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All-Metro girls cross country Coach of the Year: Mike Ward, Archbishop Spalding

For The Baltimore Sun

Mike Ward had a solid team this season, led by first-team All-Metro picks Lacey Eden and Allysa Combs, but it was the effort of his whole group that let the Cavaliers end Maryvale’s two-year hold on the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland title.

Eden finished second at the championship race while Combs took fourth, helping Archbishop Spalding score a four-point victory over the Lions (52-56). Ward, though, was just as pleased with how the rest of his top five fared.

Kate Oravec (12th), Maddy Sampson (13th) and Sara Swanlund (21st) rounded out the team’s top five, and the balance helped win the title.

Eden and Combs went 1-2 in nearly every meet this season, but Ward’s team got the needed results from the rest of his top five to pry the crown from Maryvale.

“For the team to the win the championship, we had to have season-leading efforts from our 3-7 runners,” Ward said. “Many of them passed [two to three] runners in the final 100 meters of the race for us to win. I was happy with the total team effort.”

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