2A State Meet Preview

There was plenty of talent on the line at The Jungle for last week's 2A East regional championship. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

We have your definitive guide for this year's 2A state championships!

Boys WinnerTeam ChampYearTeam ChampGirls Winner
Anish Nanjappa (River Hill) 15:58Liberty (110)

2018 (Hereford HS post-2013)

Hereford (68)Emily Konkus (Hereford) 19:38
Ryan Lockett (Poolesville) 16:13Liberty (68)

2017 (Hereford HS post-2013)

Hereford (81)Emily Konkus (Hereford) 19:40
Taylor Baranoski (Eastern Tech) 16:03Liberty (42)

2016 (Hereford HS post-2013)

Hereford (52)Hayley Jackson (Patuxent) 18:19
Brian Cave (South Carroll) 16:33Liberty (89)

2015 (Hereford HS post-2013)

Hereford (50)Hayley Jackson (Patuxent) 18:23
Zach Gascho (Catoctin) 16:24Catoctin (48)

2014 (Hereford HS post-2013)

Liberty (77)Hayley Jackson (Patuxent) 18:48
Chase Weaverling (Poolesville) 15:42Catoctin (61)

2013 (McDaniel College)

Hereford (73)Meggan Grams (Boonsboro) 18:54
David Dorsey (Catoctin) 16:25Catoctin (77)

2012 (Hereford HS)

Calvert (57)Brit Lang (Oakland Mills) 19:21
Austin McGinley (Rising Sun) 16:21Winters Mill (61)

2011 (Hereford HS)

Century (112)Hannah Oneda (Winters Mill) 18:28
Robby Creese (Glenelg) 16:46Winters Mill (81)

2010 (Hereford HS)

Century (63)Maura Linde (Century) 19:10

2A Boys Individuals

The Favorite: Kyle Lund - Senior, Oakdale

Photo by John Roemer

After winning both indoor and outdoor titles in the 800 and 1600 as a junior, Lund entered this year as the most accomplished runner in the 2A field. Wins at the Brunswick and Crossfire invitationals, plus a runner-up finish at the Howard County Invitational and a fifth-place effort in the elite boys race at Bull Run, set him up for a strong championship season. He dominated at CMCs and Frederick counties, but a second-place effort at last week's 2A West regional at least opens up the discussion for the state meet. Nevertheless, no runner in this year's field has been as consistent as Lund this year, and none have run close to his 16:16 time at Hereford.

The Contenders:

- Baidy Ba - Junior, Oakland Mills: Ba was clearly in the discussion for the top contenders even before his recent stretch of performances: a win at the Georgetown Prep Classic, a runner-up placing at the Howard County Championships and - certainly the most eye-opening - a win over Lund at 2A West. The Scorpions' last individual state champion was Kyle Andrews in 2007.

- Kevin Baranoski - Junior, Harford Tech: Baranoski has emerged as the leader of the Cobras' top trio this season. His season ledger includes a win in the small school race at Bull Run and second-place finishes at the Gunpowder Invitational, UCBAC Championships and 2A East regionals. His 16:07 5K season best leads all 2A runners this year.

- Collin Dempsey - Senior, Oakdale: The second half of an outstanding duo that could lead the Bears to their first state title, Dempsey has followed closely behind his teammate all year long. He finished sixth at last year's 2A state meet, running faster than anyone else in this year's field outside of Lund. 

- Finn Walsh - Junior, Kent Island: Walsh may have gone under the radar a bit this year out on the other side of the bay, but no 2A runner has run a faster three mile (15:24) this year. He ran 16:36 - good for ninth place - in the elite race at Bull Run this year, and recently twice set the course record at The Jungle in Cambridge, including a win over Baranoski at the 2A East regionals.

The Dark Horses:

- Giles Daly - Senior, Fallston

- Hayden Hebert - Junior, Century

- Woodrow Kashima - Senior, Liberty

- Daron Taylor - Senior, Harford Tech

- Zachary Taylor - Senior, Harford Tech

- William Tikiob - Senior, North Harford

2A Boys Teams

The Favorite: Oakdale

Photo by Craig Amoss

Bet against the four-time 2A state champions from Liberty at your own peril, but the Oakdale boys have been consistently better all season. The Bears have beaten the Lions all four times the two teams have met this season, including twice on Liberty's home course. Seniors Lund and Dempsey give them a 1-2 combo capable of scoring five points (or less) at the state meet, a huge advantage for Oakdale. An 11-point victory over Liberty at regionals on a day when Kyle Lund finished second firmly entrenches them as this year's favorite. Having just opened in 2010, Oakdale has never finished in the top two at the state meet, something that will almost certainly change this weekend.

The Contenders:

- Fallston: Coming off a narrow four-point loss at the UCBAC Championships, the Cougars reversed their fortune at the 2A East regional last Thursday. They put five in the top 15 (and six before Harford Tech's fourth runner) to win by just one point over the Cobras. They're not just a pack-minded team, either, as senior Giles Daly gives them a legitimate low stick to help their scoring chances. Fallston hasn't finished on the podium since winning their only state title in 1981.

- Harford Tech: The frontrunners - Baranoski and the Taylor brothers - have been Harford Tech's strength all season. Their depth, a weak spot heading into the season, has also improved considerably over the fall. Their 4-7 runners - all underclassmen - finished 19-20-21-23 in a solid field at regionals. The future is getting even brighter at Harford Tech, but they've only got this top trio for one more race. With three potential top-ten finishers, the school's first-ever podium finish is within reach on Saturday.

- Liberty: The Lions have gotten close to Oakdale this year, the closest margin being ten points at the Howard County Invitational way back in September. Their strength this year is their narrow scoring spread as their 1-5 runners were separated by just 30 seconds at regionals. If they can pack plenty of runners between Oakdale's third and fourth finishers, they will have a shot at the third five-peat in state history (Oakland Mills won six in a row from 1984-1989, and Southern Garrett won five in a row from 1993-1997).

The Dark Horses:

- Century

- Kent Island

- South Carroll

2A Girls Individuals

The Favorite: Grace Siehler - Junior, South Carroll

Photo by Craig Amoss

It was clear after her first race of the season - a 20-second win at the Brunswick Invitational - that Siehler was healthy and ready to roll. Two months later, not much has changed. Siehler's only "loss" of her junior season was a runner-up effort in the small school race at Bull Run, when Key freshman Storrie Kulynych-Irvin had her unofficial in-state coming out party (Siehler beat every other runner in the field by 50 seconds). Just how dominant has Siehler been? Outside of the Bull Run race, the last time anyone finished wthin 30 seconds of Siehler was at the Hood College Invitational, when she beat James Woods' (VA) Mackenzie Konyar by "just" 15 seconds. This year's 2A field is solid, but Siehler stands head and shoulders above the rest heading into Saturday.

The Contenders:

- Charlotte Kratovil-Lavelle - Senior, Kent Island: The first-year cross country runner dominated the Bayside Conference this fall, and she ran 20:51 in her Hereford debut at Bull Run in September. The Bucs have never had a state champion in the school's brief 20-year history.

- Kathryn Hopkins - Junior, Winters Mill: How about this nugget? Hopkins is the only one of our (admittedly arbitrary) group of contenders with XC state meet experience! Hopkins finished third at the state meet as a sophomore last fall, and ran nearly as fast (20:00) at this year's Bull Run Invitational as she did then (19:57).

- Erin McQuitty - Freshman, Middletown: Perhaps the state's top freshman not named Kulynych-Irvin, McQuitty picked up two big wins at the CMC and Frederick County championships in October. If it weren't for Siehler, she could have three more wins (Crossfire and Frank Keyser invitationals and 2A West regionals). Emily Buzzell won the school's last individual state title back in 1999.

- Kristen Prince - Sophomore, Calvert: Another cross country rookie and member of an outstanding sophomore class down in Southern Maryland, Prince owns the second-fastest 5K (19:14) among 2A runners this fall.

The Dark Horses:

- Izzy Lucas - Freshman, Liberty

- Dana Miller - Junior, Calvert

- Sammie Spargo - Senior, Liberty

- Eleanor Stafford - Junior, Middletown

2A Girls Teams

The Favorite: Liberty

Photo by John Roemer

Coming into the season the Liberty girls did not even crack our top 50, with plenty of questions behind their two returning seniors, Sammie Spargo and Jenna Zietowski. Those questions were answered (and then some) by freshmen Izzy and Julia Lucas, as well as big contributions from first-year cross country runner Christian Lemaster. The Lions won the small school race at the Brunswick Invitational and haven't looked back. Their closest recent call came when South Carroll closed the gap to just ten points in the small school race at Frank Keyser, but Liberty responded with convincing wins over the Cavaliers at counties and regionals. Their tight 1-5 spread has helped negate South Carroll's low-stick advantage, and they enter Saturday favorites for their second state title in school history (2014).

The Contenders:

- Middletown: The Knights have played the third-fiddle role behind Liberty and South Carroll three times this season (Crossfire and Frank Keyser invitationals and 2A West regional). With three potential top-ten finishers in McQuitty, Stafford and sophomore Campbell Caldwell, they will be in the running for a podium finish after placing fourth at last year's state meet.

- South Carroll: The South Carroll girls nearly beat Liberty back at the Crossfire Invitational when Liberty's fifth runner finished well behind their top four. If any of Liberty's runners drops from the pack on Saturday, the door could open for South Carroll, especially if Siehler does what she has done all year long. They won their only state title in school history back in 2007.

The Dark Horses:

- Boonsboro

- Calvert

- Kent Island

- Oakdale