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Dulaney boys, Hereford girls lead local winners at state cross country meet

Catonsville's Graham Strzelecki is among those navigating a turn during the first part of Saturday's Class 4A boys state cross country meet.
Catonsville's Graham Strzelecki is among those navigating a turn during the first part of Saturday's Class 4A boys state cross country meet.(Nicole Munchel / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The top-ranked Dulaney boys cross country team finished a dominant season in style at the state championship meet Saturday.

Eric Walz won the race, and Dulaney put five runners in the top 18 as the Lions ended No. 2 Severna Park's three-year hold on the Class 4A title with a decisive victory over the Falcons at Hereford.

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The top-ranked Hereford girls also won, easily taking the Class 2A state title. Also earning state crowns were the No. 3 River Hill and No. 10 Liberty boys, plus the No. 5 Centennial girls.

Walz won his race in 16 minutes, 6 seconds, beating out runner-up Rohann Asfaw of Richard Montgomery (16:20.8). Also for Dulaney, Andrew King (third), Sean Smyth (sixth), Austin Carey (13th) and Elijah Hawkins (18th) ran well as the Lions finished with 37 points, far ahead of Severna Park (76).

Dulaney ran against Severna Park earlier this season in the Bull Run meet, also at Hereford, and the Falcons edged the Lions by just three points. Walz said that woke his team up a bit.

The Lions never lost again.

"It made us re-evaluate what we were doing," Walz said. "We realized we weren't untouchable yet. [This] just means so much to us."

Walz became the first Dulaney male runner to win a state title in 53 years. He set the tone for the Lions to accomplish the goal they so badly wanted — to finally beat Severna Park after finishing second in the state behind the Falcons each of the previous two seasons.

Andrew Forsyth (fourth) and Josh Tucker (fifth) gave Severna Park top-10 finishes, but the Falcons couldn't match Dulaney.

"Today was definitely a dominating win for us," Dulaney coach Chad Boyle said. "We were clicking on all cylinders. It's definitely something that they wanted to achieve."

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The River Hill boys also turned in a dominant performance en route to the Class 3A team title. Trent Rose finished third overall as the Hawks (58 points) routed No. 14 Atholton (134) to repeat as state champions.

River Hill's season went much like Dulaney's as the Hawks kept improving as time went on. The Hawks, however, might have saved their best performance for this race.

Rahul Reddy (seventh) and Jacob Parker (eighth) also placed in the top 10 while Andrew Meininger (14th) and Ben Oldhouser (26th) finished the scoring.

"You can see how we came together as the season progressed," Rose said. "This means a lot. It makes us feel we did what we came here to do."

The Liberty boys won Class 2A with 89 points, beating out Oakland Mills (92). South Carroll's Brian Cave won the race (16:33.7), but Nick Tilson and Daniel Saxon of Liberty took second and third to key the Lions' win.

Andrew Miner (11th), Austin Keele (36th) and Hayden Hertz (45th) were the rest of Liberty's top five. Joey Navarro (fifth) led Oakland Mills.

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For the girls, Hereford had little trouble winning a second state title in three years. The Bulls took second last year, but left no doubt in this race as they placed five in the top 26 and finished with 50 points to roll past Century (118).

Sarah Coffey (third) and Kelly Shearer (fourth) led the way while Emily Konkus (15th), Emily Causey (16th) and Hannah Ace (26th) all scored for the Bulls.

"I told them not to be cautious and run aggressively," Hereford coach John Roemer said. "It was a really simple recipe."

Centennial lost its top runner from last year, which is why coach Kevin McCoy said the Eagles knew that winning a state title would require a group effort. They did just that to win the Class 3A team crown with 68 points, topping Northern-Calvert (84).

Devin McIntyre (10th place) was the first Centennial finisher in 20:26.6. But Kara Taylor (13th), Jessica Jiang (14th), Ashley Mazor (17th) and Alison Betler (19th) were right behind, and those top five Eagles had a gap of only 25.1 seconds.

"We knew the name of the game was running together, running as a family and staying together," McCoy said. "It was a great day."

Maria Coffin of Annapolis had similar fun in winning the Class 4A race. Her time of 18:25.3 was the second-fastest of the day and let her grab the top spot after finishing second last fall.

"It was a huge motivation for me," she said. "I was aiming for the states all season."

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