Severna Park removed all of the suspense from Thursday's Anne Arundel County cross country championships.
Ashley Hayes won as the top-ranked Severna Park girls took four of the first five spots and captured a third consecutive team title. Sam Pershall finished first overall for the No. 2 Falcons' boys team, which grabbed five of the top 10 places and completed the sweep on a windy afternoon at Arundel.
Severna Park's girls finished with 30 points to beat No. 7 Broadneck (52). The Falcons now have won the county title 25 of the last 29 years.
The boys had an easier time, finishing with 32 points, far ahead of No. 10 Chesapeake (63) and No. 7 Annapolis (66). It was the Severna Park boys' fourth win in the last five years and the school's third sweep in five years.
Hayes used a late kick to edge out teammate Michelle Nelson and win the race in 19 minutes, 59.87 seconds. Nelson (20:01.68) was almost even with her teammate until Hayes pulled ahead by just enough heading to the finish line.
Jodie Clouser (third), Maddie Clouser (fifth) and Anna Bollino (20th) also scored for the Falcons, who were easy to spot in the bright pink uniforms they wear to certain invitational meets. Severna Park coach Ed Purpura said that Hayes, Nelson and the Clouser sisters, all seniors, always impress him with how hard they work.
"It's been great to be working with such wonderful girls," Purpura said. "They want what's best for the team. They've been right on the whole time."
Hayes said that group wanted to make sure its final county championship race would be one to remember. Now, the Falcons are hoping for bigger things at the upcoming region and state meets.
"Everyone's really happy with their performance," Hayes said. "It's going to be a good bus ride home."
The boys also used strong efforts from several runners. Pershall came on late to win in 16:31.04, edging out Hale Bullen of Annapolis (16:38.86).
Pershall pushed hard in the final part of the race to pull away from Bullen. Pershall fell at the finish line but didn't seem to mind considering his team won.
"Grass never tasted so good," he said with a smile.
The pack running style worked nicely for the Falcons as Ryan Forsyth (fifth), Ben Cambon (seventh), Nathan Roe (ninth) and Jimmy Shipley (10th) rounded out the top five. Rhys Burgett finished in 11th place, just over four seconds behind Shipley, but his score didn't count as Falcons already had five runners finish.
Anne Arundel County Championships
Team scores (top 5): 1. Severna Park, 32; 2. Chesapeake, 63; 3. Annapolis, 66; 4. Broadneck, 111; 5. South River, 118.
Individuals (top 10): 1. Pershall (SPK), 16:31.04; 2. Bullen (ANN), 16:38.86; 3. Love (CHE), 16:44.71; 4. Udell (ANN), 16:44.88; 5. Forsyth (SPK), 16:46.39; 6. Zatyko (ARU), 16:48.66; 7. Cambon (SPK), 16:53.79; 8. Tibert (CHE), 16:55.97; 9. Roe (SPK), 17:07.80; 10. Shipley (SPK), 17:11.48.
Team scores (top 5): 1. Severna Park, 30; 2. Broadneck, 52; 3. Annapolis, 107; 4. Chesapeake, 115; 5. South River, 137.
Individuals (top 10): 1. Hayes (SPK), 19:59.87; 2.Nelson (SPK), 20:01.68; 3. J. Clouser (SPK), 20:24.01; 4. Rilee (CHE), 20:27.24; 5. M. Clouser (SPK), 20:43.65; 6. Sullivan (BRD), 20:50.77; 7. Guth (ANN), 20:53.94; 8. Dougherty (BRD), 20:58.62; 9. Vernon (OM), 21:07.94; 10. Cranston (SO), 21:20.95.