Carroll County Girls XC Preview

Photo by John Roemer

This year's Carroll County girls championship race will be unique in that the top four runners from last year's race - and seven of the top ten finishers - will likely be back in 2019. Winters Mill rising junior Kathryn Hopkins finished second last season and followed it up with a third-place effort at the 2A state championships. She posted similar track times to individual champion Robie Goffena (Hopkins ran an 11:35 3200 to Goffena' 11:29), and the two could be on a collision course for another meeting at this year's county meet.

Carroll County Girls Preview: By The Numbers

Photo by John Roemer

Any conversation about the individual favorite heading into 2019, however, starts with Goffena, the defending champion (by 45 seconds). One of the top freshman runners in the state last fall, Goffena's 19:29 effort at last year's 3A state meet was the fastest by a freshman in any classification (only Northern's Sydney Yankanich and Broadneck's Mollie Fenn cracked 20 minutes). Goffena enters 2019 as not only the county favorite, but one of the contenders for the 3A state title.

Photo by Lisa McArthur

It seems incredible for a county with only seven schools, but no team has won back-to-back girls titles this decade. The last team to accomplish the feat were the Century girls in 2009 and 2010. After winning last year's title by a slim margin over Westminster, the South Carroll girls look poised to end that trend. Led by rising junior Danielle Firlie, who ran the fastest 1600 time in the county this spring, the Cavaliers return their top six girls from last year (based on 5K season best).

Photo by Lisa McArthur

The Westminster girls came within three points of taking down South Carroll at last October's county championships. They come into 2019 minus their top two runners from last season, but still fare well in the team composite rankings alongside Liberty and Century.

Photo by Craig Amoss

The Century girls might have the strongest chance at blocking a South Carroll repeat in 2019, and rising junior Elise Greenwald will likely lead the charge. She placed 17th at the 2A State Championships last November, and her time of 21:15 was good for fourth among all Carroll County runners across classifications.

Photo by Sam Hazdic

A couple more names to look out for in 2019: Manchester Valley's Taylor Shank (above) and Century's Hope Callaway. Neither ran cross country as freshmen in 2018, but clocked the second and third fastest 1600 times among county freshmen in the spring, respectively. If they do pop up on the course this fall, they could alter the outlook of the girls race.