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Stone’s Johnson takes first in boys as cross country campaign kicks off

By AJ MASON

Staff writer

It was a very humid Wednesday afternoon at Westlake High School as the Wolverines kicked off the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference cross country regular season versus Huntingtown, Northern and Thomas Stone in a quad-meet.

After going the wrong way twice on the Westlake course, Northern senior Rachel Zellman was not to be denied, as she bounced back to earn first-place honors, catapulting the girls team to a sweep.

Kayla Emerson and Hannah Emerson and Megan Delamar all finished in the top 10 for the Patriots.

“This was my first time on the course and I was not too familiar with it,” Zellman said, who came across the finish line at 21 minutes 28.42 seconds, just ahead of Stone senior Rachel Halmon at 21:40.14. “I was trying to break 21 [minutes], but going the wrong way slowed me down. Our team did well; we have a lot of new girls this year. It was humid out today.”

“Rachel got lost twice, and actually had a girl past her, but she got back in the swing of things,” said Northern head coach T.J. Howell, who were without sophomore Julianne Ogden and junior Lindsay Parks, two of the girls team’s top three runners. “I was surprised of how our girls came out, Stone really has some fast girls. Our No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 runners really performed.”

Northern (3-0, 3-0 SMAC) edged Huntingtown 26-29, Stone 23-32, and defeated Westlake 15-50 to open the season on a good note.

Stone (2-1, 2-1) earned a 27-28 victory over Huntingtown and a 15-50 win over the Wolverines. The Hurricanes (1-2, 1-2) picked up a 15-50 victory on Westlake (0-3, 0-3).

“The course had a lot of rocks, and running three miles is not easy,” Halmon said, who also runs indoor and outdoor track and field. “I’m just trying to stay in shape for track season.”

Stone’s Kaceedra Mitchell took third (22:02.06), while Huntingtown’s Bridgett Redding (22:10.45) and Hannah Russell (22:27.48) came in fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

After finishing third at the Seahawks Invitational on Saturday at South River High School in Anne Arundel County, the Northern boys (3-0, 3-0) cruised to an 18-45 victory over Huntingtown and added wins over Stone (20-43) and Westlake (20-41) for the sweep.

Huntingtown (2-1, 2-1) collected victories over Stone (26-33) and Westlake (23-38), while Stone (1-2, 1-2) picked up a win over Westlake (0-3, 0-3), 23-38.

In the boys race, Stone senior Brendan Johnson claimed the top spot at 16:48.22, outlasting Northern senior Justin Cerrito (16:55.48).

Johnson was in a rush before he started the race.

“It was really hot, and I barely got my shoes on or warmed up,” he said. “The first two miles Justin and I were neck-and-neck, but in the last 800 to 400 meters, I had a couple surges to win it. It was the first meet, so I know I could of went 16 [minutes] even. I felt pretty positive about the outcome of the race.”

“We had an early test and I think this was a solid start to the season for us,” Cerrito said. “We have a lot of depth this season and with the addition of Scott makes us even better, he really pushes me in practice.”

Along with Cerrito, Scott Carpenter took third (17:23.30), while Corey Heim, Thatcher Owen, Liam Mogonigal and Matt Bennett finished eighth through 10th, respectively.

“Our boys are very deep, we have 40 on the team this year,” Howell said. “We have 17 freshmen and two are fighting to be in the top 10. We have a lot of youth and I was happy with the way we came out today.”

Huntingtown senior Christopher Casavecchia took fourth overall (17:43.23), while Westlake sophomore Jereamy Hall finished in the fifth spot.

“I was very pleased this was the first time I’ve ran under 18 minutes,” Casavecchia said. “I was worried about Stone and Northern, they really had some fast guys.”

Hall, who mentioned that he ran around 19 minutes last season, was happy to make a big improvement of running under 18 minutes at 17:48.23.

“The hard work over the summer really paid off,” Hall said. “I really felt good today, it was hot, but I my goal is to finish in the top 10 at the SMAC meet.”

“I was very pleased with our first meet,” Westlake girls head coach Donzella Hartwill said. “Our returning runners had significant drops in their times from last year and our new runners are living up to the potential we see in them.”

ajmason@somdnews.com

Results

Boys

Northern 18, Huntingtown 45; Northern 20, Thomas Stone 43; Northern 20, Westlake 41; Huntingtown 26, Thomas Stone 33; Huntingtown 23, Westlake 38; Thomas Stone 23, Westlake 38

1. Johnson (TS) 16:48.22, 2. Cerrito (N) 16:55.64, 3. Carpenter (N) 17:23.30, 4. Casavecchia (H) 17:43.23, 5. Hall (W) 17:48.23)

Girls

Northern 26, Huntingtown 29; Northern 23, Thomas Stone 32; Northern 15, Westlake 50; Thomas Stone 27, Huntingtown 28; Thomas Stone 15, Westlake 50; Huntingtown 15, Westlake 50

1. Zellman (N) 21:28.14, 2. Halmon (TS) 21:40.14, 3. Mitchell (TS) 22:02.06, 4.Redding (H) 22:10.45, 5.Russell (H) 22:27.48