Calvert Hall wins first MIAA A cross country championship since 2008; John Carroll, Friends victorious
By Ryan Morse
Baltimore Sun Media|
Nov 05, 2019 at 6:46 PM
Despite Calvert Hall’s Owen Johnson winning the individual title and the Cardinals placing all of their scoring top five in the top 14 last season, Calvert Hall fell agonizingly short of winning the Maryland Independent Athletic Association A Conference cross country championship, losing to Loyola Blakefield, 40-42.
This year, thanks in part to Johnson repeating as champion, the Cardinals did not leave much doubt, putting four runners in the A Conference top five to cruise to a 27-66 victory over Gilman to win the school’s first title since 2008.
“We have talked all year about running tough,” Calvert Hall coach Peter Frein said. “We had a lot of guys who didn’t have their best race today, but they ran really tough. We left last year with some unfinished business, so we wanted to come back and seal it.”
For Calvert Hall to capture the team championship, Johnson knew it would be crucial for him to repeat as champion. Going out a little faster than he desired, Johnson settled in and executed his race strategy to perfection to win in 16 minutes, 20.9 seconds, 20 seconds ahead of Archbishop Spalding’s Ryan Miller.
“I wanted to go out in about 5 minutes flat for the first mile,” Johnson said. “I went out in 4:57, which was a little fast but that was fine. From there, I wanted to hit the downhills hard and the sharp turns at the very bottom hard and make separation by the hill up to the 4K mark at about 40-50 meters, which was exactly what I wanted, and from there I coasted it in. Everyone knew I was the guy to beat, unlike last year, when Camden [Gilmore of Loyola Blakefield] was the guy to beat. It was a little less pressure than this year. I knew I had to win, that was my expectation, and that’s what my team needed from us to win, and at the end of the day, everybody hit their goals and we won.”
Johnson’s performance was exactly what Frein wanted and expected.
“He’s been leading this team for the past three years,” Frein said. “He knew he had to come up today and there are some great runners in this race who are really well coached, so we knew it was going to be a challenge, but we came in with everything to lose and they really performed well under pressure.”
Johnson was joined in the A Conference top five by teammates Nick Gonzalez (third), Connor Paszkiewicz (fourth) and Andrew Myers (fifth). Gilman got top-10 performances from Thomas Broadus (sixth) and Beck Wittstadt (seventh) to finish second. Rounding out the top 10 were Noah Dunleavy of McDonogh (eighth), Zach Walker of St. Paul’s (ninth) and Coleman Ruiz of Archbishop Spalding (10th).
Hunter Steinau of Annapolis Area Christian School was the B Conference champion in 16:57.6, good enough for fourth overall. Michael Chipi ran a 17:03.5 and Nick Singleakis ran a 17:04.8, good enough for sixth and seventh, respectively, while John Carroll won its third consecutive B Conference title, outscoring Severn, 54-84.
Henry Griffith of Friends won the C Conference championship in 16:51.8, 90 seconds ahead of his closest conference competitor and good enough for third overall. Friends outscored St. John’s Catholic Prep, 27-78, to win its fifth consecutive C Conference crown.
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