2019 Girls Preseason XC Power Rankings: #3 Howard

Photo by Brandon Miles

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!

3. Howard High School Lions (Ellicott City, MD)

Photo by Craig Amoss

County: Howard (1st) Region: 4A East (2nd)

Top Seven Returners:

1. Amanda Eliker (senior): 19:14 5K, 5:02 1600, 11:05 3200

2. Sara Kindbom (junior): 19:18 5K, 5:19 1600, 11:28 3200

3. Emily Gorny (senior): 19:43 5K, 5:22 1600, 11:35 3200

4. Madison Radford (senior): 20:21 5K, 5:47 1600, 11:57 3200

5. Natalie McCourt (sophomore): 21:56 5K, 2:48 800, 5:53 3200

6. Leopoldine Valancogne (junior): 22:30 5K, 6:02 1600

7. Jasmine Wilson (sophomore): 23:03 5K, 5:47 1600, 12:01 3200

Others to Watch:

Lyna Beraich (sophomore): 2:27 800, 5:33 1600

Nimrit Ahuja (sophomore): 2:20 800, 5:36 1600

Hannah Schwab (sophomore): 5:56 1600, 12:41 3200

The Howard girls emerged as one of the top teams in the state last season, blowing through the county and regional championships and finishing as 4A state runners-up to Severna Park in November. It was their third podium finish at the state meet in school history (they won back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007). Their fantastic trio is back in 2019 - could they challenge the Falcons for this year's state title?

Watch the Howard girls defend their home course at last week's four-team scrimmage.

Leading the way for the Lions is senior Amanda Eliker (above), who shined both on the course and on the track (her 3200 and 1600 times were third and sixth, respectively, in Maryland this past spring). Eliker, Sara Kindbom and Emily Gorny all finished within the top 15 at the state meet in November. Along with Madison Radford, the Lions are one of just four teams in the state with four returning runners having clocked sub-12:00 3200s last spring.

We got a preview of the Lions' 2019 squad on Friday when they hosted Northern, Middletown and Century for a scrimmage. The biggest performance came from sophomore Nimrit Ahuja who finished second on the team and third overall. Ahuja did not run cross country as a freshman but clocked a 2:20 800 on the track and could round out what could be a championship-caliber squad for Howard.