Hereford High's Jon Luckin and Julian Rivera leading… (Photo by Brendan Cavanaugh,…)
There was a little bit of everything in Saturday's cross country state championship meet at Hereford.
Hannah Oneda of Winters Mill won her race in record time. The Winters Mill boys captured a third straight state championship. Century's girls edged South Carroll by one point to take the Class 2A title.
And Hereford's Kevin Collins helped punctuate a second straight 3A sweep by the Bulls' boys and girls — despite running most of his race with only one shoe.
Collins knew his Bulls would have a battle on their hands with Linganore, and he was faced with a tough decision right away.
The Hereford junior's right shoe had come almost completely off after another runner stepped on him, but Collins feared stopping to fix it might cost valuable time and possible valuable places.
So Collins threw off the shoe and ran almost the entire three-mile race with just one. It was a gutsy move, but the right one as No. 4 Hereford (72 points) edged Linganore (75) to win the state title.
"It freaked me out [at first]," Collins said. "I'm still happy what I did with one shoe — and what we did as a team."
Collins finished 18th overall, edging teammate Kevin Payne by 2.7 seconds, and making a late push that gave the Bulls a few key points. Jonathan Luckin (fifth) and Julian Rivera (eighth) led the way for Hereford, while Gabe Rivera (22nd) got the fifth spot.
The No. 2 Hereford girls had a much easier time. They finished with 48 points, easily beating No. 6 River Hill (114). Putting five runners in the top 22 went a long way towards giving the Bulls an easy win.
Sara Carter finished second overall, and Erin Causey (fifth) and Meghan Anderson (10th) added top-10 finishes. The Bulls also easily won the Baltimore County and region titles this season.
"There's kind of a pride that we have," Carter said. "It's our course. We've got to defend our course. We have so much team pride."
That first-place finish also continued a remarkable streak, as the Bulls now have finished first or second (in Class 2A or 3A) for 10 consecutive years at the state meet.
In Class 2A, Oneda won her first state title. She clocked a time of 18 minutes, 28.3 seconds, breaking the girls state meet and course record of 18:52 set by Quince Orchard’s Karen Pulliam in 2000.
Oneda just missed out on a state title last year, fading at the end of that race, and she wanted to win with style this time.
"It feels really good," she said. "I wanted to set a course record. I wanted that. I also wanted to break 18:40, and that felt great."
Her strong run helped Winters Mill finish fourth in a Carroll County-loaded race. No. 9 Century finished with 112 points and nipped No. 7 South Carroll by one point to take first. Walkersville (117) was third, and No. 8 Liberty (136) took fifth place.
Century proved it's still a very strong team without Maura Linde, who graduated last spring after being the team's leader the last few years.
Katie Todd (ninth) led the way for the Knights, with help from Beth Lang (14th) and Morgan Fagnant (20th). Century coach Chris Mead said his team's ability on hills proved crucial at Hereford — a course loaded with ups and downs.
"We train for hills," Mead said. "We train for a brutal course. That's pretty much what this is."
The top-ranked Severna Park girls struggled in the Class 4A race. They finished third overall with 114 points, behind winner Bethesda-Chevy Chase (103) and Whitman (111). No. 4 Dulaney was fourth with 117. The No. 2 Severna Park boys took second in Class 4A with 101 points as Walter Johnson (71) won the race.
The No. 3 Winters Mill boys wrapped up their third consecutive title with another solid pack performance for coach Dan Replogle.
The Falcons have been one of the area's most consistent teams all season and put three runners in the top 10 to finish with 61 points and easily beat Williamsport (110) and Poolesville (121).
Weston Carvalho paced Winters Mill with his third-place finish. Zach Hopkins took fifth and Reilly Cox was ninth. That balance proved too much for the other Class 2A schools. Carvalho is a junior, but the rest of the top five finishers were in their last year.
"It's kind of a tribute to our seniors," Replogle said. "We had five seniors, and they all came through."