Jackson, Iventichev surprise themselves

Cross country

High Schools


Decent showings at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association cross country championships were the first priority for Sam Jackson and Grisha Iventichev.

What they finished with was a whole lot better.

Jackson, a senior at Gilman, and Iventichev, a sophomore at Friends, reached the pinnacle of their seasons by claiming the A and B Conference titles, respectively, at Oregon Ridge Park on Wednesday.

The team crowns went to No. 1 Loyola in the A Conference for the fifth time since 1997 and Severn in the B Conference for the first time in the school's history.

The stories of the day, however, were the performances of Jackson and Iventichev, two solid runners who were left out of the pre-race discussion on favorites.

Jackson, a standout for the Greyhounds in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs in outdoor track last spring, kept pace with the leader, Archbishop Spalding junior Rob Wetzel, for much of the race and then, in the final 800 meters, surged ahead and crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 15 seconds.

"It was a big surprise to me," he said of his victory. "I was honestly expecting - at best - third [place]."

Iventichev's only loss of the dual-meet season had been to Severn senior John Maconi a couple of weeks ago. Not only did Iventichev win in 16:35, but he also defeated every A Conference runner except for Jackson and Wetzel (16:22).

"I did not expect to win. I didn't even expect top 10," Iventichev said. "To me, it's more meaningful to come in third in the whole race. [The A Conference runners] are good, and I'm trying to get better."

The team results were a bit more routine. The Dons, who have captured titles at three invitationals this season, capped an undefeated season by scoring 49 points for the crown.

Junior Ryan Stasiowski (fourth place in 16:38), senior Josh Kraft (seventh, 16:52), junior Greg Jubb (eighth, 16:53), junior Matt Kaplan (13th, 17:10) and senior Tyler Krizan(17th, 17:22) helped Loyola to a 39-point margin of victory over runner-up and No. 7 Mount St. Joseph.

Severn's win was a four-year process. Coach David Santa said after former coach Jeff Hardy left during the 2001 season, the freshmen on the team begged Santa, an assistant coach back then, to stay on board and promised him a championship.

On Wednesday, Maconi (second, 17:04), senior Jeremy Burns (38th, 18:00), sophomore Will Smith (56th, 18:29), junior Alex Fu (63rd, 18:35) and junior Dylan McNamara (74th, 19:07) made that pledge stand with 242 points.


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