Author: Brian Lau
The conclusion of the regular season continues as Howard County hosts its county meet. The 2021 Howard County XC Championships held at the infamous Centennial course year after year never disappoints.
The county races will be separated into a varsity (Top 10) and JV for each gender with the boys running first and then the girls. Following the graduation of top runners such as Cameron Hindle and Baidy Ba, this year's meet is looking ultra-competitive compared to previous years, so expect many fast times to come.
On the boy's individual side, Antonio Camacho-Bucks of Centennial (home favorite) has been on a mission to prove himself as one of the state and nation's best, and he is not looking to stop his dominant streak here. With multiple first and second-place finishes this season across the Northeast, most notably a second-place finish (2.5 mile, 12:48.20) at the 2021 Manhattan College XC Invitational, as well as a third-place finish (5K, 15:33.00) at the 28th Annual Carlisle Invitational, Camacho-Bucks could possibly pull himself and his team to victory on his home turf. To add, Camacho-Bucks raced on the Centennial course earlier this season at the 2021 Eagle XC Invitational, where he snagged a first-place finish with a time of 15:23.00 for a 3-mile.
However, Howard's Joseph Raudabaugh is not going to let Camacho-Bucks have the win easily. He's been on a tear of his own this season and could very well earn himself the title of the county's best runner this season. With multiple first-place finishes, including a very impressive win against some of Maryland's best at the 2021 Maryland XC Invitational with a 5K time of 15:30 and another win at the 2021 Great American XC Festival in a 5K time of 15:33, Raudabaugh looks geared to make a run for the title against Camacho-Bucks. Other potential contenders include Ethan Aidam of Oakland Mills (placed second at the Eagle Invitational behind Camacho-Bucks), the duo from Long Reach of Christian Brower and Alejandro Cabrera, and Luke LasCasas of Centennial.
On the team side, it will be a 3-team race between Howard, Centennial, and River Hill. Back at the Eagle Invitational, Centennial and River Hill went 1-2 with River Hill missing one of its top runners, Bryce Handa. With Handa coming back from injury and the rest of their top 5 recently throwing down some fast times, River Hill could very well see the team title come their way. Howard, led by Raudabaugh, will try and intercept the team title. With their 1-5 spread being pretty even and improving throughout the entire season, it will likely come down to their 3rd-5th guys to bring home the title. Similarly, Centennial's core trio of Antonio Camacho-Bucks, Luke LasCasas, and Alexander White will need to place well in order to see their team emerge with the victory on their home turf.
On the girl's individual and team side, Howard is projected to dominate the meet on both ends. With the top 5 projected finishes all coming in from Howard, it seems as if their dominance will extend from the individual rankings to the team rankings. Nimrit Ahuja comes in as your top contender with a blistering 18:41 5K season-best from the 2021 Great American XC Festival and a 5th place finish at the 2021 PTXC 12.2 meet-up in Pennsylvania. Similarly, Howard's Kiley Mann and Jasmine Wilson come in not far behind with an 18:43 5K and 19:01 5K season-best, respectively. Other contenders, both from Howard, include Elizabeth Holcombe (4th at the PTXC 12.2 meet as the team's top runner) and Hannah Schwab (with a season-best of 19:14 at the Great American XC Festival). Some other potential dark horses include Chloe McGeehan of River Hill, Gabrielle Shord from Atholton, and Frankie Moore of Oakland Mills.
The team race is projected to be a Howard sweep, but the battle for second looks to be brewing. With Atholton and Reservoir all having similar 1-5 averages, it could be anyone's race for second. Led by freshman Gabrielle Shord, Atholton will look for their 1-2 punch of Shord and Chiara Sforza to help keep their spread down. Similarly, Reservoir led by Leilah Clark and Caroline Rosenberry will look to contest Atholton for 2nd.
No matter what the outcome tomorrow, there will be a guarantee of fast times and furious competition synonymous with the Howard County Championships.
MileSplit Maryland will be covering the meet with photos, race footage, and interviews. Find them here: