’s Macy Gerbes (eighth, 20:06) and Dulaney’s Marissa Dailey (10th, 20:21).