The Dulaney girls have momentum coming off their Baltimore County title where they put three girls at 19:20 or faster on their home course. (Photo by John Roemer)
We preview all four 4A regional races, complete with virtual meets!
4A North Regional (Dulaney High School - Meet Page)
Watch the Northwood boys defend their Montgomery County title and the Blair boys finish as the runner-up.
Last year the Northwood boys ended Dulaney's five-year 4A North title streak that spanned from 2013 to 2017. For the first time since that 2013 season, there will be a new defending champion at the 4A North region. Those Gladiators are coming off their second straight Montgomery County title, where they had three of the top six runners. Ayalew Fantaw, Henok Eshetu and Timothy Boyce give Northwood a top three that could all finish ahead of Dulaney's #1 runner, all but ensuring a second straight regional title as long as their fourth and fifth runners can repeat their county performance. Expect the Gladiator three to be at the front of Thursday's race, alongside Dulaney's Zak Audia and Tyler Dailey and Springbrook's Surafel Mengist.
The Dulaney boys, in turn, will also have to fend off both Blair and Sherwood for a top two spot in the team standings, as the Blair boys are coming off an excellent race at the Montgomery County Championships. With six teams advancing to the state meet, Paint Branch and Catonsville could find themselves in an airtight battle for the final spot.
Katie Kaneko is the only girl in the 4A North region to have run under 19:00 so far this fall. (Photo by Dan Loughlin)
The Dulaney girls, meanwhile, will be glad to no longer have to contend with the state's top-ranked team. The Baltimore County champions have three girls who have run between 19:10 and 19:20, giving them the strong trio that no other team in the region can come close to matching. The Sherwood girls would appear to have the upper hand in the battle for the region's second spot behind sophomore Katie Kaneko, last year's 4A North champion, and junior Emily Gravell, who finished tenth at the county championships last weekend. Springbrook and Kennedy will likely fight for the final spot at the state championships.
Boys Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)
4A South Regional (Fort Washington Park - Meet Page)
The Roosevelt boys have the strongest team in 4A South, something they demonstrated by scoring just 36 points at the county championships. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
Parkdale senior Jafar Hussen turned in a statement victory at the Prince George's County Championships with a runaway 16:09 victory. It was the fastest time by a county runner since Joshua Wilkins in 2013. It was also Hussen's second victory in three tries this year against Roosevelt's Brandon Lewis, the only other runner in the county who has run under 17 minutes in the 5K this year. While the Parkdale boys have three of the top four runners in the region by 5K season best, a four-minute-plus 1-5 spread may once again compromise their chances against Roosevelt, who handily won the county title while scoring half of the points Parkdale did. Bowie (third in the county) and Flowers (who did not run a full team but have one entered at regionals) appear to have strong chances at qualifying for states, while Suitland and Wise could end up in a close fight for the fifth and final spot.
There will likely be much less drama at the front of the girls' race, as Javon Watts and the Flowers girls have once again rolled through PG County. The Jaguars scored just 26 points at the county meet, with six runners in the top nine. With five girls who have run 22:45 or better the Roosevelt girls are the clear-cut second-best team in the region, followed by both Suitland and Wise to round out the four state qualifying spots.
Boys Teams Entered: 9 (five advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 8 (four advance)
4A East Regional (Centennial High School - Meet Page)
Thursday's 4A East regional will feature a rematch between most of Anne Arundel County's teams. Tanner Piotrowski and Sam Keeny will met for the third time this year and have split their first two meetings; Keeny edged Piotrowski on the season's opening weekend at the Seahawk Invitational while Piotrowski pulled away in the rain at the Anne Arundel County Championships. Don't count out Severna Park junior Jake Gelfand who has stepped up as the team's #1 runner this year and finished just a few seconds behind Keeny at the county championships. Those Falcons are once again favorites, not just for the region title but for the state meet as well. They scored just 26 points at the county meet, exactly a third of the points scored by the runners-up from Broadneck. The Bruins, along with South River and Arundel, were separated by just six points at the county meet and will all be competing for second place in the team standings. Howard and Leonardtown will likely round out the state qualifying teams from one of the strongest boys regions in the state.
Katie Ericson and the Annapolis girls would be virtual locks to qualify for states in any other region, but they'll have to put together an 'A' performance on Thursday to make it out of the 4A East gauntlet. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
While the boys field in 4A East is one of the best in the state, there isn't much doubt that 4A East is the top region in the state. The fact that the Howard girls slide over from 4A North only strengthens what was already an impressive field. Howard and Severna Park have been the top two teams in the state all season and have faced off seemingly every other week. The Falcons came within three points of Howard in their last meeting at Frank Keyser in what may have been Severna Park's best race of the year. However their task will be made more difficult now that senior Amanda Eliker, who missed a bit of time earlier in the season, is back at full strength, something she proved in a runaway win at last week's Howard County Championships. In fact, both teams are coming off wins at their respective county championships. Don't count out the Broadneck girls, either, who did come within 14 points of the Falcons at counties. Even without sophomore Mollie Fenn the Bruins have one of deepest groups in the state, with six girls running 19:40 or faster at counties.
Arundel's Niya Torres continued her breakout senior season with a winning performance in the downpour at the county meet. Annapolis' Katie Ericson was fourth at the county meet, running a three-mile personal best of 18:41. Leonardtown's duo of Parker O'Brien and Nelle Ray are all capable of top-ten state performances - but even cracking the top ten at regionals won't be any easy feat in this stacked region. With six teams advancing to the state meet, both Annapolis and Old Mill appear to be on the outside looking in, at least heading into the race. However, in a region such as this, there will be no such guarantees heading into Thursday's meet.
Boys Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 11 (six advance)
4A West Regional (Clarksburg High School - Meet Page)
Richard Montgomery had the 4A West region's top two finishers at the Montgomery County Championships; individual winner Garrett Suhr, and junior Elias Applebaum, also a top-ten finisher. (Photo by EJ Trapsi)
Last year the Richard Montgomery boys surprisingly won the 4A West regional race with a tight pack-running strategy. This year, they'll try to defend their title against Walter Johnson, who last won the 4A West title back in 2012. Jacob Marks and the Wildcats finished third at the Montgomery County Championships, scoring 105 points to Richard Montgomery's 127. The Rockets will have the individual favorite, senior Garrett Suhr; not only was he the Montgomery County Champion, but the next six finishers don't compete in 4A West - the next 4A West finisher was Suhr's teammate Elias Applebaum, 29 seconds behind Suhr. With seven teams advancing there seems to be a fairly clear split between Whitman, Wootton and Northwest at 5-6-7 and the next team, Gaithersburg, although the Trojans did finish just 27 points behind Northwest at the county meet.
Watch the girls race at this year's Coyote Run on the new High Point Farm course.
The girls race will likely feature more drama; namely, a rematch between Jenna Goldberg and Charlotte Turesson. The two were neck-and-neck for a majority of the county championship race before Goldberg pulled away in the final mile and shattered the previous course record set by fellow Wildcat Abigail Green. Given Turesson's performances to date, which include running faster than Goldberg at Great American, the regional race will probably be closer than the 23-second gap between the two that opened up at counties. The Walter Johnson girls will also get to take a crack at Whitman; entering the county meet, it seemed as though the Wildcats had pulled even with the Vikings, but Whitman put all five runners in the top 15 to secure a rather drama-free victory. The Urbana girls will also fare better than they do in the 5K virtual meet as most of their fastest races this year have been at three-mile courses; senior Sara Jarman is capable of a top-five finish and already won one race earlier this year at High Point Farm. Meanwhile, Northwest (254 points at counties) and Churchill (275) will likely be battling for the seventh and final state meet spot.
Boys Teams Entered: 13 (seven advance)
Girls Teams Entered: 13 (seven advance