Four teams competed in the final Southern Maryland Athletic Conference cross country meet of the regular season at Westlake High School on Wednesday, but only one boys team can boast going undefeated.
That team would be the Chopticon boys, who swept Great Mills, La Plata and Westlake to wrap up the regular season at 13-0 overall. The Braves defeated the Hornets (16-43), the Warriors (16-45) and the Wolverines (15-47) as the team had the first four runners cross the finish line.
Tyler Modrzejewski was boys winner of the day with a time of 16 minutes 9.34 seconds.
“It was kind of a difficult course,” Modrzejewski said. “It was kind of hard to see where we were going, but we figured it out and finished it, that’s all that matters. Thanks to Westlake, La Plata and Great Mills for giving us a good race and Jeff for pushing me and helping us make it. It feels pretty good coming off an ankle injury.”
Zachary Wedding was in hot pursuit of Modrzejewski, finishing just a body length behind in second with a time of 16:09.81. Third place went to Jeffrey Wedding (16:10.45) and Blake Davis was fourth (20:27.10).
“The race didn’t go as I expected,” said Zachary Wedding, a sophomore. “I was coming into the race hoping to break 16, but I made some wrong turns and at one point we were walking and looking around where to go, but I was actually pleased with my time. It’s pretty good, I believe we’re 13-0 now, so it’s a pretty good score this year. I knew we could come out on top and get that 1-2-3 finish. I’m expecting us to win SMAC actually, we just have to keep pushing it at practice and not take it easy.”
“Our top three boys really showed off today,” Chopticon head coach Kelly Schmidt said. “They were a little disappointed because they wanted to get in the 15’s and made a couple of wrong turns but they still got 16’s and came in 1-2-3. We’re healthy and ready to go [for the postseason].”
Great Mills’ top finisher was Kevin McDanal, who placed fifth (20:36.14) as the Hornets (6-7) picked up two wins on the day with a 25-30 win over La Plata and 22-37 over Westlake.
The fastest runner for La Plata was Michael Granger with a time of 20:39.05, finishing sixth. The Warriors (6-7) got a win on the day, edging Westlake (5-8) 23-32. The Wolverines’ top finisher was Charlie Ucles who ran a time of 21:07.38 to take eighth overall.
“Well with some kids getting slightly lost on the course, we did pretty well,” Schmidt said. “We should be 13-0 for the boys still. Our girls really pushed today, too. Our top-3 boys pushed really, really well. I think that if our boys didn’t get lost on the course, they wouldn’t have been so far back because they’ve never run that time.
“We appreciate the competition, we appreciate the push from La Plata, Westlake and Great Mills. We are excited to see them at the SMAC championships in a week. I want them to win the SMAC championship and regionals, then we will head to states. And the girls, we plan for them to go to states and maybe place in the top four for SMAC.”
Great Mills had the top three finishers en route to sweeping the competition on Wednesday.
Freshman Cooper Brotherton finished first in 19:47.59 followed by freshman Sophie Chan (20:38.81) and Jolie Ganzell (20:51.73) as the Hornets (8-4-1) defeated Chopticon 24-31, La Plata 16-43 and Westlake 15-44.
“I’m really proud of my finish,” Brotherton said. “It was a little confusing at times, just the marking of the course, they weren’t specific about it. But overall I think me and Great Mills did a great job. It really was great to experience this course, and every week getting to race a new course is great and to compete against other athletes. We have SMAC coming up so we need to start prepping for that to get good results.”
“It went great,” Great Mills head coach Daniel Morris said. “On the girls side, our top-3 girls finished in first, second and third which is always comforting for the rest of the race because if you get those, you’ve won. Those three have performed well all season long.”
He added: “For Cooper, this is the second race where she has been the outright overall winner, so that’s a lot of fun and exciting for her. We’re also excited about SMAC because we have a small but powerful team. Even for the next several years coming, we have a young team, so I’m excited to see where our goals will be next year as well.”
Chopticon had the next four spots, including Rosemary Wild who placed fourth (21:01.76) and Julia Brown (21:48.32) to round out the top-5. The Braves (8-5) got two victories on the day, defeating La Plata 16-47 and Westlake 15-49.
Maya Stevens had the fastest time for La Plata with a ninth-place finish of 23:01.44. Courtney Schaefer was Westlake’s top finisher, placing 13th in 24:44.48. The Warriors (6-7) picked up a win on the day, defeating the Wolverines (1-11-1) 22-37.
“It was good,” said Eyana Dixon, who finished second for La Plata and 16th overall (25:59.98). “I think we could have done a lot better if we knew the course, but I think everybody did really good today and finished strong. I just kept pushing, I’m just doing cross country for conditioning, but it’s really not that bad. I think today was a good day to beat my personal record, which is the best of the season, so it means I am making progress and getting better.”