McDonogh's Hengst, No. 5 Gaels end Loyola Blakefield's streaks at MIAA cross country meet
By Jeff Seidel
For The Baltimore Sun|
Nov 04, 2015 | 7:20 PM
Loyola Blakefield had won six consecutive individual and team titles at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship meet. But Dalton Hengst of McDonogh and Mount Saint Joseph changed everything Wednesday at Stevenson in this year's title race.
Hengst won the race with a strong performance, taking first by nearly four seconds in 16:06.3, and No. 4 Mount Saint Joseph edged No. 5 Loyola by two points to give the Gaels their first MIAA cross country championship in school history.
Mount Saint Joseph placed five runners in the top 15 and finished with 52 points, just enough to top Loyola (54) in the A Conference competition. Alex Whittaker (sixth, 16:49.0) and Hunter Petrik (seventh, 16:50.7) led the way. Carter Williams (11th), Jacob Almendra (13th) and Justin Russell (15th) rounded out the top five.
"This had to be a total team victory," Mount Saint Joseph coach Phil Turner said. "I thought, on a perfect day, we could win this meet. I couldn't be prouder of these guys."
Turner has pushed the Gaels to run their best all season while pointing to this meet. They've run against Loyola several times — with both teams beating the other in different situations — but felt confident enough entering this race.
"We've trained really hard, and we've gotten in meets that have challenged us," Whittaker said. "We were ready."
Loyola ran well also, putting four in the top 16, but the Dons couldn't extend their streak. Kevin Wegner (second, 16:10.1), Kenny Rowe (fourth, 16:34.2) and Max Barbour (ninth, 17:00.1) finished in the top 10.
Camden Gilmore (16th), and Aganze Nkere (23rd) also scored for Loyola, who had a runner become sick during the race and not finish, which also helped the Mount Saint Joseph cause.
"We were ready to run," Loyola coach Jose Albornoz said. "Saint Joe had a good day."
So did Hengst, a sophomore who became the first McDonogh runner to win the individual title since 2004. Hengst felt he had been running in an inconsistent manner at times during the first part of this season. That's when he stepped up his intensity in workouts and saw better results.
He was excited about this race and felt nervous throughout the day in school while waiting to get out on the course. Hengst took the lead early and battled with others during the first part of the race and finally moved into first for good around the midway point, although Wegner made a move late.
"I had so much adrenaline at the end," he said. "I enjoy running but I enjoy winning so much more."
McDonogh coach Jeff Sanborn also agreed that Hengst's hard work in recent weeks has paid off.
"He's been very consistent," Sanborn said. "He's just been really good."
In the B Conference, Boys' Latin repeated as team champion. The Lakers (45 points) edged John Carroll (50). Evan Moore of John Carroll was the top B Conference finisher — all the conferences ran together in one race — in 16:50.9.
There also was a C Conference this year (last year had just A and B), and Friends won that team title. The Quakers posted 43 points, enough to beat Beth Tfiloh (49). Joshua Rosemore of Beth Tfiloh was the top finisher in this conference (17:21.1) but Friends hung on to beat the Warriors.
Team scores (top 5): 1. Mount St. Joseph, 52; 2. Loyola, 54; 3. McDonogh, 101; 4. Calvert Hall, 103; 5. Gilman, 116.