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Dulaney boys, Hereford girls win team titles again at Barnhart Cross Country Invitational

There were no surprises in the team championships at the 34th annual Barnhart Cross Country Invitational at Dulaney on Saturday.

The Dulaney boys won the team title for the fourth year in a row and Hereford captured the girls crown for the second straight year.

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The surprises came from the individual race winners.

McDonogh's Dalton Hengst, who ran the 3.1-mile race five days earlier, won the boys event in a time of 15 minutes, 44.38 seconds.

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Bulls cross country coach John Roemer IV said operating the event has required more time and effort in recent years because of its growth.

In the girls' race, Patuxent senior Haley Jackson won at a course she had never ran in her career — and broke the Barnhart meet record.

Jackson's time of 18:03.91 topped the previous record of 18:18 held by Hereford's Kristen Malloy.

Jackson held off Hereford senior Kelly Wesolowski (18:28.95) and Middletown's Reilly Caldwell (18:43.69) for the title.

"I was not surprised that the course record fell today," Dulaney coach Chad Boyle said. "Haley, Reilly and Kelly, with those three together providing that level of competition, I knew someone was going to break the record."

Jackson primed for the race by sleeping in the car on the way up from Calvert County.

During the prerace walkthrough she let her teammates wake her up.

"Before races we are just joking around during the course walk, listening to music together, like John Cena and SpongeBob songs, and having our inside jokes," Jackson said. "It makes it so much easier to calm down and enjoy the race even more."

Second-place finisher Wesolowski made her antsy during the race.

"Seeing her that close, I got really excited and I was like, 'This is going to be a good year if she's that close.' " Jackson said.

Wesolowski was just happy to be on any course.

She played soccer her freshman and sophomore years and planned to switch to cross country for her junior year, but she had foot surgery.

"I had Freiberg infraction," she said. "The bone in my toe was collapsing, so they had to take the dead bone out and they took a bone graph from my heel."

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This was her first cross country race.

"I just wanted to run as fast as I could," she said. "I kind of felt like I could get top five, but I didn't know Haley Jackson was going to be here, so that was a surprise."

Cross country runners do not simply start running when practices begin in August. Many already have spent the summer training for the long distances which await them in the fall.

Said Hereford coach Adam Hittner: "Kelly ran a fantastic race, and it was her first cross country race ever."

Hereford won the team title with 83 points.

Howard (105), Century (115), Dulaney (122) and Towson (144) rounded out the top five.

Kelly Shearer (8th, 19:50.50), Emily Konkus (20th, 20:30.18), Nicole Burkoski (23rd, 20:32.09), and Lillian Behan (30th, 20:56.82) completed the top five for Hereford.

"Nicole Burkoski ran a huge race for us," Hittner said.

Hengst won a race he hadn't planned on entering.

"On Monday, we made a decision that I was going to race here. Originally, I wasn't going to race here," said Hengst, who had planned on lightening up his racing schedule.

That rest will have to wait.

"On the starting line I felt pretty good," Hengst said. "I knew my legs were going to be fresh, but I was a little shocked by the fast pace I had to run today."

Hengst led from the start and finished ahead of Bel Air's Kieran McDermott (15:53.23) and Howard's Nick Deamer (16:01.60).

The top five finishers from the Dulaney boys team that won last year graduated, but the Lions won the team title convincingly.

Dulaney (82) was well ahead of runner-up Mount Saint Joseph (125) and third-place Howard (135).

"We are building quite a legacy here," Boyle said. "It's a seamless transition."

Matt Owens (7th, 16:12.70) was the leader of the Dulaney pack.

'There is pressure," Owens said. "We've got to keep up the tradition, but they taught us really well and we've got great coaches and the team is filled with guys with great potential and we are all dedicated."

"Matt Owens stepped up and did a tremendous job," Boyle said. "We call it talking with his legs."

The rest of the top five for the Lions included Brian McCullough (12th, 16:44.89), Brendan O'Brien (20th, 16:52.26), Alex Ozbolt (22nd, 16:55.13) and Connor Martin (25th, 16:56.37).

"Brendan O'Brien, our number five runner, was running his first varsity race today and he ran a heckuva last mile," Boyle said. "I would say he passed 10 guys in the last mile."

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