Montgomery County Boys XC Preview

Photo by EJ Trapsi

Is Walter Johnson igniting a spark for another dynasty on the boys side? They were arguably the top program in Maryland around the turn of the decade: they won four straight state titles from 2008 through 2011, followed by finishes of second, fifth, fifth and sixth before missing the state meet in both 2016 and 2017. Their 2019 season was a good start; they won a 4A West title and placed sixth at states. They also return four members of their state meet squad, and five freshmen who ran 19:06 or better last year. Senior Alex Scott (number 1201 above) and junior Andrew Schell (1189) lead the returning Wildcats.

Photo by Dan Loughlin

On a Richard Montgomery team full of potential breakout candidates heading into 2019, perhaps none showed greater improvement than junior Elias Applebaum. After running 17:56 at the Great American XC Festival a year before, he clocked a personal-best 15:59 time there last year, making him Montgomery County's second-fastest returning runner. With nine returners from last fall having run 17:45 or faster, the Rockets have the county's deepest team heading into this year.

Photo by Brandon Miles

Whitman's Jackson Megary held the distinction of being the top sophomore finisher at last year's county championships. Megary really came on at the end of the season, finishing nearly as high at the state meet (19th) as he did at the county meet (17th) and running a personal-best 16:01 at the NXR Southeast regional meet.

Photo by John Roemer

Speaking of sophomores, Tinoda Matsatsa was right in the same conversation for top of the class at the county championships last year, finishing just ten seconds behind Megary. The Northwest boys have one of the top underclassman duos in Montgomery County in Matsatsa and rising sophomore Gage Osborne (pictured behind Matsatsa).

Photo by John Roemer

What of the top two teams from last year's meet, Northwood and Blair? The latter enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history last year, edging Dulaney at the state meet for third place. Meanwhile, Northwood won its second consecutive Montgomery County title last year and placed second at states for the second straight year as well. So why do they only rank ninth and tenth, respectively, in the returning virtual meet?

Blair graduated six of its top eight runners from a year ago, leaving only Joel Simpson (above right) and Edward Lyness remaining from last year's team. Meanwhile, Northwood still has senior Timothy Boyce (fastest returning 5K time in the county) and junior Lamar Wilson, but their depth will be tested even further with only three boys with personal bests under 18:30 coming back heading into the year.

Photo by Brandon Miles

Pictured above are two of the three boys to have run under 10 minutes in the 3200 last winter. Walter Johnson's Adam Morad was a regional medalist (14th) at the 4A West meet last fall and a state meet qualifier in the 3200 over the winter. B-CC's Jake McCarty had the slight edge on the course (16th at counties, tenth at regionals) and was also a state meet qualifier in the 3200. Both will be top-ten contenders and integral parts of teams shooting for top three spots in the county this year.