For the second straight season, Urbana High School sophomore Emily Mulhern ran away with the 3A state cross country championship. Saturday's victory at Hereford High School in Parkton, however, was perhaps a little sweeter.
“This year is much more rewarding,” said Mulhern, who ran the hilly Hereford course in 19 minutes, 20.1 seconds to race past runner-up Allison Krein of River Hill and the rest of the field. “There was more pressure coming in here as the favorite and last year, I didn't have my best race.
“I won but I wasn't really happy with my time and this year I got my best time [at Hereford] by about 30 seconds. I was just really happy with my race.”
Mulhern said her strategy was to stay close early on and then race out to the lead before cruising to victory.
“I kind of hung with the girls for the first half mile,” she said. “I was still feeling much in control so I picked it up a little bit and lost the girls and I just tried to maintain my lead the rest of the way. They kept closing the gap and it was definitely a great race. They pushed me to do my best.”
Her performance was not enough to lift Urbana to the state title; that was captured by Reservoir (65) followed by Centennial (73). The Hawks (125) finished in third place. Urbana's Sarah Askine and Kelly Winklbauer took fifth and ninth, respectively, in times of 19:59.7 and 20:19.3.
“It's a tough course,” Urbana coach C.J. Ecalono said. “We had the right strategy and my girls came up big [but] unfortunately, the pack teams of Reservoir and Centennial are going to beat a good team all the time.”
Linganore's Patrick DuBoyce entered as a serious contender as well, but he ran out of gas in the final 150 meters and collapsed off the course. He eventually finished in 130th place. With about 800 meters to go, he trailed the leader by five meters.
“He collapsed; he was on the ground with about 150 meters to go,” Linganore coach Andres Wright said. “He was in trouble for two miles on and he kept trying to do his fastest. He willed himself to about 150 meters to go. He got up and stumbled, but he didn't collapse again. The course is so severe in difficulty that people really blow up.
“They have nothing left. It's not uncommon on this course. As a coach, it was really sad to see a great runner have such a bad day on his last race.”
Dan Beck made sure that Linganore still had the best individual performance of any Montgomery or Frederick County boys runner. He took fifth place in a time of 16:30.4 followed by Albert Einstein's Nick Simpson (6th, 16:35.1), Gov. Thomas Johnson's Ben Freed (7th, 16:35.7) and Einstein's Ben Withbroe (10th, 16:53.4).
The Patriots as a team grabbed second place to host Hereford, 52-115. Einstein placed fourth with a score of 124.
“Second place is a treat,” Thomas Johnson coach Michael Hexter said. “I was kind of looking at third, but they ran super well. Second place is fantastic. They deserve it.”
3A Maryland State Cross Country Championship
1. Harry Bullen (Annapolis) 16:19.5; 2. Danny Rau (Howard) 16:20.2; 3. Jon Luckin (Hereford) 16:22.9; 4. Julian Rivera (Hereford) 16:28.8; 5. Dan Beck (Linganore) 16:30.4; 6. Nick Simpson (Albert Einstein) 16:35.1; 7. Ben Freed (Thomas Johnson) 16:35.7; 8. Alec Font (Centennial) 16:36.0; 9. Brendan Johnson (Thomas Stone) 16:37.8; 10. Ben Withbroe (Einstein) 16:53.4.
1. Hereford 52; 2. Thomas Johnson 115; 3. Centennial 120; 4. Albert Einstein 124; 5. Mount Hebron 185; 6. Northern (Calvert County) 214; 7. Reservoir 22; 8. Atholton 226; 9. River Hill 245; 10. Annapolis 286.
1. Emily Mulhern (Urbana) 19:20.1; 2. Allison Krein (River Hill) 19:28.9; 3. Shreya Nalubola (Centennial) 19:37.6; 4. Erin Causey (Hereford) 19:41.7; 5. Sarah Askine (Urbana) 19:59.7; 6. Rachel Yep (Mount Hebron) 20:07.7; 7. Emily Ward (North Hagerstown) 20:09.4; 8. Amy Oliver (Reservoir) 20:11.6; 9. Kelly Winklbauer (Urbana) 20:19.3; 10. Cindy Alms (Reservoir) 20:21.2.
1. Reservoir 65; 2. Centennial 73; 3. Urbana 125; 4. River Hill 138; 5. Hereford 144; 6. North Harford 173; 7. Albert Einstein 237; 8. Linganore 262; 9. Howard 267; 10. Mount Hebron 270.