Revisiting the Best Boys Races at States Since 2015

Photo by Craig Amoss

There have been plenty of eye-opening, down-to-the-wire boys races at the state meet over the past four years at Hereford High School. Get pumped for this year's meet by revisiting some of the best races at the state meet during that period!

2015: Matt Bennett vs. Darren Harman (WATCH)

Photo by Lisa McArthur

In a battle of seniors, Matt Bennett and Darren Harman matched each other nearly step-for-step in the 3A race at the 2015 state meet. Harman had finished second in his previous two races (runner-up to Will Merritt at the Washington County Championships and runner-up to Micah Hewitson at the 3A West regional) but led for much of the 3A race, with Bennett trailing closely. Bennett took a narrow lead coming up the dip and onto the field, where Harman made one last attempt to get around the Northern senior. In the end, Bennett held on - by just eight hundredths of a second (16:14.81 to 16:14.89) in the closest finish we've seen at the state meet in recent years.

2016: The Return of Ryan Lockett (WATCH)

Photo by Eric Green

Ryan Lockett returned to Poolesville his junior year after one year at Gonzaga (DC) a different runner. Lockett's first big performance was a third-place finish in the junior race at DCXC, then a runner-up, 15:53 effort at the Montgomery County Championships. The 2016 3A race then turned into a battle between Lockett, teammate Andrew Lent, 3A West rival Micah Hewitson and 3A East champion Rahul Reddy. Lockett and Reddy separated themselves by the time the field reached the far end of the dip for the first time; by the two-mile mark, the quartet were all alone. Lockett led up the dip for the final time and held off Reddy, winning the first of eight eventual high school titles.

2016: A Razor-Thin Margin for Dulaney (WATCH)

Photo by Debbi Persinger

In 2015, Eric Walz and the Dulaney boys dominated the 4A state meet, ending Severna Park's chances at a four-peat. The two teams met again in 2016; the Dulaney boys with sights on repeating as state champions for the first time since 1981 and the Falcons seeking to start another streak of their own. With the absence of the Bull Run Invitational the two teams had yet to face off before states, but few could have predicted just how close the race would turn out. The Lions won by a single point, 97-98. In two instances, a Dulaney runner beat a Severna Park runner by one spot, a crucial factor that could have flipped the result of the team battle.

2018: Zachary Laird Will Not Be Denied (WATCH)

Photo by John Roemer

In 2017, Bohemia Manor's Zachary Laird ran away with the 1A state title, winning by over 30 seconds. Entering the 2018 race, however, Laird had yet to win a major race as a senior. He ran 17:20 at Bull Run earlier in the year and was coming off a third-place finish at the 1A East regional. Moreover, Boonsboro's Henry Schmidt - the small school Bull Run champion - took the lead not halfway into the race and took a six-second lead up the dip with less than half a mile to go. Schmidt's lead, however, was not enough, and Laird erased the 50-meter gap with one final surge to defend his state title.