Freshman Christina Pellegrini, Severna Park's No. 6 runner, broke a 32-32 tie that vaulted No. 4-ranked Severna Park over top-ranked Broadneck for the girls team trophy at the Anne Arundel County cross country championships at Arundel High in Gambrills yesterday.
The Bruins did boast an individual champion, senior Lauren Centrowitz. She became only the second girl to win three straight county crowns. And Broadneck's No. 1 boys team picked up its first title in three years.
Annapolis junior Will Eden took the gold medal in the boys division, becoming the first repeat champion since Arundel's Geoff Warren in 1992 and 1993.
But the buzz of the day surrounded the Falcons' upset of Broadneck, the reigning county and Class 4A state girls champion.
In cross country, the finishes of a team's first five runners count toward the squad's aggregate score. After Severna Park and the Bruins ended up with identical totals of 32, the placements of the teams' No. 6 runners determined the team winner.
Pellegrini finished 13th in 22 minutes, 31.8 seconds; Broadneck sophomore Kasey Jamison was 16th in 22:36.6.
That was enough to give the Falcons their sixth title in seven seasons and 18th in 21 years.
"It feels good," Pellegrini said, adding that Severna Park interim coach Mary Seidel told her and No. 7 runner, junior Jessica Prue, to push themselves on Arundel's 3.1-mile course. "I never expected this. ... I was just trying to stay in front of [Jamison]."
Senior Stephanie Newton, the Falcons' top runner who placed fourth in 20:53.8, said she had faith in her team's depth.
"Being the No. 1 runner, I'm no more important than anyone else," Newton said. "We all played an important part in this."
The upset stunned Broadneck. Centrowitz, who won in 19:31.5, gave little thought about joining Kristen Nicolini of Annapolis as the county's only three-time county champ.
"I was expecting to win a county title as a team," Centrowitz said. "I was thinking more about that than an individual title."
A crowded boys race between seniors Larry Contrella of Old Mill, Klayton Lipman of Northeast, Joe Wojciechowski of North County and Eden turned into a showdown between Contrella and Eden.
Contrella, who had edged Eden at the Knights Invitational last month, took the lead with 1,200 meters left, but Eden surged past Contrella with 200 left and crossed the finish line in 17:06.8.
"At Knights, I thought he would fall back," Eden said. "Today, I knew I had to stay with him. It was tough, but it worked out."
Top-15 efforts from senior Andrew Younger (sixth place in 17:55.1), senior Adam Flury (10th, 18:24.3), senior Tim Hicks (11th, 18:28.5), junior Kellen Hamill (12th, 18:32.9) and junior Bryan Haglund (14th, 18:37.7) propelled Broadneck to a 48-99 margin over runner-up Northeast.
"It's been a roller coaster," said Dana Dobbs, who coaches both Broadneck teams. "The boys didn't run well at the Doc Jones [Anne Arundel County Invitational]. They felt they had something to prove today."