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Calvert girls cross country wins 2A state title, L-town finishes 16th in 4A


Staff writer

PARKTON It was a single brown door that sat unmoved for several minutes following the Class 2A state girls cross country championship at Hereford High School in Baltimore County on Saturday.

As that door sat unmoved, the Calvert Cavaliers girls sat directly in front of it, waiting patiently.

The girls had done their part in attempting to win the first-ever state cross country championship for Calvert by finishing three runners inside of the top-11 spots, but it was not official until a Maryland state official came out of that brown door and posted the results.

Once that official emerged from the results and scoring room and posted the scores and times, a loud, but quick, burst of emotion came from the Calvert group of girls as it was official.

The Calvert Cavaliers, under head coach John Major, won the school’s first-ever cross country state title with 57 points.

“This is awesome,” said Major, a nine-year cross country coach with the school, eight as head coach. “Calvert High has never had a state champion in cross country before. It’s fantastic. This season has already done a lot. The recognition gets more kids wanting to come out and be a part of the team and that success. It breeds involvement and participation.”

Leading Calvert was Courtney Mattson who placed fourth overall in 20 minutes 1.8 seconds and teammates Hannah Aris (20:15.8) and Elizabeth Hite (20:30.7) who finished seventh and 11th overall, respectively.

“Our season has been amazing,” Mattson said. “This is what we have been dreaming about all season. All season, our coach has been pushing us harder and harder because he knows that, even if we didn’t, we’re capable of winning this meet. This is just the icing on the cake for our team.”

Aris added, “I am still trying to absorb it all because I would have never guessed I would have finished in seventh. The thing that I am most happy about is that all of my team, all of our runners, did so well today.”

The Cavaliers finish off a dream season that included an undefeated regular season Southern Maryland Athletic Conference title, a SMAC championship meet title and a 2A South Region title.

Brianna Hite, Carli Stewart, Kim Gerber and Liane Porter also ran for Calvert and helped etch the new pages of athletic history for the school.

The Patuxent Panthers girls finished eighth overall as a team in the 2A state meet with 231 team points.

Patuxent senior Rachel Herzog medaled in the girls 2A race, finishing 22nd overall with a time of 21:12.7.

Elizabeth Allison, Madeline Illar, Kristina Wright, Arianna Maine, Hannah Pulley and Sarah Mazur also helped the Panthers achieve its eighth-place team finish.

The 4A state title went to Bethesda-Chevy Chase with 67 points. North Point placed 15th overall as a team with 354 points and Leonardtown placed 16th overall with 380.

For two of the top seniors from both programs, D’Atra Davis of North Point and Rachel LaBatt of Leonardtown, their cross country careers come to an end.

“To have a great season and not finish it [is unfortunate],” said an admittedly disappointed Davis, who placed 35th overall in 21:07. “Seeing girls pass you who you beat 1,000 times at the state meet [is unfortunate]. I don’t think anything from this race was positive other than I’m here. I know I can do a lot better. This is the only goal that I didn’t meet this year.”

LaBatt placed 43rd overall individually with a time of 21:20 in the 4A girls race.

“It’s kind of sad to say goodbye to it, but it’s a moving on to the next chapter of my life kind of thing,” LaBatt said. “Cross country means so much to me and it always will.”

The 3A girls state championship went to Reservoir of Howard County with 65 team points.

Huntingtown finished 13th overall with 351 team points, Northern finished 16th with 381, Thomas Stone placed 17th overall with 402 points and La Plata placed 20th overall with 554.

Stone runners Rachel Halmon and Kaceedra Mitchell were individual medal winners with their respective 20th- and 23rd-place finishes. Halmon in 20:37.7 and Mitchell in 20:40.8.

“This year, I was just trying to come in the top 25 because last year I came in [39th] place,” Halmon said. “This is my last year and I was thinking, ‘I really want to get a medal at [Hereford].”

Mitchell added, “I would say today was good. I got out fast, I tried to stay with the lead pack for as long as I could and I tried to push myself up the hills when they came. … I am excited about getting a medal.”