Unlocked Race of the Day: Heavyweight Fight at 2016 States


From 2012 through 2014, no team in Maryland was as dominant as the Severna Park boys. They handily won 4A state titles in all three years and qualified for Nike Cross Nationals in the latter two, winning the NXN Southeast Regional meet in 2014 after losing by one point the year prior.

However, by 2014 another team had started to emerge as a challenger to Severna Park. After finishing fifth at the 4A North regional meet in 2012, the Dulaney boys won county and regional titles in 2013 on the strength of an up-and-coming class of 2016. Behind Eric Walz they finished as the state runners-up in both 2013 and 2014. In 2015, they finally broke through; after losing a close race to Severna Park at the 2015 Bull Run Invitational, they dominated at states, scoring just 37 points.

This all set up a rematch in 2016 between the defending champions and the recently dethroned. The two teams had not faced each other all year after the cancellation of the Bull Run Invitational prior to the season. With the class of 2016 - the driving force behind their ascent to the top of the Maryland state rankings - having graduated, it was now up to an almost entirely new group to defend that position.

The race itself played out about as close as possible. Dulaney put two runners in the top ten (Matt Owens and Brian McCullough) to Severna Park's one (Garrison Clark), giving them an advantage. However the Falcons' 1-5 gap of 34 seconds was significantly smaller than Dulaney's (48 seconds). When the results were tallied, Dulaney came out on top - by just one point, 96-97. Since Severna Park's sixth runner beat Dulaney's by three seconds, any one change of position by either team's top five runners would have meant a flip in the team's standings.