Southern Garrett's Declan Horner finished second to Will Merritt in the small school race last fall, but was handily the top runner in the division at this year's Interstate Classic. Only Woodrow Wilson's Chris Barbera ran faster than him on Saturday. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
It was a cold and wet start to the 2017 cross country season on Saturday, but that does not mean there were not plenty of notable performances around the state. These were the biggest headlines from the Interstate Classic at Clear Spring High School.
Unger Makes Richard Montgomery A State Title Dark Horse
Richard Montgomery had two strong returnees from last fall in senior Joachim El-Masry and sophomore Garrett Suhr, but the addition of sub-4:20 miler Mark Unger gives them one of the most formidable trios in Maryland. An injury kept Unger from running last fall and last winter, but he came back in a big way during the 2017 outdoor season by running 4:19.72 in the 1600. The Rockets took three out of the top six spots in the large school division on Saturday, led by Mark Unger in third place. They may need some more depth to test perennial powerhouses Dulaney and Severna Park but their outstanding top three should allow them to compete with any team on any given day.
Horner, Southern Garrett May Be 1A Title Favorites
After being stuck in the shadow of fellow 1A runner Will Merritt last year, Southern Garrett senior Declan Horner is ready to emerge as one of the biggest names in the state. He finished first in the small school division at the Interstate Classic (second overall) and led the Rams to a convincing victory. After finishing second at last year's 1A state championships it looks like their depth has improved thanks to a pair of younger brothers (Brady Horner and Josiah Hebb, younger brother of Ryan Hebb). Add that to one of the top runners in the state and Southern Garrett could be the 1A favorite heading into November.
Boonsboro Girls Debut Strong Against Berkeley Springs
The girls small school race saw a fantastic matchup between Boonsboro and West Virginia's Berkeley Springs. In the end, Berkeley Springs pulled out a win by five points, and it would have been even closer if Ainsley Plumadore - who ran in the JV race - had run in the varsity race. Boonsboro's upperclassman returnees looked strong, with Camryn Harper, Maggie Luzier and Makenna Luzier all finishing in the top seven in the small school division. They will be out to win their third straight 1A state title this fall.
Freshmen Help Lift Clarksburg To Team Title
The girls large school team title was also decided by five points as Clarksburg overcame Richard Montgomery's 1-2 finish to take home the trophy. Two of their top four finishers were freshmen (Joelle Sadd, fifth and Jahmei Wyatt, 13th) and their top finisher, Avery Jackson, is just a sophomore. The youth movement in Clarksburg could have the Coyotes back at the 4A state championships for the first time since 2014.