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Oakland Mills' Lang leads pack at Howard County Cross Country Invitational

Beating the brunt of the incoming storm Saturday morning, Brit Lang finished as the top girls runner at the annual Howard County Invitational held at Centennial High School.

In the team competition, host Centennial finished with the best overall score on the girls side, while River Hill earned second place team scores from both its boys and girls squads.

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"I think we did well," said River Hill coach Paul Hugus. "I think it was a good opening season (meet) against a lot of the Howard County schools. We're missing both a boy and girl from our top seven, so it's all about perspective in terms of how we would stack up if we put them in. So I'm feeling good about how we did, and Centennial we'll see a bunch more times and Good Counsel we might not see again, so I'm fine about today."

Lang stole the local headlines, winning the girls race by more than 10 seconds. She clocked in at 18:34.61 to outpace Good Counsel's Claudia Wendt, who finished with a time of 18:45.39. The Falcons' sophomore was side-by-side with Lang for the majority of the race before falling back late.

"Me and (Wendt), right from the start, we kind of broke away from everyone else and she was right on my shoulder the whole time," said Lang. "She even passed me a little bit at one point (and) was in the lead. We were together for the entire race up until we came out of the woods, kind of at the end. Going into the final stretch I decided to make my move, see if I could break away a little bit and I was able to."

Although still not feeling 100 percent healthy, Lang was pleased with her time. She feels good about her start to the season, which began by winning the Brunswick Invitational on Sept. 5.

"Last week we were at Brunswick, not a lot of county schools were there, but there were a lot of 4A schools, so I ran really well up there. I won and ran like 18:42, so I was really happy with that performance," Lang said. "I came out here and I think it is a little bit harder of a course and a little longer of a course and I ran 18:35, so I'm feeling really good about how the season has started. … I've been dealing with injuries for most of my career with leg issues, (but) I've been training well recently and I've been racing really well too. I've been able to manage it a lot better from last year and into this year."

Mt. Hebron's Alexandra Banham finished third overall individually in the girls race, with a time of 19:45.04.

Centennial's girls  took first place overall with a total score of 82, which was followed by River Hill's 99 overall score.

"I thought it was a good job," said Eagles coach Kevin McCoy. "We're taking it day by day, (but) we went out with a goal today of running well and doing the best that we could, and we did. It was nice."

Devin McIntyre and Kara Taylor clocked in at nearly the same time for Centennial at 19:51.58 and 19.51.86, respectively, to finish in 8th and 9th place overall. Behind them Ashley Mazer (11th) and Jessica Jiang (12th), also had a tight finish, running in at 20:13.66 and 20:17.14, respectively.

"I felt tired, it was hard," McIntyre said. "Racing last year we didn't really run as a team, it was more individual, so it was nice having your team on your back. That was really helpful, them pushing you and stuff like that. We run as a family this year and that's really good. We finished one after another, instead of scattered like before and that's helped a lot."

Our Lady of Good Counsel claimed the best overall score in the boys race Saturday morning, while also getting the top finisher in senior Jack Wavering. But River Hill had good showings on both sides as a whole, with its top four boys runners coming in 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, respectively. While on the girls side, Jasmine Tiamfook finished 5th with a time of 19:47.35, followed by teammates Owen Dannelly (18th), Tiffany Wang (21st) and Alexa Matthews (25th).

"Alexa Matthews, she really made some big (improvements) and I think scrimmage times from last year, (it) was close to five minutes improvement, so she ran really well today," Hugus said. "(She) stepped up when Anna Latzko is out — she's our number two usually, she's taking her SAT's today. Jasmine ran really well – our number one –she was a top-five finisher, and pretty much our two, three, four boys ran really well as well. I think we had a nice tight pack, I think a 30 second spread from one to five today, which is a little bit, I don't know, it's good, but not good, because Trent (Rose) didn't have the best race – our number one guy – so, we'll se what happens next week."

Oakland Mills' Joey Navarro finished with the best individual boys time of all the Howard County schools, placing fourth overall with a time of 16:24.07. Howard's Nick Deamer and Mt. Hebron's Greg Bisant rounded out the top three best Howard County finishes, as they placed sixth and seventh respectively, with times of 16:30.32 and 16:36.74.

Girls team results: 1. Centennial, 82 points; 2. River Hill, 99; 3. Howard, 108; 4. Severna Park, 151; 5. Good Counsel, 160; 6. Mt. Hebron, 212; 7. Poolesville, 212; 8. South Carroll, 220; 9. Marriotts Ridge, 247; 10. Wilde Lake, 273; 11. Oakland Mills, 290; 12. Glenelg, 296; 13. Reservoir, 334; 14. Hammond, 457; 15. Long Reach, 474; 16. A, 487; 17. Pallotti, 508.

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Top girls individuals: 1. Britt Lang, OM, 18:34.61; 2. Claudia Wendt, Good Counsel, 18:45.39; 3. Alexandra Banham, MH, 19:45.04; 4. Maeve Lyons, Liberty, 19:45.89; 5. Jasmine Tiamfook, RH, 19:47.35; 6. Heidi Rinehart, Liberty, 19:48.84; 7. Fiona Whitefield, Poolesville, 19:50.85; 8. Devin McIntyre, C, 19:51. 58; 9. Kara Taylor, C, 19:51.86; 10. Abigail Starks, MR, 19:52.15.

Boys team results: 1. Good Counsel, 55 points; 2. River Hill, 73; 3. Howard, 87; 4. Mt. Hebron, 138; 5. Liberty, 185; 6. Reservoir, 193; 7. Centennial, 208; 8. Glenelg, 209; 9. Marriotts Ridge, 218; 10. Oakland Mills, 235; 11. South Carroll, 294; 12. Wilde Lake, 327; 13. Poolesville, 328; 14. Wheaton, 343; 15. Hammond, 422; 16. Atholton, 452; 17. Pallotti, 524; 18. LR, 562.

Top boys individuals: 1. Jack Wavering, Good Counsel, 15:56.97; 2. Brian Cave, South Carroll, 16:21.23; 3. Andrew Lent, Poolesville, 16:21.64; 4. Joey Navarro, OM, 16:24.07; 5. Matt Lopez, Good Counsel, 16:28.37; 6. Nick Deamer, Ho, 16:30.32; 7. Greg Bisant, MH, 16:36.74; 8. Jimmy Vazzana, Good Counsel, 16:37.51; 9. Nick Tilson, Liberty, 16:38.33; 10. Trent Rose, RH, 16:49.29.

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