CMC Boys XC Preview

Photo by Craig Amoss

The Central Mountain Conference (Frederick and Washington counties) has produced some excellent boys cross country teams over the past decade. Over the past three years, Linganore (3A champs in 2017), Boonsboro (1A, 2018), Oakdale (2A, 2019) and Williamsport (1A, 2019) have all won state titles, and both Catoctin and Thomas Johnson have also won in the past eight years. In a conference that features two defending team champions, however, there may not be a clear favorite heading into the 2020 fall season. After finishing sixth at last year's meet, could Boonsboro shoot up the team standings this season?

The Warriors return most of their 2019 team that barely missed qualifying for states as they returned to the 2A classification and could be contenders for the conference title. Seniors Connor Lawrence, Andrew Simonson and Charlie Koeneke lead the team entering the fall, and they are the only team with a sub-60 second between their top five returning runners.

CMC Boys XC Preview: By the Numbers

Photo by Craig Amoss

The only returning boy in the CMC with a sub-16 three mile personal best, South Hagerstown's Elom Akakpo is also the top returner from last year's conference championships (where he finished fourth). It's been a steep rise toward the top for Akakpo, who clocked a 22:16 three mile season best as a freshman and a 17:30 time as a sophomore. From 2018 to 2019 he improved from 59th to fourth at the conference championships and went on to finish 17th at the 3A state meet. Since 1974, only one South Hagerstown boy - 2015 state runner-up Darren Harman - has finished higher at the state meet than Akakpo.

Photo by Craig Amoss

It won't take too wild of an imagination to envision the frontrunners of the CMC for the next couple of years, as two of the state's top freshmen debuted last year in Frederick County. Linganore's Cole Williamson finished 24th at the 3A state meet and then ran 10:00 in the 3200 over the winter, while Catoctin's Alexander Contreras finished fifth at the 1A state meet and ran 10:31 on the track. The two ranked third and fourth, respectively, among freshmen in the three mile last fall and will likely lead their respective teams this year.

Photo by John Roemer

We're already four paragraphs in and have only mentioned the defending conference, region and state champions in passing. Oakdale truly dominated the CMC last year, scoring just 30 points in the varsity race, but they will be losing five of their seven varsity runners from last year's team (including 1-2 punch Kyle Lund and Collin Dempsey). How Justin Cherry (above), Spencer Buckwalter and the rest of the team comes back in 2020 could tell if the Bears have built a program strong enough to remain as one of the state's best for years to come. One of their biggest advantages? The deepest team in the CMC, as they dominated the JV race as well at last year's county championships. They still top our three mile returning virtual meet as well.

Photo by Don Rich

The Frederick boys could be a top-three contender at this year's conference championships behind a strong group of seniors, led by Mario Martinez. He was the Cadets' most consistent runner in 2019, clocking four different 5K performances between 17:09 and 17:19 and finishing 15th at the conference championships. His 16:31 three mile season best at the Frank Keyser Invitational last October places him among the top five returners in the conference, and Frederick is one of just four teams (along with Oakdale, Boonsboro and North Hagerstown) with two of the top 15 returning runners in the three mile virtual meet.