Injuries didn't bother Severna Park as the Falcons ran to a state title last fall. But health problems have hurt them at times during the first part of this season.
The top-ranked Falcons were missing three of their top five runners at Saturday's Bull Run Invitational. But Severna Park showed its depth by overcoming that obstacle to win the tough Elite School division at Hereford.
Coach Ed Purpura's team came to Bull Run without top runner Ashley Hayes (strained thigh) and Chris Patrick (No. 3) and Maddie Clouser (No. 4), both sidelined with hip problems. But the Falcons still placed three in the top six to finish with 90 points and beat No. 2 River Hill (114), No. 6 Mount Hebron (116), No. 3 Hereford (120) and No. 4 Century (130) on a hot, humid day.
Purpura said some of his runners wondered about the wisdom of competing in the Elite division without three of their top runners. The coach tried to ease their concerns.
"I am more than a little ecstatic about this," Purpura said. "I said, 'Girls, I know we'll finish in the top three, and I wouldn't be surprised if we win.'"
Century's Maura Linde finished second to Walter Johnson's Anna Bosse in the race. Bosse won in 19 minutes, 47 seconds, beating Linde by 30 seconds.
Linde is recovering from straining both of her quadriceps two weeks ago. She missed a week, and this was her first race since the injury.
Hannah Oneda of Winters Mill turned in one of the day's best performances, beating two of the area's top runners to win the Small Schools division. Oneda's time of 19:45 topped McDonogh's Madeline Dulac (19:54) and Elizabeth Tauber of John Carroll (20:22, last week's Athlete of the Week).
The No. 5 McDonogh girls captured that division with 81 points, beating Bohemia Manor by 22 points. Dulac led the way with her second-place finish. No. 10 Catonsville finished second in Medium Schools, six points behind Lower Merion (Pa.).
For the boys, top-ranked Severna Park finished a perfect day for the Falcons by winning the team championship in the Large Schools division. Old Mill's Cody Vernon won in 16:52, beating Scott Heydrick from River Hill by 10 seconds.
Ben Pershall was the only Severna Park runner in the top 10 (fifth) as the Falcons (131) edged Anne Arundel County rival No. 9 Chesapeake by eight. Alex Love (sixth) was the top Chesapeake runner, seven seconds ahead of teammate Sam Phipps, who finished seventh.
Hereford's Mason Rivera finished second in the Elite Schools race, falling to Linganore's Braden Bruning (16:33) by five seconds.
Sam Andrews of Oakland Mills easily won the Small Schools race in 16:53. John Carroll came in second, six points behind Bohemia Manor (136).