CATONSVILLE — Severna Park cross country runner Fran Mackney and her assistant coach, Jim Patton, agreed on one point Friday: Mackney looked a bit sluggish in the Class 4A Region IV meet.
But as Patton reminded the Falcons senior, she's still one of the best closers around.
The rest of the girls field can attest to that.
Mackney, a senior who had won the county championship the previous week, pulled away from her closest competitor, Queen Anne's Krissy Jost, in the last quarter-mile to win by three seconds at Catonsville Community College.
In the boys race that followed, Old Mill's Scott Boetig held offa strong challenge from Severna
Park's Jarrett Hon to defend his region crown by three seconds.
Despite Boetig's victory, Severna Park swept the boys and girls championships.
Mackney, who's still recovering from a recent illness, was involved in a four-way struggle with Jost, Glen Burnie's Cynthia Silate and Broadneck's Jeanne Rimar entering the last mile of the 3.2-mile race.
"I didn't know what (Jost) had, because I've never raced her before. With Cindy, I knew I could out-kick her," Mackney said.
Silate, who placed third, said,"I didn't think I'd do as good as I did. I started feeling a little weak, but I just held on. I heard Jeanne Rimar and the Queen Anne's girl right there with me, so I just tried to stay with them all.
"Iwas really weak at counties and I wasn't eating right for a while. But I'm starting to come back now. I just got really mad because my whole season's been really terrible, and I want to finish strong."
Rimar finished fourth after taking second in the county meet. Meade's Amy Bell and Old Mill's Marisa Sanders, who also stayed near the front for much of the race, were fifth and sixth, respectively.
The top 15 finishers qualified for Saturday's state meet at Western Maryland College, as did the top five teams -- Severna Park, Old Mill, Chesapeake, Broadneck and Meade.
"I look forward to the states," said Mackney, who will have to contend with favorite Amanda White of Dulaney. "I'm really excited about that, more so than this. I think it's because you're racing against better people, and you have more desire to do well, to try to beat them."
Four freshmen placed in the top 10 -- Brianna Weidman of Severna Park (seventh), Jessica Davis of Old Mill (eighth), Rebecca McDivitt of Glen Burnie (ninth) and Mary Luckhart of Chesapeake (10th).
It was a senior, Boetig, who took the boys crown. But not without a fight.
Boetig, who won the county championship last week, surrendered the lead to Hon on more than one occasion.
Hon had placed second at the county meet, 12 seconds behind Boetig.
"I didn't think the counties were a fluke, but I didn't expect to see Hon up here again," Boetig said.
"I wouldn't say this was my best race, but I'm pretty happy with it."
Boetig took the lead for good at the two-mile mark, the same spot he pulled away from Glen Burnie's Sheridan Snedden in last year's regions.
Hon said ifhe had began his final kick a little sooner, at the last quarter-mile, he might have passed Boetig.
"But I didn't know if I would be able to hold up my kick for that long," he said. "My plan going into the race was to make my move on the last hill and get in front of him,but he was already ahead of me by a lot, so I just decided to try toclose it. And I kept gaining yardage on him."
While Boetig entered the race as the heavy favorite, Patriots coach Gary Bater wasn't conceding anything.
"Just like a war, you can't ever assume anything," he said. "But I feel comfortable with Scott. He's a very self-determined individual."
The top 16 boys qualified for the states, as did the top five teams.
Team results (top five): Severna Park (46 points), Meade (55), Old Mill (92), Broadneck (93), Arundel (119).
Individual results (top 16): 1. Scott Boetig, Old Mill (17:28); 2. Jarrett Hon, Severna Park (17:31); 3. Tim Collins, Broadneck; 4. Brian Kaupa, Severna Park; 5. Eric Van Gieson, Annapolis; 6. Carl Little, Meade; 7. Brad Boetig, Old Mill; 8. Geoff Warren, Arundel; 9. Rich Jones, Severna Park; 10. Kevin Raymond, Meade; 11. Adam Monk, Queen Anne's; 12. Colby Schmidt, Meade; 13. James Nosal, Meade; 14. Nathan Snyder, Meade; 15. James Jankowski, Severna Park; 16. Jeremy Kokalis, Severna Park.
Team results (top five): Severna Park (45), Old Mill (75), Chesapeake (76), Broadneck (110), Meade (111).
Individual results (top 15): 1. Fran Mackney, Severna Park (21:03);2. Krissy Jost, Queen Anne's (21:06); 3. Cynthia Silate, Glen Burnie; 4. Jeanne Rimar, Broadneck; 5. Amy Bell, Meade; 6. Marisa Sanders, Old Mill; 7. Brianna Weidman, Severna Park; 8. Jessica Davis, Old Mill; 9. Rebecca McDivitt, Glen Burnie; 10. Mary Luckhart, Chesapeake; 11. Tanya Hecox, North County; 12. Cindy Symancyk, Severna Park; 13. Linda Marcinkevich, Chesapeake; 14. Adrienne McCray, North County; 15.Kerri Hidenfelter, Severna Park.