Bull Run Preview: A Guide to All Eight Varsity Races!

Photo by John Roemer

We've got your one-stop shop for everything 2019 Bull Run! Find race previews for all eight varsity races, plus top venue times of the decade, last year's coverage and this year's virtual meets!

Elite Races

Kyle Lund and the Oakdale boys look like early 2A state favorites after defeating Liberty twice so far this year. (Photo by Matthew Hazdic)

Boys Runners to Watch: Two of the state's top three runners (by 5K season best) will meet on Saturday. Calvert Hall's Owen Johnson ran 15:46 on the opening weekend at PTXC, while Bullis' Nick Karayianis has run 15:42 and 15:41 while winning each of his first two races this fall. Could it be a private school state meet preview?

Others to watch include top 3A contenders Anish Nanjappa (15:00 win at Seahawk earlier this year) and Bel Air's Caleb Zylka, last year's 3A state runner-up. South River's Sam Keeny, Oakdale's Kyle Lund and Williamsport's Zane Chalker could all be in the mix on Saturday.

Boys Teams to Watch: The target will fall squarely on the backs of the Severna Park boys, who dominated at both the Seahawk Invitational and White Clay Creek Classic this year. The River Hill boys challenged them the most at Seahawk - can anybody else get close? Perhaps the Calvert Hall boys, who are currently ranked as the top private school team in the state and one of the top five squads overall.

Both Severna Park and River Hill are the top-ranked teams in their respective classifications. Could Dulaney, fresh off a win on their home course at the Barnhart Invitational, make things interesting? Could Towson or Chopticon close the gap on the River Hill boys? The race also features the top 2A (Oakdale) and 1A (Williamsport) schools, both of whom have impressed so far this fall.

The Whitman girls finished third at Oatlands last weekend. How close are they to 4A powerhouses Howard, Severna Park and Broadneck? (Photo by Brandon Miles)

Girls Runners to Watch: Juliette Whittaker has yet to lose to a fellow Maryland runner so far in her sophomore season. If there's a field all year that could catch her, it could be this one. Northern's Oakley Olson ran with Whittaker for awhile at the Seahawk Invitational. There are plenty of 4A runners to watch, as well; Mollie Fenn and Anna Janke from Broadneck, plus the Howard and Severna Park girls. The top runners from last week's Barnhart Invitational, Hereford's Caroline Benda and Towson's Madeline Till, will also be contenders. Their matchup against Dulaney's Marissa Dailey and Anna Albergo can give more clarity to the Baltimore County scene as well.

Girls Teams to Watch: Speaking of those three Anne Arundel County teams, they will all toe the line for the first time against each other all season. Howard won the first heavyweight matchup; cross country newcomers Nimrit Ahuja and Ella Werdell have elevated the Lions to the top spot in our most recent team rankings. Both Broadneck and Severna Park are coming off wins of their own last week.

There are plenty of exciting team battles to watch between classifications rivals. Can the Bel Air girls take down Northern for the second straight year at Bull Run? How could Hereford and Towson fit into the 3A girls mix? How close is Whitman to the other top 4A teams? Are the Middletown girls one of the top 2A teams in the state?

Large School Races

After breaking 16 minutes for the first time last Saturday, what does Springbrook's Surafel Mengist have in store for an encore? (Photo by John Roemer)

Boys Runners to Watch: Tanner Piotrowski picked up his first major cross country win at last week's Howard County Invitational. Broadneck's Spencer Tate finished third in last week's race and has had success at Hereford's course in the past couple of years (12th and 10th as a sophomore and junior). It will also be interesting to see how their performances stack up against those of Sam Keeny and the Severna Park boys (all Anne Arundel County runners).

Other contenders include Springbrook's Surafel Mengist, who went sub-16:00 for the first time at Barnhart last weekend, and Howard's Kendall Phillips. The matchup between the Wedding brothers from Chopticon and North Point's Joshua Doughty could set the table for both the SMAC Championships and 3A state meet later this season.

Boys Teams to Watch: Arundel (fourth, 202 points), Howard (seventh, 234) and Chopticon (tenth, 257) finished fairly close together at the Seahawk Invitational two weeks ago and could be the three top teams in the large school boys race. Don't look past Broadneck or Springbrook, either, who both had good showings last weekend. The Wootton boys could be a wild card as one of the few teams in the state who haven't raced so far this year.

Arundel's Niya Torres has quickly become one of the top runners in the state this year, as shown by her win last weekend at the Howard County Invitational. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Girls Runners to Watch: Arundel's Niya Torres will no longer be able to fly under the radar entering a race; she followed up her breakout Seahawk Invitational performance by winning last week's Howard County Invitational. Annapolis' Katie Ericson, Chopticon's Blair Fowler and River Hill's Chloe McGeehan could all be in the mix as well.

Two of last year's top freshmen, Great Mills' Cooper Brotherton and Gaithersburg's Devon Derrenbacher, will get to return to Hereford after outstanding races last fall as freshmen. And Flowers' Javon Watts, coming off her fourth consecutive win at the Prince George's County Invitational, could also be in the mix as she tries to establish herself against some of the top runners in the state.

Girls Teams to Watch: The South River girls have been fine this year despite missing last year's top runner, Bronwyn Patterson. Can they keep themselves in contention in Anne Arundel County and 4A East against the state's powerhouse teams? The always-deep Wootton girls will be making their season debut, and the Flowers girls are rising quickly in our weekly team rankings. All three teams can make cases as contenders for a top five spot at the 4A state meet this year with solid showings on Saturday.

Don't forget about the James Madison (Virginia) girls, who finished seventh in Virginia's highest classification last season. The matchup between Centennial and River Hill will be one to watch going forward as both could be contenders for the 3A East regional title this year.

Medium School Races

Can Conor McGirr help the Huntingtown boys contend in the SMAC and possibly a top five spot at the 3A state meet this year? (Photo by Keeley Olson)

Boys Runners to Watch: 3A contenders Tamrat Snyder (16:12 5K at Rebel Invitational) and Conor McGirr (15:42 3 mile at Seahawk Invitational) will get to see how they stack up at Hereford this year. Oakland Mills junior Baidy Ba carried his sophomore track success onto the course, as evident by his fourth-place finish at the Howard County Invitational last weekend. Ba and North Harford's William Tikiob are two of the state's top 2A runners as well.

Other potential contenders include Long Reach's Cameron Hindle, South Hagerstown's Elom Akakpo and the Poolesville duo of Christopher Stallard and Sam Bodmer.

Boys Teams to Watch: The C. Milton Wright boys put three boys under 17:40 at the William and Mary Invitational last weekend, and get to match up against fellow 3A rivals Huntingtown (led by McGirr and Thomas Foulkes) and Atholton (eighth at the Howard County Invitational).

After finishing third at the Howard County Invitational, the Atholton girls look like 3A East regional favorites. They will get to go up against many of their 3A rivals in the medium school girls race this Saturday. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Girls Runners to Watch: Atholton's Aanchal Kasargod finished fifth at the Howard County Invitational last weekend. After a sophomore track season during which she won a 3A East regional title, Kasargod has emerged as a leader for the Raiders and one of the top runners in 3A. Fellow 3A competitors Alexis Whitehorn-Coriz and Rubie Goffena make this race a good preview for the 3A state meet.

There's even more star power in this race, however. The Wright duo of Lindsay Perry and two-time state champion Haley Cummins could very well go 1-2 in Saturday's race. And Winters Mill's Kathryn Hopkins is coming off a win at the Rebel Invitational last weekend and could be the 2A state favorite.

Girls Teams to Watch: Plenty of potential 3A contenders in this race. Kasargod and the Atholton girls finished third at the Howard County Invitational last weekend. The Wright girls will always be in the running with two of the top runners in the race. The Edgewood girls are a fifth runner away from being contenders on Saturday as well. And the North Hagerstown girls came within 13 points of winning the Rebel Invitational last weekend.

Small School Races

You won't find two schools further apart than Cambridge-South Dorchester and Southern Garrett. John Condon and the Vikings will meet with the Rams - and other 1A schools - for an early state meet preview on Saturday. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Boys Runners to Watch: Annapolis Area Christian's Hunter Steinau broke out at last weekend's Barnhart Invitational with a 16:23 5K personal best. Saturday's small school race will feature a matchup between some of the top MIAA runners in the state including Gilman's Beck Wittstadt (16:20 5K at Ben Bloser), Loyola's Hayden Roberts (16:38 5K at Barnhart), and St. Paul's Zach Walker (16:22 5K at Spiked Shoe).

This field goes even deeper, too. The Harford Tech trio of Kevin Baranoski and Zachary and Daron Taylor will all be contenders in their invitational season debut. There will be plenty of other 2A contenders as well including Liberty's Woodrow Kashima, Fallston's Giles Daly and South Carroll's John Kettula.

Boys Teams to Watch: The Liberty boys are still one of the top ten teams in our week two rankings, and right up there with Oakdale in terms of 2A squads. Can the Harford Tech boys close the gap behind their top trio?

Plenty of other interesting matchups remain, including 1A squads Cambridge-South Dorchester, Southern Garrett, Pikesville and Smithsburg. The Loyola and Gilman boys will also provide an early MIAA preview.

Maryvale Prep's Rachel Thomas finished second in the small school girls race at last year's Bull Run Invitational. (Photo by John Roemer)

Girls Runners to Watch: Key School's Zoe Benitez won her first race of the season at the Spiked Shoe Invitational. Maryvale Prep's Rachel Thomas and Roland Park's Alayna Gibson fill out an interesting IAAM group in Saturday's small school race.

The last time Sarah Condon set foot on Hereford's course at Bull Run she ran away with the 1A state title. Will she repeat that performance on Saturday? South Carroll's Grace Siehler has impressed (wins at Brunswick and Hood College) in her return to the cross country course, and the Liberty girls could place four runners in the top ten.

Girls Teams to Watch: Boonsboro is coming off a close victory over the 1A favorites from Brunswick at the Rebel Invitational. Can the Warriors work their way into state contention once again, even after moving up a classification this year? They'll have a chance to go up against two of the top 2A schools in the state in Liberty and South Carroll.