2019 Girls Preseason XC Power Rankings: #5 Bel Air

Photo by Craig Amoss

Preseason Power Rankings Daily Schedule

Sunday, August 25th - Tuesday, September 3rd: Girls 1-10 (one a day)

Wednesday, September 4th: Boys Classification/Private School (top 15 each)

Thursday, September 5th: Girls Classification/Private School (top 15 each)

Our 2019 preseason XC power rankings continue with the top ten girls teams. These rankings are subjective and based on last year's performances (season bests, plus performances at big meets like conferences and states), track performances, program depth and reputation (how certain programs stay strong year after year).

We will rank the top 50 boys and girls teams heading into the season, then provide weekly top 25 ranking updates!

Top seven returners are based on last year's 5K or three mile season bests. Other runners to watch include those with standout track performances (relative to the rest of the team), unless those runners have run multiple track seasons without running cross country - we don't want to assume they will be running cross country in the fall. Freshmen or rookies who did not run cross country but did run track are usually included.

Use these rankings to preview your rival teams, debate your friends, and lace up those shoes and prove us wrong about your team!

5. Bel Air High School Bobcats (Bel Air, MD)

Photo by Craig Amoss

Conference: UCBAC (1st) Region: 3A North (1st)

Top Seven Returners:

1. Mackenzie Morrison (sophomore): 18:24 3M, 5:19 1600, 11:25 3200

2. Rebekah Cross (senior): 18:26 3M, 5:46 1600, 12:07 3200

3. Shelby Hay (senior): 18:51 3M, 2:38 800, 5:57 1600

4. Elizabeth Pickett (sophomore): 18:53 3M, 5:13 1600, 11:27 3200

5. Riley McDermott (senior): 18:59 3M, 5:27 1600, 12:24 3200

6. Maya Feick (junior): 20:25 3M, 2:35 800, 5:42 1600

7. Gabriella Wenham (sophomore): 20:37 3M, 5:34 1600, 12:38 3200

Others to Watch:

Kylie Mika (junior): 20:41 3M, 6:17 1600, 13:19 3200

Emilie Hancock (sophomore): 20:41 3M, 2:43 800, 5:55 1600

Sarah Phillips (junior): 21:08 3M, 2:42 800, 5:55 1600

Morgan Loewe (sophomore): 5:20 1600, 11:44 3200

Maryjane Edwards (sophomore): 5:50 1600, 13:04 3200

In 2014, the Bel Air girls finished fifth at the 3A North regionals and did not qualify for the state meet as a team. They made it in 2015, finishing 17th at the 4A State championships. Since 2015, they have finished 17th, 17th, 7th and... second. Last year was a big one for the Bobcats, as they gave the Northern-Calvert girls possibly their biggest challenge during their current three-year state championship streak.

Even better news for Bel Air is that most of that team from last season will be back in 2019. It's a blend of youth (sophomores Elizabeth Pickett (above, back) and Mackenzie Morrison) and experience (seniors Shelby Hall, Rebekah Cross (above, front) and Riley McDermott). The Bobcats have 11 returning runners who broke six minutes in the 1600 last spring, including sophomore Morgan Loewe. As a freshman she ran 2:27/5:20/11:44, and although she did not run cross country as a freshman, she could give the team a huge boost if she does as a sophomore.

Watch the Bel Air girls defeat Northern in the medium school race at last year's Bull Run Invitational.

Even without Loewe, their returning top five is one of the best in the state, as all five ran under 19 minutes for three miles last season. They've bookended the decade with some of their best teams in school history (runners-up in 2009, 2010 and 2018) and look to be in the running once again for a state title and potentially end Northern's winning streak.