Gunpowder Falls Invitational Recap: Ray, Leonardtown Girls Gaining Serious Momentum

Photo by John Roemer

The annual Gunpowder Falls Invitational is one of the last invitational meets in the state before county and conference championships kick off in the latter half of October. For many teams, it is the last chance to see how they stack up with other teams that they might not see again until next fall. Here were the top moments from Saturday's Gunpowder Invitational.

Nelle Ray And The Leonardtown Girls Are Ready For October

Leonardtown's Nelle Ray has been one of the top freshmen in Maryland this season, a statement that had already been enforced by her victory in the freshman race at the DCXC Invitational. But her breakout performance on Saturday took her to new heights. Ray cracked the 19-minute barrier for the first time, running away from Broadneck's Janke sisters by an impressive 26 seconds. Not only that, but the rest of the Leonardtown squad came to run as well, as they finished third in the team battle. Led by a freshman and with just two seniors among their top seven, the Leonardtown girls could be looking at a very bright future.

The MIAA Is Very Tight At The Top

After Broadneck and Dulaney, the next three teams in the boys race were from the MIAA: Mount St. Joe's, Gilman and Calvert Hall (separated by just 30 points). After the Gaels dominated at the conference championships last season, both Gilman and Calvert Hall have closed the gap on the two-time defending trophy winners. And Saturday's race didn't even feature Loyola or McDonogh, the first- and third-ranked teams on the current MIAA team scores list. This year's field features some of the deepest group of teams in recent years and should make for some drama come race day.

Janke Sisters Will Make Broadneck A Force In Championship Season

The aforementioned Janke sisters - senior Olivia and sophomore Anna - have arguably been the top additions to any team in Maryland this season. A week after going 1-2 at the Wolverine Run and nearly leading the Bruins to a win over Wootton, they finished second and third as Broadneck took down the defending 2A state champs from Hereford. Make no mistake: the road to the state title still runs straight through the four-time defending winners from Walter Johnson. Severna Park and South River also await the Bruins at every meet in the postseason. But behind their star duo up front the Broadneck girls have enough firepower to hang with just about anyone.