Unlocked Race of the Day: 4A East XC Regional


Widespread morning showers and gusting winds throughout the day made this past year's XC regional races some of the most challenging in recent years. The conditions at the 3A and 4A East regional championships were amplified by Centennial High School's difficult home course which featured plenty of turns and muddy hills that helped even out the playing field.

This showed mostly in the 4A East boys race. The race figured to be a showdown between Anne Arundel County rivals, Sam Keeny and Tanner Piotrowski. However, it was Severna Park's Jake Gelfand who led the group throughout most of the race, with Kenny, Piotrowski and Howard's Kendall Phillips not far behind. A few times in the final mile it looked as if Gelfand might have an opportunity to blow the race open, but the chase group never relented, even going up the hill at the edge of the school's campus and back onto the track for the final sprint.

Even as the runners hit the track Gelfand held a sizable advantage. However, Keeny used the opportunity to showcase his speed (he would go on to win the 4A 800 meter title this past winter) and chase down Gelfand and defend his 4A East regional title. Piotrowski, who had beaten Keeny just the week before at the county championships, settled for fourth behind Gelfand and Phillips. The next weekend, both Keeny and Piotrowski would return to top form and assert their status as the top runners in the state (finishing first and second, respectively, in the 4A race, as Keeny broke the post-2013 Hereford course record). However, on one wet and windy Halloween Thursday, the conditions gave fans one of the best regional races of the decade.