The Maryvale cross country team won its first Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title in last year's championship race. It didn't take long for the program to earn a second one.
Archbishop Spalding freshman Lacey Eden won the race and helped the Cavaliers come close to Maryvale, but the Lions put five runners in the top 16 and held on to repeat at IAAM A Conference champions in the meet on Tuesday at Stevenson.
Maryvale finished with 51 points, beating out Spalding (60) and Notre Dame Prep (64). Defending champion Emily Craig led the Lions with her second-place finish, but all five Maryvale runners turned in strong performances.
"It was a complete team effort from top to bottom," Maryvale coach Jason Miller said. "We had to be aggressive from the start, and I think we were able to do that."
Rachel Thomas (sixth), Isabel Pineo (12th), Brittney Graff (15th) and Julia Piet (16th) rounded out the Maryvale top five. In fact, Pineo, Graff and Piet finished 24.67 seconds apart, and that locked up the victory.
Miller said the strong start also paid off. The Maryvale runners jumped out toward the lead in the first part of the race and remained in good positions after that — which proved important.
"We all ran very well," Craig said. "I thought we gave ourselves a good chance."
They needed that because the young Spalding team gave the Lions a fight. Eden stayed right behind Craig throughout the race and made her move in the final quarter-mile, passing the Maryvale runner to win in a time of 19 minutes, 5.75 seconds.
Craig took second in 19:10.43.
"I just took off and used the downhill to my advantage," Eden said. "I knew I'd be able to get her."
Spalding caught many by surprise this season under new coach Mike Ward. The Cavaliers are a very young team, with five of its top seven runners freshmen, including Allysa Combs, who finished third overall in 19:29.32.
Four of the top five Maryvale runners also are underclassmen, which could set up an interesting battle during the next few years. The Lions won the cross country championship last fall and then did the same in both indoor and outdoor track.
This also was the third time in four years that Maryvale captured a cross country title. The Lions won the B Conference crown in 2013 before moving up to the A Conference.
On Tuesday, there was just one race overall, but it was split into three separate conference results.
Roland Park easily won the B Conference championship with 37 points, beating St. Mary's (65). Alayna Gibson of Roland Park finished first among B Conference runners in 20:34.59.
The key for the Reds was how they placed four runners in the top 10. Elizabeth Currie (21:03.2) took second with Hannah Rhea (fourth) and Sydney Siegmeister (10th) leading the way. Caroline Gosse (20th) was the final Roland Park scoring runner.
Last year, the Reds finished second.
Park won the C Conference championship, also putting four runners in the top 10 to easily take the team crown with 35 points, ahead of Pallotti (74).
Abigail Sullivan of Seton Keough led the C Conference runners in 21:03.58, but Park took over after that. Clara Brill-Carlat (second, 21:07.22), Julia Luljak (third), Maeve Thistel (fifth) and Celka (cq) Rice (ninth) also finished in the top 10 for Park. Samantha Brooks (16th) was the other Bruin who scored.