Emily Craig paces Maryvale to first A Conference title at IAAM cross country meet

Maryvale's Emily Craig won the 2015 IAAM girls cross country championship at Stevenson. Here she is shown placing second in 2014.
Maryvale's Emily Craig won the 2015 IAAM girls cross country championship at Stevenson. Here she is shown placing second in 2014.(Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Emily Craig of Maryvale finished second in last year's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship meet. She did not want a repeat of that performance.

Craig focused on winning the race during her summer training and throughout this season, and her work paid off. The junior easily captured this year's IAAM title race on Tuesday at Stevenson University, which paved the way for No. 14 Maryvale to earn its first A Conference team title.


Last year saw Craig finish second behind Bryn Mawr freshman Sophie Gitlin. Craig used that as a motivating tool throughout her work leading up to and during this season.

Gitlin moved to another state, and Craig has been nearly unbeatable this season. She has lost just one race. She took the lead in this one right after the start and ran away from the field to win in 18 minutes, 55.6 seconds, easily beating Bryn Mawr's Amy Egan (19:36.7).

"[Last year] definitely motivated me for this year," Craig said. "I came into this season wanting to win. It feels good — painful, but good."

Craig led a strong Maryvale effort that saw the Lions place five runners in the top 17. That let them finish with 55 points and edge Mount de Sales (59) and No. 15 Notre Dame Prep (62).

Freshman Isabel Pineo (10th, 20:38.6) turned in a strong performance that also helped in the win. Kendall Gray (12th, 20:46.4), Abby Gonzalez (15th, 21:17.6) and Kaylie Homberg (17th, 21:25.3) helped the Lions run as a group and pull out the team win.

"We packed it in there with our top runners," Maryvale coach Jason Miller said. "I knew it was going to be close. It was a team effort right there."

Maryvale won the B Conference title two years ago and took fifth in the A Conference last year.

This year, St. Paul's won the B Conference while Oldfields repeated as C Conference champions.


Julia Schaefer (20:24.5) of Annapolis Area Christian School was the top B Conference finisher — there was just one race with all the runners from the three conferences competing — and St. Paul's put four runners in the top 10 and posted 49 points, ahead of Roland Park (62).

Park's Julia Luljak led the C Conference runners (20:08.2) as Oldfields (45) easily beat out St. John's Catholic (66). Oldfields put three runners in the top five, and that led the way to a championship.