High School sports

Severna Park boys, Howard girls win Seahawk Invitational

The annual Seahawk Invitational hosted by South River has built itself into an important season-opening meet for not only the county’s best runners, but for some of the best around the entire state.

Traditionally the season-opening race for most, this year’s course was slightly altered from years past, which negated the advantage for runners who ran the race previously.


“I feel like it kind of evened the playing field for everybody,” South River’s Sam Keeny said. “No one had run on it yet. This was the first actual race any of these runners have actually run on this course. We of course had an advantage because we practice here so that helped a lot.”

Keeny, the top returning runner in the 4A classification, took second in the boys race on his home course, finishing behind last year’s 2A state champion Anish Nanjappa of River Hill, who used the pre-race course walk to familiarize himself and come up with a race plan.


“It feels really good, I’m really happy,” Nanjappa said. “I came here to win and that’s what I did. I executed perfectly because the course has changed so I didn’t know my way around the course as much but after the course walk I got the hang of it. I wanted to stick with the first pack and around the two-mile mark make a move to see what I could do.”

Nanjappa, the only returning runner to break the 16-minute mark at last year’s state meet, nearly broke 15 minutes on Saturday, finishing in 15:00.3. The rest of the top five all came from Anne Arundel County as Keeny was second, Arundel’s Tanner Piotrowski was third and Severna Park’s Jake Gelfand and Nick Engleman finished fourth and fifth respectively — a sign of how talented the county will be this year.

“Our county competition is almost state caliber,” Keeny added.

The Falcons got top 10 finishes from Carson Sloat (seventh) and James Dennison (eighth) to win the boys team title by a comfortable margin over River Hill. South River finished third and Arundel finished fourth.

Just as she had done throughout the outdoor track season, Mount de Sales’ Juliette Whittaker started strong before eventually pulling away halfway through the girls race to win comfortably, coming in at 17:23.8, 37 seconds ahead of Northern-Calvert’s Oakley Olson.

From Whittaker’s performance, you would have never known she was dealing with a cold.

“I felt good in the beginning but in the end, I’ve had a little cold so my throat had been bothering me, my head hurt and I didn’t realize how hot it was going to be because when the race started it wasn’t that bad,” Whittaker said. “I was just going to sit on whoever was sitting first, which I figured would be Oakley and then just go with a mile to go, depending on how I felt, but I felt pretty good coming out of the woods the first time.”

The defending IAAM champion showed she will be a force to contend with, running over a minute faster this year than at last year’s race, a big difference despite the slight alterations to the course.


“This race will give me more of a goal of where I am,” Whittaker said. “Last year my best was 18:59 so I didn’t really know what to expect but now with doing better at this year’s meet I know where to set my goals and stuff.”

Amanda Eliker of Howard took third place, Sophia Zell of Severna Park finished fourth and Arundel’s Niya Torres took fifth.

Howard placed three runners in the top 10 with Nimrit Ahuju taking sixth and Sarah Kindbom taking seventh, while the Falcons had two top 10 finishers, thanks to Alyssa Combs’ ninth-place finish. The Lions won the team title 53-65 over the Falcons with Walt Whitman finishing third, Northern-Calvert fourth and South River fifth.

Severna Park won the girls’ 4A state championship last year ahead of Howard 102-125 and Severna Park coach Josh Alcombright knows that this year will be a battle to the end as well between the two squads.

“It was a start to kick off the season and knock the rust off and see where we are at,” Alcombright said. “It was kind of as expected on the boys side and then with the girls we just got beat by a better team today. We have work to do. Howard is definitely a strong team on the girls side this year so they are going to give us a run for our money and we are going to see them a lot throughout the season.”


Varsity Highlights

Varsity Highlights


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1, Nanjappa (RH), 15:00.6; 2, Keeny (SR), 15:10.3; 3, Piotrowski (AR), 15:14.4; 4, Gelfand (SP), 15:26.5; 5, Engleman (SP), 15:40.6; 6, McGirr (HU), 15:42.4; 7, Sloat (SP), 15:44.9; 8, Dennison (SP), 15:45.1; 9, Galindo (RH), 15:50.1; 10, Wedding (CP), 15:51.7.


1, Severna Park, 39; 2, River Hill, 80; 3, South River, 128; 4, Arundel, 202; 5 (tie), Walt Whitman, Gilman, 212; 7, Howard, 234; 8, Mt. Hebron, 240; 9, Loyola-Blakefield, 250; 10, Chopticon, 257; 11, Huntingtown, 282; 12, Leonardtown, 288; 13, Northern-Calvert, 371; 14, Old Mill, 440; 15, Blake, 462; 16, Southern, 473; 17, Chesapeake, 481; 18, Annapolis, 484; 19, Westminster, 489; 20, La Plata, 513; 21, Calvert, 532; 22, St. Mary’s Ryken, 677; 23, Easton, 686; 24, North County, 703.


1, J. Whittaker (MDS), 17:23.8; 2, Olson (NO), 18:00.8; 3, Eliker (HO), 18:19.9; 4, Zell (SP), 18:32.9; 5, Torres (AR), 18:41.2; 6, Ahuju (HO), 18:46.0; 7, Kindbom (HO), 19:01.4; 8, Ericson (AN), 19:01.8; 9, Combs (SP), 19:04.3; 10, O’Brien (LE), 19:05.0.



1, Howard, 53; 2, Severna Park, 65; 3, Walt Whitman, 124; 4, Northern-Calvert, 126; 5, South River, 206; 6, Calvert, 219; 7, Leonardtown, 223; 8, Middletown, 252; 9, Arundel, 309; 10, River Hill, 311; 11, Chesapeake, 313; 12, Huntingtown, 318; 13, Mount de Sales, 350; 14, Westminster, 357; 15, Mt. Hebron, 386; 16, Old Mill, 398; 17, Annapolis, 401; 18, Chopticon, 413; 19, Blake, 561; 20, Glen Burnie, 600; 21, La Plata, 601; 22, North County, 669.