3A Region Previews & Virtual Meets

Peter Sorensen and the defending 3A North champions from Towson can expect another close fight from C. Milton Wright at this year's race. (Photo by John Roemer)

We preview all four 3A regional races, complete with virtual meets!

3A North Regional (Dulaney High School - Meet Page)

The Wright boys carry momentum from wins at the UCBAC divisional and conference championships into their rematch with Towson at 3A North. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Bel Air senior Caleb Zylka may be the top 3A threat to Anish Nanjappa as he enters regionals with season bests of 15:13 and 15:34 in the three mile and 5K, respectively. Zylka will be out to defend his 3A North title against Towson's Peter Sorensen, who won his first Baltimore County title in his most recent race, also at Dulaney High School. Sorensen and the Generals won last year's regional title, squeezing past C. Milton Wright by four points. It was the same margin of victory that the Mustangs won last week's UCBAC title with over Fallston, and they will have last year's near miss on their minds as two teams with hopes of earning a trophy at the state meet collide once again on Thursday. The Hereford boys will probably round out the top four teams, leaving one of Aberdeen and Poly to fight for the fifth and final qualifying spot at states.

The Bel Air girls are regional favorites this year even as 3A North has become one of the deepest in the staet. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

The girls race will be even deeper, both in terms of frontrunners and teams. Wright's Haley Cummins has won three straight 3A North titles, but she and teammate Lindsay Perry (last year's runner-up) have been leapfrogged by Bel Air sophomore Mackenzie Morrison, who has become an individual state title contender for the Bobcats. Her most recent performance was an 18:04 three mile at the UCBAC Championships that was more than 20 seconds faster than Perry, the runner-up. Perry and Cummins will also contend with Towson's Madeline Till, who has four second-place finishes on her ledger this season, and Hereford's Caroline Benda who won the Barnhart Invitational at Dulaney earlier this year. Behind Morrison, the Bel Air girls not only look like 3A North locks, but 3A state title favorites as well. The race behind them should be good as well; Hereford is probably the second-best team of the bunch, but Edgewood, Wright and Towson will all be in the mix. The sixth and final state qualifying spot could end up in the hands of any number of teams, including Aberdeen and Poly. 

Boys Teams Entered: 10 (five advance)

Girls Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)

Virtual Meet: Boys 3M - Boys 5K - Girls 3M - Girls 5K

3A South Regional (Oak Ridge Park - Meet Page)

The Wedding brothers went 1-2 at the 3A South regional meet last year. A repeat performance would be huge for a Chopticon team needing every point it can get against North Point. (Photo by Keeley Olson)

This boys team battle might be as close as they come this week. The top two teams, North Point and Chopticon, are coming off a SMAC Championship race where they tied (North Point won on a sixth-runner tiebreaker) - and if that wasn't enough, they are tied in the 5K virtual meet, as well. Neither Huntingtown (fourth, 105 points) nor Northern (fifth, 111 points) were too far behind, either, setting up what could be a team battle where the top four squads are separated by no more than a dozen or so points. North Point junior Joshua Doughty won the individual SMAC title, but he'll have Huntingtown's Conor McGirr and the Wedding brothers from Chopticon right on his tail again at 3A South.

Northern junior Oakley Olson has more state titles than she does regional titles; she won last year's individual title after finishing as the 3A South runner-up. (Photo by Mary Ann Magnant)

The Northern girls haven't lost a 3A South title since 2012, and while this year's Northern squad isn't quite as dominant as some of the Patriots teams of recent years, they're still the favorites after winning another SMAC title. They still put four girls under 19:50 at Great American this year, led by last year's individual state champion Oakley Olson. Great Mills' Cooper Brotherton and Chopticon's Blair Fowler - both top-five finishers at the conference meet last week - can break up the Northern pack at the front. The Huntingtown girls, meanwhile, were the closest 3A South team to Northern at the SMAC Championships, just 23 points back, and will probably be Northern's top challengers.

Boys Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)

Girls Teams Entered: 8 (four advance)

Virtual Meet: Boys 5K - Girls 5K

3A East Regional (Centennial High School - Meet Page)

This year's River Hill team is much more than just senior Anish Nanjappa (middle). They have seven boys who have run 16:23.00 or faster for three miles - no other team outside of Severna Park has more than three. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

After spending the past two years in 2A, the River Hill boys are back in the 3A classification where they won three straight state titles from 2014 through 2016. Anish Nanjappa and the Hawks are back in 3A and look like state favorites once again - Nanjappa has yet to lose a race in his senior season. This year's 3A East region is almost entirely composed of Howard County teams, so a look back at how the teams fared at the county championships could give us an idea how things might shake out Thursday:

1. River Hill - 37 points... 2. Centennial - 71 points... 4. Mount Hebron - 130 points... 5. Reservoir - 141 points... 6. Marriotts Ridge - 142 points... 7. Atholton - 172 points

Those six teams look to have the inside track on the six spots for the state meet. Junior Jacob Cole (third at the county meet) and the Centennial boys will probably be the top contenders to take down Nanjappa and the River Hill boys, but it won't be easy.

With Manchester Valley now competing in the 3A East region, sophomore Rubie Goffena has a chance to win her second different regional title. (Photo by Erik Cloyd)

Centennial also finished second in a girls race dominated by Howard at the county meet, thanks to a 29-second 1-5 spread that was less than half of any other team's. In a region without a true frontrunner, Atholton's Aanchal Kasargod (fifth at Howard County Championships) and River Hill's Chloe McGeehan (sixth) will be at the front of the group, along with last year's 3A West winner, Rubie Goffena. The teams were more spread out at the county meet, but the top four teams (Centennial, Reservoir, Atholton and River Hill) in the three mile virtual meet are only separated by ten points, with Westminster not far behind.

Boys Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)

Girls Teams Entered: 9 (five advance)

Virtual Meet: Boys 3M - Girls 3M

3A West Regional (Thomas Johnson High School - Meet Page)

The Linangore boys can make it three straight 3A West regional titles on Thursday; they were the top 3A West team at the CMC Championships two weeks ago. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Damascus' Tamrat Snyder is having a remarkable senior comeback season. Both his three mile (15:30) and 5K (15:54) personal bests rank third among all 3A boys this season. Snyder has distinguished himself as the runner to beat at the 3A West Regionals on Thursday. Who could challenge Snyder for the region's top spot? South Hagerstown's Elom Akakpo is the only other runner in the region to have run under 16 minutes for three miles this season (they both ran their season bests in the large school race at Frank Keyser). The Linganore boys, led by the senior-freshman duo of Carson Buck and Cole Williamson, are the only team in the region with five boys in the top 20 of the three mile virtual meet (no other team has more than three). The Lancers have won each of the past two 3A West team titles.

The Frederick girls finished with 147 points at the CMC Championships, 24 less than the next-closest 3A team (Linganore). (Photo by Craig Amoss)

In the girls field, Damascus senior Alexis Whitehorn-Coriz owns the top three mile time (19:14) by over a minute. Among the Central Maryland Conference schools, Linganore sophomore Caroline Perrone was the top finisher (13th) at the conference championships. There the Frederick girls were the top team (and are as well in the three mile virtual meet), followed by three teams (Linganore, Tuscarora and North Hagerstown) in a close group. Behind seniors Whitehorn-Coriz and Emily Vela the Damascus girls currently look to have the inside track on the fifth and final state meet qualifying position.

Boys Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)

Girls Teams Entered: 9 (five advance)

Virtual Meet: Boys 3M - Boys 5K - Girls 3M - Girls 5K