We highlight the boys individual winners from championship season, which included a new state meet record, two private school repeat champions and plenty of team titles to go with them!
Photo by John Roemer
The heavy favorite entering Saturday's 1A state race, Chalker's victory was almost never in question. The senior raced out to an early lead before the race was a mile old, and spent the latter half of the race steadily increasing his lead while racing against the clock. In the end, he fell just a few tenths of a second short of a sub-16:00 winning effort - his time of 16:00.47 was 12th-fastest across all four classifications. It's the second-fastest 1A time on the new Hereford course at the state meet (behind Will Merritt). Chalker became the Wildcats' first individual state XC champion since 1978, and his win led Williamsport to their first team title since 1975.
It may have been the last race of the 2019 state meet, but it certainly wasn't the least. The 2A boys' field was one of the more wide-open races heading into the weekend, and four boys - Lund, Oakland Mills' Baidy Ba, Harford Tech's Kevin Baranoski and Kent Island's Finn Walsh - were together for nearly the entire race, switching leads throughout. Walsh led early, Baranoski in parts of the middle and Ba threw in a surge going back up the dip, but it was the 1:53 runner who was able to power past all of them in the final stretch of Saturday's race. Lund's 15:47.76 performance was the fastest 2A time on the new state course, and all four boys broke the previous record. His victory also led the Bears to a state title (although they ultimately won by a comfortable margin) - both titles were firsts in Oakdale's brief school history.
Photo by Craig Amoss
No surprise in this race, either, as Anish Nanjappa broke away from Saturday's 3A state meet field early and challenged the Hereford course record. While he fell a few seconds shy of the record (15:41 when he ran, before Sam Keeny ran 15:34 in the 4A race), Nanjappa did extend his undefeated senior season through the state meet. His 18-second margin of victory was the second-largest in a 3A boys race this decade, just a few seconds off Michael Belmaggio's margin last fall. In a theme that ran through many of Saturday's races, Nanjappa's win also helped the River Hill boys capture their first state title since winning three in a row from 2014-16.
Photo by John Roemer
Even in a race that featured this year's fastest runner by 5K time, there were no guarantees, as plenty of runners in Saturday's 4A race had a claim to contention. In the end, however, the Sam Keeny that ran 15:07 this year at the Great American XC Festival showed up on the biggest stage - and in a big way. Keeny pulled away in the final mile of Saturday's race as he chased down not only his first state title, but the new post-2013 Hereford course record (which he bested by seven seconds). Keeny became South River's first-ever individual boys XC state champion with his victory.
Karayianis defended his private school state meet title in much less dramatic fashion than last year's race. After a two-second victory at the 2018 state meet, Karayianis won Saturday's race at Georgetown Prep by 44 seconds. It was also Karayianis' second straight victory following his win at the IAC Championships two weeks ago. With five performances between 15:40 and 15:52 under his belt, Karayianis has been one of the most consistent runners in the state this fall. He is only the second repeat private school state champion this decade (along with Dalton Hengst), although DC schools were included until 2017.
Photo by Craig Amoss
Johnson finished a dominant senior season for the Cardinals with a comfortable 20-second victory at the MIAA Championships on Tuesday. It was Johnson's second consecutive conference title, and this year it also came with a team title as Calvert Hall, who entered the meet as heavy favorites, came through by winning the A Conference title with just 27 points. The MIAA has now had just two individual champions in the past five years, as Dalton Hengst won three titles in a row before Johnson's most recent streak.