It was the meet that coaches across the state had been preparing their teams for since August 15, and even though the meet was pushed back to the season halfway-mark, it still served as somewhat of a "kick-off" for the season. Many teams and athletes exposed what they had been holding back, as this was the first real chance for them to compete against a good chunk of the competition they will see when the state championships roll around. The following teams/athletes made some big moves on the field Saturday to move up in competition.
1. Kristen Malloy (Sophomore, Hereford) - 18:40 On top of becoming one of just a handful of girls to break 19:00 on the nationally renowned course, Malloy broke an already-insane course record set by Karen Pulliam in 2000 by an incredible 12 seconds. Finishing the race 6 seconds faster than her time at the Barnhardt Invitational, there may be something to be said for the fact that it was her own course. But regardless, Malloy's performance puts her way out of everyone else's league Stepping back to take her run into perspective, it certainly hints that she may become one of the greatest cross country runners to compete in the state of Maryland. Watch out Footlocker...
2. Robert Wetzel (Senior, Archibishop Spalding) - 16:03Running the same time Steven Duplinsky (GPS) logged in the elite race last year, Robert Wetzel is now undoubtedly the second-best runner in the state, taking senior Andrew Revelle (Atholton) by 20 seconds. 3 seconds faster and Wetzel would have snatched that course record Matthew Centrowitz (Broadneck) tied as the conclusion of the 2005 season. It only continues the junior's trend of improvement thus far this season. Provided the trend continues, Centrowitz may find a friend to run with as the season progresses.
3. Gaithersburg Boys Taking down the formally No. 1 ranked Loyola-Blakefield (MDRUNNERS) by 13 points, Gaithersburg proved they are greatly improved from last season's 7th place finish at the Montgomery County Championships. Sam Boimov lead a tight 1-6 pack, which accumulated a gap of just 24 seconds between them.
4. Wilde Lake Boys Running better than any other boys team all day, and doing so in the medium schools race establishes Wilde Lake as second only to Quince Orchard in the state. Although the Howard County team lost the 2005 3A East Region Champion Travis Boccher to graduation, they still managed to place 4 boys in the top 9 on Saturday, all with sub 17:30 times.
5. Severna Park Girls Finally combining their two split-varsity teams into one, the team that was formally ranked behind Dulaney was able to beat them by 58 points. Sophomore Kelsey Hill, who won the Howard County Invitational and placed 3rd at the South Carroll Invitational, clocked the 3rd fastest time of the day. Junior Liya Kasimova, who placed 2nd at the Knights Invitational was half a minute back, running the 8th fastest time of the day. The two team leaders were followed by a pack of 2 and a pack of 3 to get all 7 girls across the line in under 22:00.
6. Halsey Sinclair (Senior, Montomery Blair) - 19:25 For an athlete who is often considered perhaps less prestigious than she was as a freshman and sophomore, the 2004 4A State Champion proved Saturday that "she's still got it." Running her best time ever at Hereford and beating her 2003 and 2004 state championship times of 19:36 and and 19:52, the race was a phenomenal effort by Sinclair.
7. Graham Bazell (Sophomore, Atholton) - 16:37 The sophomore shook off the early-season cobwebs to get the closest he's ever been to his teammate, Andrew Revelle. He also beat several runners he lost to in the two invitationals he has already run to take the 4th fastest time of the day.
8. Angeli Sivaraman (Senior, Centennial) - 19:51 This meet may have been the precursor to a breakout season, who finished 23rd overall at the State Championships last fall. Improving on that time by 27 seconds Saturday, she took the 6th fastest time of the day.
9. Richard Montgomery Girls Although none of the Montgomery County teams ranked ahead of them competed at Bull Run, the team had a great showing Saturday - finishing among the top five schools altogether. Their top four is fortress, placing within 9th - 14th in the large schools race, and boasting a gap of only 20 seconds (40 seconds for top five)
10. Elias Tousley (Senior, B-CC) - 16:41 The senior put over half a minute between his time at states last fall and his time Saturday. In doing so he has moved himself to the other side of teammate Chris Bowie, an accomplishment that should not be overlooked. His time was the 6th best of Saturday.