Bayside Conference Girls XC Preview

Photo by Craig Amoss

Zoe Durner has been a familiar face at the front of the Bayside Conference over the past few seasons. She finished sixth and fifth, respectively, as a sophomore and junior at the conference championships and 38th at last year's 2A state meet. Ahead of Durner at last year's Bayside meet were two seniors (Charlotte Kratovil-Lavelle and Sarah Condon) and two Kent Island freshmen (see below). The Kent Island girls have featured each of the last four individual conference XC champions, and if that streak comes to an end in 2020 it could be at the hands of the North Caroline senior.

Photos by John Roemer (left) and Craig Amoss (right)

The Kent Island girls recorded their highest-ever finish at the 2A state meet (sixth) last season, thanks in large part due to one of the better freshman classes in Maryland. Leading the way as the team's second and third runners were Reese Delp (left) and Sarah van Ornum. The two finished third and second, respectively, at the conference championships last year and 27th and 32nd at the state meet. Also joining the duo is Hazel Walsh, who owns the 11th-fastest returning three-mile time on the Eastern Shore and placed 59th at the state meet. The emergence of an outstanding group of young runners could help them offset the loss of last year's individual conference champion, Charlotte Kratovil-Lavelle.

Photo by Keeley Olson

While the Kent Island girls have the top returning duo in the county, Decatur's senior combo of Devon Kramer (front) and Mary Mergott is not far behind. The pair own two of the top seven returning three-mile times in the Bayside Conference. Mergott was also coming off a very good junior indoor season - her first time running track - during which she ran 5:49 and placed among the top five at the conference championships in both the 1600 and 800. The Decatur girls team has not qualified for states since 2014 and has only twice since 2007; could this duo lead them to the top of the conference and potentially back to Hereford?

Photo by Keeley Olson

With just a four-girl roster in 2019 the Bennett girls didn't have the opportunity to qualify as a team for the state meet for the first time since 2008. However, the foundation of a state-qualifying team is there, led by rising junior Nicole Nieberding. As a freshman in the spring of 2019 she ran personal bests of 2:29/5:40/12:24, and she has finished among the top ten at the conference championships in each of her first two seasons.