Photo by Howard Anderson
Juliette Whittaker had one of the best sophomore seasons of any distance runner in Maryland state history last year. She clocked a 17:16 personal best, qualified for Foot Locker XC Nationals (and placed 13th) and then set a Maryland state record in the indoor 800 (2:03.01) before the outdoor season was cancelled. If the first few open races of the 2020 fall season are any indication, Whittaker is still very much on an upward trajectory.
Two weeks after running a 17:01 three-mile at Utica Park, Whittaker returned and shaved 16 seconds off that time. Her 16:45 time is the fastest three-mile time in our database ranging back to 2010, beating Hannah Oneda's 16:58 personal best time. Still only a junior, Whittaker continued improvement has her one track to put together possibly the most impressive distance resumé in Maryland state history. The cancellation of this year's Foot Locker Nationals means she will have to wait another year to join Abigail Green as two-time nationals qualifiers in recent state history.
If it wasn't for Whittaker, South River senior Bronwyn Patterson would have been the story of the meet. After missing last cross country season Patterson came back during the indoor season in top form, winning two state titles. The 2018 4A state cross country champion ran 17:39 at Sunday's meet, and would likely be the top challenger to Richard Montgomery's Charlotte Turesson (last year's state runner-up) if a 4A state meet is to be contested in the spring. Towson's Madeline Till, Broadneck's Mollie Fenn and Middletown's Erin McQuitty (the defending 2A state champion) rounded out the top five.
The boys' champion, Kent Island's Finn Walsh, also went wire-to-wire, although his victory was not as dominant as Whittaker's. Walsh missed most of the indoor season after an excellent junior cross country season (conference and regional champion, 2A state runner-up) but came out in top form on Sunday in his second race of the 2020 fall season. His 15:11 time would have been the fourth-fastest of the year last fall, trailing only Anish Nanjappa, Tanner Piotrowski and Sam Keeny. Walsh also recently clocked a 4:22 1600 at the most recent Bullseye Track Meet on September 24.
Trailing closely behind Walsh the entire race were Marriotts Ridge's Grayson Max Crockett and Dulaney's Tyler Dailey. Both Crockett (13th at the 2019 3A state meet) and Dailey (18th at the 4A state meet) finished within ten seconds of Walsh, and Dailey's 15:20 time is the third-fastest sophomore three-mile time since 2010 behind only Antonio Camacho-Bucks (this year) and Ty Franks (in 2013).