Photo by Howard Anderson
Boys Runner of the Decade: Dalton Hengst (McDonogh School, Class of 2018)
Personal Bests: 15:58 3M, 14:57 5K
Medals: 3 conference, 3 state
Hengst joined McDonogh in the fall of 2014, forming one of the best senior-freshman tandems in recent Maryland history alongside fellow all-decade runner Mikey Singer. Hengst wasted no time making his mark on the Maryland scene, breaking 16 minutes in his second race (his 15:54 time was the fastest by any Maryland freshman this past decade, edging out Loyola's Michael Wegner). Hengst finished third at the conference meet before placing 54th at the Team Nationals Southeast regional meet; there, he was the second-fastest freshman behind only eventual three-time regional winner Brodey Hasty. At the outset of his sophomore season Hengst was already one of the state's top runners, finishing second and third at the Barnhart and Bull Run invitationals, respectively, before winning his first high school XC race at the Georgetown Prep Classic. He went on to finish the season with two more victories, picking up his first of three consecutive MIAA and Maryland Private School titles (the latter featured a showdown with Good Counsel senior Jack Wavering). In 2016, Hengst ran no slower than 15:44 in any race of the season, including wins at the Manhattan and Third Battle invitationals (his first wins outside state borders). After the conference and state meets Hengst, along with fellow Maryland runner Will Merritt, qualified for Foot Locker Nationals by finishing fifth at the northeast regional meet in New York City. He would finish 21st out the 40-man field in San Diego. Hengst's senior cross country season was possibly the best individual season by any Maryland runner this decade. Aside from a ninth-place finish at the Manhattan Invitational, Hengst went undefeated through the private school state meet, including sub-15 wins at both the Paul Short and Great American invitationals. His senior season ended much like his junior one - a fourth-place finish at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional meet, followed by a 24th-place finish at the national championships in San Diego.
Hengst is the only Maryland boy to have individually qualified twice for either Team Nationals or Foot Locker Nationals over the past decade (Severna Park's Kevin Hines and Clay Whitney both competed in 2013 and 2014 as part of their national qualifying teams). He was the only runner to break 15 minutes in the 5K, which he did twice as a senior. He ran the fastest 4K time of any Maryland runner at the Manhattan Invitational over the course of the decade and the the fastest times of the decade at the Agricultural Farm Park in Derwood and the Carlisle High School course in Pennsylvania. He was the only three-time MIAA A conference and MD-DC Private School individual champion of the decade.
College: University of Mississippi
Personal Bests: 18:10 6K, 23:40 8K, 31:49 10K
Hengst immediately made an impact at Ole Miss, helping the Rebels win the SEC team title. He placed 31st at the NCAA DI South regionals and competed at the 2018 NCAA DI Championships. Hengst ran his 8K personal best at the 2019 SEC Championships, finishing 25th.
Camden Gilmore (Loyola-Blakefield High School, Class of 2019)
Photo by Craig Amoss
Personal Bests: 15:57 3M, 15:28 5K
Gilmore broke into the conference as a freshman in the fall of 2015, a year during which Loyola relinquished its spot atop the conference to Mount St. Joseph. He competed with the Dons' varsity squad throughout the season and was the top freshman at the conference meet (16th). After three of their top runners from the class of 2016 graduated, Gilmore became one of the team's top runners as a sophomore, clocking a 16:45 season best and improving to 11th at the conference meet. While Loyola fell back to third place at the conference meet that year, Gilmore would make sure that it would not stay that way for long. In 2017, Gilmore opened the season with back-to-back fourth place finishes, including a 15:57 5K at the Barnhart Invitational. At the MIAA Championships in November, Gilmore was the top non-senior finisher at fourth overall; perhaps even more importantly, Gilmore's finish helped Loyola reclaim its spot atop the conference, beating the two-time defending champions from Mount St. Joseph by seven points. He wrapped up his junior season with a 35th-place finish at the Team Nationals Southeast regional meet. As a senior Gilmore opened with perhaps the biggest win of his career at the Howard County Invitational. He clocked back-to-back mid-15s performances outside state borders before returning for the conference meet, where he was edged by Calvert Hall junior Owen Johnson in one of the best MIAA races of the decade. Gilmore, however, did lead the Dons to their second consecutive MIAA title, this time beating Johnson's Cardinals by only two points. He finished his cross country career with a 29th-place finish at Team Nationals Southeast.
Between 2010 and 2019, he was one of just five MIAA boys to break 15:30 in the 5K, joining four others on this list. Gilmore's 15:31 performance at the Paul Short Invitational was the third-fastest time by a Maryland runner at the meet since 2010, behind only Hengst and Johnson. Between 2015 and 2018 he was one of just five Maryland boys to break 16 minutes on Centennial's home course.
College: Georgetown University
Matt Jablonski (Loyola-Blakefield High School, Class of 2011)
Photo by Bud Keegan
Personal Bests: 16:11 3M, 15:14 5K
Medals: 2 conference
In 2007, Jablonski joined a Loyola program that finished a distant third at the conference championships in each of his first two seasons. By the time he left in 2011, they had won back-to-back conference titles. He was immediately the team's top runner in the fall of 2007, clocking a 16:48 season best 5K and finishing eighth at the conference meet. The next season, Jablonski was once again a top-ten finisher at the MIAA Championships, but it wasn't until his sophomore track season that Jablonski really broke out, clocking a 4:18 1600 to win the outdoor conference title. He returned to the course in 2009 as one of the state's top distance runners, finishing fourth or better at three invitationals in September. He picked up his first individual XC victory in November at the MIAA Championships, and his win was a big one; he beat out Calvert Hall senior Nick Rowe by seven seconds, and that was the deciding factor in a one-point Loyola team victory. He finished the season by placing eighth at the MD/DC Private School Championships and 21st at the Team Nationals Southeast regional meet. His 2010 track season elevated him into the national spotlight on the strength of a 9:02 full two mile victory at the Danbury Dream Invitational. In the fall of 2010, Jablonski turned in some dominant performances, including a 15:14 performance at the Barnhart Invitational and a 48-second victory at the MIAA Championships, where both he and the Loyola boys repeated as champions. It was truly a November to remember for Jablonski; after winning the conference title, he squared off against fellow eventual national qualifier John McGowan in one of the best races in MD/DC Private School history. He rebounded from a loss to McGowan by winning the Jesuit Championships in New York City, and then placed second at the Team Nationals Southeast Regionals (the highest finish by a Maryland runner, male or female, at either national qualifying meet since Sherwood's Solomon Haile in 2008). He rounded out his cross country career at Loyola with a 30th-place finish at Team Nationals.
Jablonski's 15:14 5K at the 2010 Barnhart Invitational was the seventh-fastest 5K time of the decade in Maryland, and the second-fastest on Maryland soil behind only Dalton Hengst's 15:10 time at the 2017 Barnhart Invitational. Jablonski's 15:14 was the fastest of the decade at Dulaney High School as the 2017 Barnhart Invitational was held at the Baltimore County Agricultural Center. His margin of victory at the 2010 MIAA Championships was easily the largest spread of any MIAA championship meet throughout the 2010s.
College: University of Oregon
Personal Bests: 24:27 8K
Jablonski competed for Oregon in parts of the 2011, 2013 and 2014 cross country seasons. He ran his 8K personal best at the 2014 Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational.
Owen Johnson (Calvert Hall College High School, Class of 2020)
Photo by Craig Amoss
Personal Bests: 16:28 3M, 15:24 5K
Medals: 2 conference
Much like many of the runners on this list, Johnson elevated a Calvert Hall program that finished fifth at the conference meet during his sophomore season in 2017 to the top of the conference by the time he graduated. Johnson was a member of the Cardinals' varsity team from the beginning of his freshman season in the fall of 2016, placing 17th at the conference meet as the second-highest-placing freshman. After winning the conference JV 1600 title that spring, he came back in 2017 ready to roll. He opened that season with a 16:35 5K in Pennsylvania and followed it up with four straight performances of sixth place or better. That season, at a loaded MIAA Championship meet, Johnson placed fifth, clocking a 16:02 season best that was just 12 seconds behind the fourth-place finisher, Camden Gilmore. As a junior, Johnson only competed at a handful of invitationals throughout September, running as fast at 16:17 at the Paul Short Invitational (44 seconds behind Gilmore). That's why, in context, his narrow victory over Gilmore at the MIAA Championships that November was one of the bigger surprises of the 2018 cross country season. Even as Johnson had climbed to the top of the conference, however, it wasn't quite enough to get Calvert Hall to the same spot, as they fell just two spots shy of Loyola for the conference title. The 2019 season, however, was a different story. Johnson immediately ran a 15:46 5K to open up the season, then followed it up with back-to-back sub-15:30 performances at the Paul Short and Third Battle invitationals. This time, Johnson's victory at the conference meet came as no surprise as he put 20 seconds between him and the field. The cherry on top? The Cardinals avenged their narrow defeat from a season before, dominating with just 27 total points to win their first team title of the decade. Johnson finished his season with a 13th-place finish at the Foot Locker Northeast regional meet, just three spots away from qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals.
Johnson was one of just five Maryland boys to have broken 16 minutes at the Foot Locker Northeast regional meet since 2008, joining Dalton Hengst, Chase Weaverling, Will Merritt and Will Bertrand. His 15:24 5K personal best in 2019 was the fastest time by a Maryland runner outside of Cary, North Carolina since Dalton Hengst in 2017. Johnson was the leader of a Calvert Hall team that scored a decade-low 27 points at the 2019 MIAA Championships.
College: Georgetown University
Mikey Singer (McDonogh School, Class of 2015)
Photo by John Roemer
Personal Bests: 15:40 3M, 15:32 5K
Singer did not run cross country as a freshman in the fall of 2011, but after winning the freshman mile at New Balance Outdoor Nationals that spring, he was squarely on the conference radar entering his sophomore year. Singer didn't wait long to win his first race of his cross country career, a 24-second victory in the unseeded race at the Georgetown Prep Classic in October. He wrapped up his sophomore campaign on the course with a 16:10, runner-up performance at the conference championships. In 2013, Singer kicked off his cross country season by breaking the 16-minute barrier at the Lake Forest Invitational, a performance he replicated a few weeks later at the Barnhart Invitational. For the second year in a row, Singer finished second at the conference meet behind Loyola's Tyler Spear, helping lead McDonogh to a second-place finish in the process. As a senior in 2014, Singer was part of one of the best invitational races of the decade; in a race that featured eventual 4A state champion Eric Walz, 3A state champion Nick Fransham and 2A track champion Matthew Kane, Singer placed second, clocking a 15:32 5K personal best. With Spear having graduated, Singer had a shot at his first individual conference title; however, it was fellow all-decade runner Michael Wegner who forced Singer to settle for his third consecutive runner-up finish at the MIAA Championships. He rounded out his cross country career at McDonogh with a 15:36, 22nd-place finish at Team Nationals Southeast.
Singer's 15:32 5K is the sixth-fastest by an MIAA runner over the course of the decade, and it was the fifth-fastest time at Dulaney High School since 2010. He, along with Dalton Hengst, was one of just two runners to have finished second or higher three separate times at the MIAA Championships over the course of the decade.
College: U.S. Military Academy
Personal Bests: 24:50 8K, 33:12 10K
Singer enjoyed his best season at Army-West Point as a senior in the fall of 2018. That year he clocked a personal-best 24:50 in the 8K at the Paul Short Invitational, then placed fifth at the Patriot League Championships. In his final cross country race at Army-West Point Singer finished 11th at the NCAA DI Northeast regional meet.
Tyler Spear (Loyola-Blakefield High School, Class of 2014)
Photo by Jeffrey George
Personal Bests: 16:30 3M, 15:07 5K
Medals: 2 conference
While Tyler Spear didn't crack Loyola's varsity squad until the fall of 2011 he was instrumental in continuing the program's run of success that Matt Jablonski had kicked off in the years prior. Spear broke out during his sophomore year, breaking 17 minutes in the first race of the season and never looking back. He was the team's fourth finisher at the MIAA Championships that year, finishing eighth overall and helping Loyola capture its third consecutive conference title. The team would lose two of the runners that had finished ahead of him the next year, leaving a hole that Spear would step up and fill as a junior. He kicked off the 2012 season with three straight top-five performances at major invitationals, including a 16:11 runner-up finish at the Barnhart Invitational. Spear ran away with the conference title, breaking 16 minutes for the first time and helping Loyola defend its team title by just four points ahead of a senior-laden Calvert Hall squad. He wrapped up his junior season with a second-place finish at the Jesuit Championships and a top-20 effort at Team Nationals Southeast. After winning two more individual MIAA titles on the track, Spear came into the 2013 season as one of the state's top returning runners. He responded by winning two of his first three meets of the year, including a dominant 15:31 victory at the Barnhart Invitational. Spear put 30 seconds between him and Singer at the conference meet as Loyola won its fifth straight MIAA title. Spear's best performance, however, came on Thanksgiving weekend in North Carolina, where he ran 15:07 - good for third place - at the Team Nationals Southeast meet, becoming just the second Maryland boy (along with fellow Don Matt Jablonski) of the decade to qualify individually for nationals. At Team Nationals, he placed 72nd to wrap up his high school cross country career.
Spear was one of just four Maryland runners to run under 15:10 throughout the decade, joining Hengst, Garrison Clark and Sam Keeny. His performance in 2013 made him just the fourth Maryland runner, at that point, to qualify individually for Team Nationals, joining Matt Centrowitz, Andrew Palmer and Jablonski. From 2010 through 2014, his 5K time of 16:34 was the third-fastest clocked on Centennial High School's course.
College: Harvard University
Personal Bests: 19:33 6K, 25:32 8K, 33:10 10K
Spear clocked his 8K personal best during his first year of competing on the cross country course at the 2016 Ivy League Championships. The next year, Spear placed 43rd at the NCAA DI Northeast Regional meet, the only time he ran at the meet.
Michael Wegner (Loyola-Blakefield High School, Class of 2015)
Photo by Chuck Martin
Personal Bests: 15:31 3M, 15:38 5K
Medals: 1 conference, 1 state
Wegner burst onto the scene with Loyola in the fall of 2011, stepping up alongside eventual MIAA individual champion Kevin Corbusier to more than make up for losing Matt Jablonski. He ran 16:00 in his first high school cross country race at the Peter Geraghty Invitational and went on to record multiple top ten performances throughout the season, including at the MIAA Championships (sixth) and MD/DC Private School Championships (fifth). He wrapped up an outstanding freshman season with a 15:54 season best at the Team Nationals Southeast meet, good for 31st place. In 2012, Wegner did not compete with the Loyola team, but continued to find success, winning the MD/DC Private School title while competing unattached and running 15:38 at the Team Nationals Southeast regional meet. Wegner wrapped up the year with a win at the 2012 AAU National Championships in Rock Hill, SC. He competed for Loyola once again that spring, finishing second at the conference championship in the 3200 and forming one of the top distance duos in the conference alongside Tyler Spear. Although Wegner was not in peak form to begin the 2013 cross country season, he did finish the year by placing fifth at the conference meet (helping Loyola dominate the team standings) and run a season-best time of 16:16 at the southeast regional meet. Wegner won his first individual MIAA title that spring in the 3200 and came back to the course the next year, although he still wasn't back in peak form to begin the year. After having run just 16:41 leading up to the MIAA Championships, Wegner regained his sophomore form, surprisingly beating out Mikey Singer for the conference title, making it six straight years a Loyola runner won the conference title. He wrapped up his career with a 15:45 performance at Team Nationals Southeast.
In both 2011 and 2012 Wegner led all runners in his class in the 5K; his 15:54.2 season best as a freshman in 2011 was just two seconds behind Dalton Hengst for the fastest freshman time of the decade, and his 15:38 time as a sophomore trailed only Richard Montgomery's Garrett Suhr. His 15:44 time at the Agricultural Farm Park in Derwood was tied for the third-fastest by runners of any state since 2010, trailing only John McGowan and Dalton Hengst.
College: U.S. Naval Academy
Personal Bests: 27:01 8K
Wegner ran his 8K personal best at the 2015 Salisbury Fall Classic.
All-Conference Second Team:
Kevin Corbusier (Loyola-Blakefield High School, Class of 2012)
Eric Gibson (Gilman School, Class of 2018)
Henry Hardart (Archbishop Spalding High School, Class of 2020)'
Frankie Legambi (Loyola-Blakefield High School, Class of 2016)
Hunter Petrik (Mount St. Joseph High School, Class of 2018)
Kikanae Punyua (Glenelg Country School, Class of 2011)
Lucas Wright (McDonogh School, Class of 2017)
Table of Champions:
2010 (Oregon Ridge Park): Matt Jablonski (Loyola-Blakefield) - 15:11
2011: Kevin Corbusier (Loyola-Blakefield) - 15:52
2012: Tyler Spear (Loyola-Blakefield) - 15:58
2013: Tyler Spear (Loyola-Blakefield) - 15:41
2014: Michael Wegner (Loyola-Blakefield) - 15:31
2015 (Stevenson University): Dalton Hengst (McDonogh) - 16:06
2016: Dalton Hengst (McDonogh) - 15:29
2017 (Oregon Ridge Park): Dalton Hengst (McDonogh) - 15:35
2018 (McDaniel College): Owen Johnson (Calvert Hall) - 16:22
2019: Owen Johnson (Calvert Hall) - 16:20