Top Runners and Matchups to Watch This Weekend

Brandon Lewis (front, number 1417) and Parkdale's Jafar Hussen (left, number 1860) will get a shot at a rematch at this weekend's Prince George's County Invitational. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Barnhart Invitational (Dulaney High School)

Maryland's top 5K performer from week one, Bullis' Nick Karayianis, will get a chance to follow it up with a win on the traditionally fast course at Dulaney High School. Springbrook's Surafel Mengist will be making his season invitational debut coming off his junior track season during which he clocked a 9:29 3200.

This weekend's meet could shine some light upon this year's Baltimore County field. Dulaney's Anna Albergo was the second-fastest freshman at last year's 4A state meet, where she finished 11th. Towson's Madeline Till is coming off a stellar track season when she finished second at the 3A state meet in both the 1600 and the 3200. And the Hereford Bulls bring back Piper Lentz and Caroline Benda, both of whom ran under 20 minutes in the 5K last fall.

Watch Grace Siehler return to the course with a win at the Brunswick Invitational!

Hood College Invitational (Hood College)

In-state contenders at Saturday's Hood College Invitational could include South Carroll's John Kettula (fourth at the Brunswick Invitational) and Linganore's Carson Buck (sixth at the 3A state meet last fall). John Handley's (VA) Grayson Westfall could also compete for the individual title. And don't count out any of the Montgomery Blair boys who looked strong in their dual meet victory over Northwest earlier this week.

Clarksburg's Avery Jackson finished fourth at this meet last season and clocked a season-best 19:16 5K at the Great American Cross Country Festival. She'll get an early-season opportunity to go against Montgomery County rival Devon Derrenbacher, Gaithersburg's star sophomore who finished 14th at the state meet last year. They could both wind up chasing the South Carroll duo of Grace Siehler (coming off a win at the Brunswick Invitational) and Danielle Firlie (making her season debut - finished seventh at the 2A state meet last season).

Howard County Invitational (Centennial High School)

Anish Nanjappa and the River Hill boys are scheduled to run after he clocked a 15:00 three mile to open up his 2019 season. Both South River and Arundel are scheduled, meaning we could see another head-to-head matchup between Sam Keeny (second at the Seahawk Invitational) and Tanner Piotrowski (third). They will face each other at counties, regionals and (most likely) states this year. Also scheduled to compete are the Oakdale boys who went 1-3 at the Brunswick Invitational and are led by senior Kyle Lund, who will get a chance to make his case as the top runner in the state.

On the girls side we could see the season debut for the Broadneck duo of Mollie Fenn and Anna Janke. Both finished in the top ten at last year's 4A state meet and Fenn won her first state title in the 3200 last spring as a freshman. Leonardtown's Nelle Ray did not run last week at the Seahawk Invitational but could be a contender if she competes this weekend. And Arundel's Niya Torres (fifth at the Seahawk Invitational) looks to follow up her breakout performance.

Oatlands Invitational (Oatlands Plantation - Leesburg, VA)

The Virginia mega-meet regularly draws some of the top teams from surrounding states, and Maryland is no exception. The Richard Montgomery duo of Charlotte Turesson and Garrett Suhr are coming off comfortable wins at the Interstate Classic last week and could both be in contention for the individual title - and the top overall 5K time in Maryland - in Leesburg on Saturday.

Other Maryland runners to watch include Juliette Whittaker, fresh off her 17:23 state-leading three mile performance at the Seahawk Invitational last weekend. Urbana's Sara Jarman and the Walter Johnson duo of Ella Gaul and Jenna Goldberg could also contend for a medal at this weekend's race.

Prince George's County Invitational (Fort Washington Park)

Saturday's meet will feature the second matchup in as many weeks for PG County rivals Brandon Lewis (Roosevelt) and Jafar Hussen (Parkdale). Hussen owned the matchup last year, but Lewis came out on top at last week's Spiked Shoe Invitational. Kent Island's Finn Walsh (fourth at the Spiked Shoe Invitational) might be the overall favorite heading into Saturday's race.

Javon Watts and the Flowers girls were impressive at the Spiked Shoe Invitational last weekend, and Watts has a chance to win her fourth PG County Invitational title in four years as a Jaguar.

Watch last year's Montgomery County championship 1600 when Snyder and Fantaw battled down the home stretch.

Rebel Invitational (South Hagerstown High School)

This Saturday could see the healthy return to the cross country course for Damascus' Tamrat Snyder, who is coming off a track season during which he clocked a 4:18 1600 to beat Kyle Lund at the 2A West regional meet. The Northwood boys will also be making their unofficial invitational season debuts (they ran the Woodward Relays last weekend) - watch senior Ayalew Fantaw in particular. Williamsport's Zane Chalker could also be in the mix after winning the small school division at last week's Brunswick Invitational.

The girls race will feature Winters Mill junior Kathryn Hopkins (third at last year's 2A state meet) and North Hagerstown's Phoebe Meehan, who placed second at the 3A West regional meet last fall. Middletown freshman Erin McQuitty clocked the fastest freshman three mile time in the state at the Seahawk Invitational last season and could find herself in the mix as well.

William and Mary Invitational (College of William and Mary - Williamsburg, VA)

C. Milton Wright and Holy Cross will be traveling down to Williamsburg this weekend. It will mark the season debut for Wright seniors Haley Cummins and Lindsay Perry, one of the top duos in the state.