The Williamsport boys can affirm their status as 1A title favorites with a strong performance at the 1A West regionals on Thursday. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
We preview all four 1A regional races, complete with virtual meets!
1A North Regional (Pikesville High School - Meet Page)
Kaleb Berhanu (third from left) was Pikesville's first top-ten finisher of the decade at the Baltimore County Championships. Prior to Berhanu, Menelik Solomon had come the closest by finishing 11th as a senior in 2012. (Photo by John Roemer)
The home team Panthers will be heavy favorites at this year's 1A North regional. Sophomore Kaleb Berhanu showed signs of a breakout last spring when he ran a 10:12 3200, and has followed that up with a sophomore cross country season in which he ran 16:47 at the Baltimore County Championships, good for seventh place. With three boys under 18 minutes on the season and five under 19, the Pikesville boys will look to roll through regionals and make some noise at the state meet.
The Western Tech girls enter Thursday as favorites to defend their 1A North title from 2018. (Photo by John Roemer)
On the girls side the Western Tech girls will be seeking to defend their 2018 regional title. With five of the top ten girls in the region based on this year's 5K season bests the Wolverines could be in line for another region title. The individual battle could come down to last year's runner-up, Pikesville's Logan Bierer, against ACCE's Esmeralda Romero, who has broken out as a senior this fall and recently won the Baltimore City title.
Boys Teams Entered: 14 (seven advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 10 (five advance)
1A South Regional (Fort Washington Park - Meet Page)
The top returner from last year's meet, Friendly's Angel Ramirez, is entered to compete. He has competed sparingly this year, but last year's top-30 state meet finish, plus 2:05 and 4:42 personal bests, means he could still compete for the individual title this year. Meanwhile, Central's Brian Chebochok owns the fastest time in the region this year (19:35) and the Falcons have five of the top ten runners in the region by 5K season best. There will be a new team champion this year after Lackey moved up to the 2A classification.
In the girls race, McDonough's Asharia Matthews is the only girl who has run under 25 minutes in the 5K this fall. The Largo girls were the only school with a full team last year, and although both Fairmont Heights and Gwynn Park have full teams entered, the Lions will be favorites once again for the regional title.
Boys Teams Entered: 5 (three advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 3 (three advance)
1A East Regional (The Jungle - Meet Page)
The Bohemia Manor boys lost a ton of senior firepower from last year's state runner-up team, but sophomore Day Leone will try to lead them to their third consecutive 1A East regional title. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
The Bohemia Manor boys have won two straight 1A East titles, but this could be the year the home team regains the top spot in the region. The Cambridge-South Dorchester boys finished second at the Bayside Championships and are the only team in the region with five boys under 18 minutes for three miles (no other team has more than three). The two teams faced off at Bull Run earlier this year; although the Bohemia Manor boys did not run a full squad in the varsity race, we can compare them in the post-race virtual meet, which combined all results. The Cambridge-South Dorchester boys finished just one spot ahead of the Eagles, although their average time was over a minute faster. The individual race could have an effect on the team scores, as well; sophomores Day Leone (Bohemia Manor) and John Condon (Cambridge-S.D.) have the top two three mile times in the region this year, separated by just ten seconds. With ten teams entered, there may be two state spots open for four teams (North Dorchester, Perryville, Snow Hill and Kent County).
The Cambride-South Dorchester girls will try to defend The Jungle on Thursday; they lost to Bohemia Manor by five points at last year's 1A East regional meet. (Photo by John Roemer)
Defending 1A state champion Sarah Condon owns the fastest three-mile mark in the region by over a minute. Despite winning last year's state meet, she finished second at the 1A East regional to Patterson Mill's Ashley Betz. With Betz gone, however, Condon will be the heavy favorite on her home course for the third time this season. The Vikings will need a first-place performance out of Condon because, as is the case in the boys race, they may find themselves in a tight team battle with Bohemia Manor, whose 1-5 split this season is 90 seconds tighter than the Vikings'. Both Perryville and Patterson Mill figure to be the other two teams who will move onto the state meet.
Boys Teams Entered: 10 (five advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 6 (four advance)
1A West Regional (Smithsburg High School - Meet Page)
The owner of the third-fastest three mile time by a 1A runner this year, Francis Scott Key's Cole LaPierre will likely have to qualify for the state meet as an individual on Thursday. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
Senior Zane Chalker will be the favorite not only at regionals but at the 1A state meet, especially after his 16:15 performance at Bull Run earlier this season. A full-strength Williamsport team will also be the favorite going forward, as they win handily in both the three mile and 5K virtual meets. Chasing them will be both Allegany and Smithsburg, both of whom will be fighting for a spot on the podium at the state meet as well. For Allegany, it might come down to just how close their fifth runner can finish to Smithsburg's fifth, as perhaps no other team in 1A (outside of Williamsport) can match their top four. With just five teams advancing, the final spot could come down to a three-team battle between Northern Garrett, Southern Garrett and Catoctin.
Smithsburg junior (and cross-country rookie) Daylie Younker could enter the state meet as the individual favorite: her 19:20 three mile season best leads all 1A runners by 33 seconds. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
This race could very well end up being a state title matchup between Smithsburg's Daylie Younker and Mountain Ridge's Hannah Muir. Younker has won all four meetings this season but Muir has finished as close as seven seconds behind her. Interestingly, the race between those two top contenders may not affect the race for the team title; Brunswick (the defending regional champions after beating Boonsboro by one point last year) and Northern Garrett appear to be the top two contenders. Both the three mile and 5K virtual meets see a wide-open race for the final three state spots, one that includes Catoctin, Allegany, Williamsport, Key and Mountain Ridge.
Boys Teams Entered: 10 (five advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)