Mount de Sales coach Steve Weber gave Samantha Facius a simple plan Wednesday. Weber suggested Facius stay with the leaders of the pack during the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship race and make her move late.
Facius executed the plan perfectly, using a great kick in the final 1,000 meters to pass and beat defending champion Lacey Eden from Archbishop Spalding in the race at Stevenson. Still, the No. 3 Cavaliers had a good day overall, nipping Maryvale by four points and ending the Lions’ two-year reign as A Conference champions.
Facius finished fifth last fall after being bothered by hip problems. She fared better after that, winning the 800- and 1,600-meter conference championships in both indoor and outdoor track.
The junior certainly knows how to use that kick.
“That was the plan,” Weber said. “Just stay behind the lead group and save something for the finish — and when she went, she went.”
Eden and teammate Allysa Combs held the lead at various points in the race as a group of four ran together much of the time before Facius made her move. She took off and then pulled away late, winning the race in 18 minutes, 58.54 seconds, beating out Eden (19:15.86), Julia Merriman of Notre Dame Prep (19:20.51) and Combs (19:38.37).
“I was a little worried that I went too soon,” Facius said. “I felt Lacey right on me as I started to go, but it all worked.”
Eden was frustrated afterward but credited Facius for using such a strong kick.
“I just couldn’t stay with her,” Eden said.
Eden had beaten Facius in the regular season but could not pull it off this time. The Mount de Sales coaches have been telling Facius to use that kick, and she did it perfectly.
It still proved to be a positive day for the Spalding team, as the Cavaliers edged two-time defending champion Maryvale (52-56). The Lions also placed two runners — Rachel Thomas (sixth) and Brittney Graff (seventh) — in the top 10, but it wasn't enough.
Spalding coach Mike Ward loved how the rest of his team ran. Kate Oravec (12th), Maddy Sampson (13th) and Sara Swanlund (21st) wrapped up the scoring and gave the Cavaliers just enough to slide past Maryvale.
“When you have the 1-2 punch like [Eden and Combs], you have a great opportunity to win,” Ward said. “You need the others to get better and they did.”
Maryvale beat Spalding by nine points in last year’s race, and the Cavaliers exacted a bit of revenge this time around. Notre Dame Prep took third with 67 points and Mount de Sales finished fourth (88).
Everyone from the A, B and C conferences ran in one race, and the individual and team honors were handed out based upon who finished the best.
Alayna Gibson of Roland Park was the top B Conference finisher in a time of 19:48.24 as the Reds put five runners in the top 14 to finish with 36 points and easily beat out Annapolis Area Christian School (79).
Gibson also won last year’s B Conference race.
In the C Conference, Abby Baummer from Catholic was the lead runner. She ran 20:51.13, which was 34.58 seconds ahead of teammate Abbey Sullivan. However, Glenelg Country put three runners in the top 10 and defeated Catholic.
GCS finished with 46 points, a 13-point margin of victory over Catholic.
IAAM A Conference
Team scores (top 5): 1. Spalding, 52; 2. Maryvale, 56; 3. Notre Dame Prep, 67; 4. Mount de Sales, 88; 5. Bryn Mawr, 118.
Individual results (top 10): 1. Facius (MDS), 18:58.54; 2. Eden (SPA), 19:15.86; 3. Merriman (NDP), 19:20.51; 4. Combs (SPA), 19:38.37; 5. Wayson (NDP), 20:19.93; 6. Thomas (MAR), 20:52.62; 7. Graff (MAR), 21:11.02; 8. Bell (MDS), 21:14.53; 9. Gillam (JC), 21:18.12; 10. Fogelson (MCD), 21.22.30.
IAAM B Conference
Team scores (top 5): 1. Roland Park, 36; 2. AACS, 79; 3. St. Mary’s 85; 4. St. Paul’s, 92; 5. Severn, 121.
Individual results (top 10): 1. Gibson (RP), 19:48.24; 2. Currie (RP), 21:17.53; 3. Kulla (OLD), 21:29.03; 4. Bickhart (AAC), 21:37.32; 5. Laufer (SP), 21:47.88; 6. Krall (SEV), 22:04.53; 7. Christopher (IND), 22:04.82; 8. Cote (AAC), 22:14.80; 9. Rhea (RP), 22:15.84; 10. Gushue (RP), 22:16.29.
IAAM C Conference
Team scores (top 5): 1. Glenelg Country, 46; 2. Catholic, 59; 3. St. John’s Catholic, 98; 4. Pallotti, 100; 5. Park, 133.
Individual results (top 10): 1. Baummer (CAT), 20:51:13; 2. Sullivan (CAT), 21:25.71; 3. Hardesty (GCS), 21:30.43; 4. Garza (PAL), 21:49.15; 5. Lowe (SJ), 21:49.35; 6. Shorb (GCS), 22:14.25; 7. Whye (PAR), 23:01.26; 8. Brooks (PAR), 23:18.43; 9. Ford (PAL), 23:19.27; 10. Jacobs (GCS), 23:19.87.