Patterson Mill senior Ashley Betz is back to defend her state title from a year ago when she won the 1A girls race in a time of 20:18 at Hereford. Betz is rounding into form after winning the 1A East Regional over Bayside Conference runner-up Sarah Condon of Cambridge-South Dorchester last week in a 3 mile time of 19:44.
Condon as well as Sparrow Point sophomore Macy Gerbes expect to be Betz's top challengers to dethrone her. Gerbes has the fastest 5K performance of the season among all 1A runners from a top 10 effort of 20:08 at the Baltimore County Championships. Gerbes also won a state title indoors in the 3200 and has a 11:39 PR. Condon has made huge improvements from last year to become one of the top cross country runners this fall on the Maryland Eastern Shore running PR's of 19:24 at 3 miles and 20:28 at 5K.
A darkhorse in the race to watch is the 1A West Regional champion Bailee Upole who seems to have really improved over the last half of the season to run a 5K PR of 21:03 on a very challenging and hilly Alleghany College course.
Possibly a changing of the guard in 1A as the Boonsboro girls have had such a dominant reign over the small schools in recent years, but they were knocked off last week by the Brunswick girls in the 1A West Regional. Only 1 point separated the two teams at regionals though, so expect another close battle at the state meet and Boonsboro attempting to get back on top. Boonsboro is the only squad with 5 girls who have broken 21 minutes for 3 miles this season.
The third place spot is up for grabs with several teams capable of earning a spot in the awards ceremony between Northern Garrett
, Cambridge-South Dorchester
, and Bohemia Manor
. Northern Garrett was only 9 points behind Boonsboro and 10 points behind Brunswick at the 1A West Regional, so also possible for them to clip one of those teams at the state meet.
Virtual meet projections and pre-meet rankings for the 1A girls race heading into this weekend's MPSSAA State Cross Country Championships at Hereford High School.