Chesapeake Invitational Meet Preview

Key School freshman Storrie Kulynych-Irvin officially put the state on notice last weekend when she ran 18:24 (fourth-fastest on the modern Hereford course) in her small school race victory at Bull Run. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

The Chesapeake Bay Invite, hosted by Chesapeake-AA Highschool, is a course on relatively flat terrain that should produce some very fast sub-16 performances this Saturday, including a close competition between the top runners.

On the boys side, River Hill (ranked 2nd best in Maryland by MileSplit) should be the favorites to win the team title, although the door is definitely open for an 'upset', as they will be resting some of their varsity team. Arundel High School, led by senior Tanner Piotrowski, should put up a strong effort to emerge victorious.  South River, with two sub 16 runners and 4 runners either sub 17 or bordering on 17 flat should be a force at Chesapeake, placing themselves very highly. 
With no other top twenty-five ranked schools competing, there may not be any other major competitors.

Photo by Brandon Miles

Look out for Archbishop Spalding, who have 3 sub-16:45 runners at Howard County Invite, lead by Henry Hardart. Pair that trio with two low-18 runners and the competition for third place can be a very interesting one. DeMatha Catholic will be returning all of their varsity runners from last year, which will potentially feature some sub-18 minute competitors. Huntingtown, led by Conor McGirr with a race below 15:45 at Seahawk may be able to place themselves highly in the team race if all five of their scorers can have quick races. Mount Hebron is definitely a strong contender, with all five of their scorers below the 18-minute barrier, even without Will Jones, who is currently out with an injury. Next up, Sherwood High School can put up a fight with a deep core of runners all below 18 minute 3 miles this season, led by Sean Enright (above). Reservoir High School should be able to make an impact for the first time this season, after a Bull Run performance with only 2 of their original top 5 competing in the race. With those runners returning, they should put up very interesting numbers.

Individually, Tanner Piotrowski has had a very strong start to his senior season, putting up two sub 15:30 performances, and a win at the Howard County Invite, will definitely be a favorite to win coming into the race, especially due to the lack of Anish Nanjappa, who is expected to rest during the meet. Sam Keeny definitely has a strong shot to win, being the runner-up at the Seahawk invitational, placing only behind Nanjappa. Keeny did not race at Howard County Invite.

Other runners who could dip below the 16 minute barrier are: Conor McGirr (Huntingtown), Henry Hardart (Archbishop Spalding), Garrett Gallaher (South River), and Joshua Galindo (River Hill).

On the girls side, there will be a good amount of top 25 ranked teams competing for the title, and an interesting competition for the individual title.

How will Katie Ericson and the Annapolis girls follow up their seventh-place performance at Bull Run? (Photo by John Roemer)

The two teams ranked in the top 25 are South River (ranked 18th) and Arundel (ranked 24th). Considering this, Annapolis High School, Reservoir High School, and River Hill High School are all honorable mentions, and will definitely show up with hopes of upsetting the others.

South River, led by sub-20 runner Lauryn McKenna, has a very deep top 5, with no runners above the 21 minute mark at the Seahawk invitational. Given, the Seahawk Invitational is a fast meet, but those times are not flukes, and will likely be similarly replicated at Chesapeake. There is definitely a strong chance of South River grabbing titles in both the mens and womens races. Next up, we have Arundel, which is led by senior Niya Torres, who currently has a blazing season record of 18:41 from Seahawk. However, the Wildcats will still need strong performances from runners 2-5 in order to claim victory on Saturday. Coming off a Medium Race win at Bull Run, Reservoir will look to put their strength in pack running and consistency, as no individuals stand out to compete individually necessarily, but their top five runners have a 19 second spread. Without any times from Seahawk invite, this team may be a dark horse to compete for the title with strong races on a fast course. With one low-19 runner, River Hill will have to put together a strong performance from their entire scoring team in order to come out with a title; the same holds true for Annapolis.

A duo to look out for is from the Key High School, who has an overall winner from Bull Run, meaning the fastest time of the entire day and the girl's winner from Spiked Shoe. Storrie Kulynych-Irvin (who ran an 18:24 at Bull Run), and Zoe Benitez will look to take home the top two spots on Saturday. Kulynych-Irvin's time of 18:24 is the fastest of all girls competing, and it was acquired at Bull Run. Benitez is not one to overlook either, after an 11th place finish after falling and an individual win at Spiked Shoe, she will look to replicate success on the speedy Chesapeake course.

Overall, we hope to see some very fast times run at Chesapeake High School this Saturday, filled with some potential upsets and loaded team battles. Can any schools dethrone South River or will they remain the favorites? We look forward to finding out on the 28th and wish the best of luck to any other runners and schools competing!

- written by MileSplit student writer Derek Oppenheim