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2019 All-Metro girls cross country Coach of the Year: Zachary Dickerson, Howard

The Howard girls cross country team won back-to-back titles over Hereford in 2006 and 2007 under coach Matt Stump, but hadn’t been close to the summit in over a decade until they finished second to Severna Park last season.

Coach Zachary Dickerson knew how much another team title would mean to the school and laid the groundwork for his team in the spring.

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“Everyone was on the same page. Everyone knew they had to work consistently throughout the summer, even if they were on vacation to run on their own and make sure they were working hard and healthy when they entered the season for us this year,” Dickerson said.

Howard raced Severna Park six times, including at the 4A East regional meet and 4A state championships.

The Lions held the Falcons off at each step, including wins at the Seahawk and Bull Run invitationals, and won a second consecutive title at the Howard County championships. Heading into the state championships Dickerson, a former Howard runner himself, gave his team some extra motivation to win the title.

“We had a bunch of alumni from those 2006-2007 teams write letters to the girls that I shared with them two days prior to the state meet,” Dickerson said. "[It] was exciting to see that kind of community and alumni relationships for a few generations going around.”

The Lions thrived, putting all five of their runners in the top 28, including top-10 finishes for Amanda Eliker (fourth), Nimrit Ahuja (eighth) and Sara Kindbom (10th).

“The team this year showed everybody what it takes to win on our team and the work that needs to be put in work in,” Dickerson said. “It shows them something to look up to and try to emulate for next year and our goal is to hopefully be in a spot to be able to repeat next year for states.”

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