Runners from across the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference will compete for state championships Saturday at Hereford High School in Parkton.
Northern, the three-time defending 3A girls state champion, will look to capture another state title when the action gets underway at 10 a.m.
“I think our odds of winning are about the same as last year at this point,” Northern head coach Josh Dawson said. “We went into the state meet last year not the favorite, due to getting beat by the favorite, Bel Air, earlier in the season at Bull Run. The same exact thing has happened this year. I think there’s a chance. Everything has to go our way for us to pull it off, but I believe we still have a chance.”
Oakley Olson, the 3A girls state champion from last year for Huntingtown, will look to win her second consecutive state title but now donning the colors for the Patriots. Olson finished second at last week’s Class 3A South Region championships at Oak Ridge Park in Hughesville with a time of 19 minutes 43.4 seconds.
Looking to challenge Olson for the 3A girls state title will be Great Mills sophomore Cooper Brotherton, who won the 3A South meet crown last week (19:30.9).
“We are especially excited to see how Cooper Brotherton performs in the state finals,” Hornets head coach Danny Morris said. “After winning the title of individual champion for the 3A South Region, we are eager to see Cooper test herself against the best in the state at Hereford this Saturday.”
Chopticon’s Blair Fowler will look to finish her season strong at states after a third-place finish at the 3A South meet (19:58.2) and Huntingtown’s Elise Wilcher will look to improve upon a fifth-place finish at regionals (20:40.7).
In the 4A girls state meet, which is scheduled to occur at 10:30 a.m., Leonardtown’s Parker O’Brien will look to help the Raiders push for a team title after a third-place finish at last week’s 4A East Region championships at Centennial High School in Howard County with a time of 19:17.91.
Leonardtown’s Nelle Ray finished 11th last week at regionals (19:49.29) and will look to improve upon her sixth-place finish at states last year (19:37.09).
“Our goal is for the runners to pack up and work together to get the best placements possible for individual runners but also for the teams,” Raiders head coach Brooke Fallon said. “They have no other races for cross country this season, and their first competition for winter sports will not be for a while, so they have nothing to lose by giving their best performance at states. We will be sad to see our seniors go, but they have worked with the underclassmen well to show them the ropes for next season.”
In the 2A state meet, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Calvert will look to repeat the success the team had at last week’s 2A South Region championships as Kristen Prince, Dana Miller and Emily Mutchler finished first through third, respectively.
Patuxent will cheer on its girls led by seniors Justine Willey and Camille Izdepski, who both earned top-10 finishes at the 2A South meet.
La Plata’s girls team is led by Margaret Stine, who along with Lackey senior Annie Landgraf and freshman Kaylee Alvey qualified for states after successful finishes inside the top 15 at the 2A South meet.
On the boys side, the 3A state meet, which is scheduled to be raced at 11 a.m., will be loaded with some of the top runners in SMAC from the 2019 season.
Chopticon brothers Zach and Jeff Wedding will look to improve upon third- and fifth-place finishes, respectively, from the 2018 state meet. Zach Wedding finished fourth at last week’s 3A South Region meet (16:54.9) just ahead of his brother Jeff who earned fifth (17:02.3).
North Point’s duo of DeVion Bryant and Josh Doughty finished one-two at the 3A South meet and helped the Eagles capture their first regional title and the team will look to match its success at the state meet Saturday.
Great Mills will be led by Jeremiah Rhoton, who finished 10th in the 3A South meet (17:40.0) and helped lead the Hornets to a sixth-place finish as a team to qualify for the state meet.
“Both the boys and girls cross country teams qualified for the state finals, and I am proud of all of our runners for the work that they put in this season,” Morris said. “Both teams grew tremendously from August through November, and I am excited to coach them through one last meet this season.”
Conor McGirr will anchor the Huntingtown boys after a third-place finish at the 3A South meet (16:35.9) along with Thomas Foulkes who finished seventh (17:29.8).
“I’m really proud of their efforts,” Hurricanes head coach Deb Morgan said. “The boys are a mixed group of veterans and a large number of new young runners and they are doing a great job working together and pushing each other.”
Northern’s Gabe Amisano and Cameron King will anchor the Patriots boys after top-10 finishes at the 3A South meet last week.
In the 4A boys state meet, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Brandon Grabenstein and Nick Grooms will lead Leonardtown after both finished inside the top 20 at last week’s 4A East Region championships.
“We are excited about the state championship meet on Saturday,” Fallon said. “We hit a reset button this week to focus on our last meet together.
In the 2A boys state meet, scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Carter Singletary will lead Calvert after capturing the individual title at last week’s 2A South Region championships (17:00.2) and leading his team to a team title as well.
Patuxent junior Logan Musumeci and La Plata senior Tyler Connolly finished second and third, respectively, at the region meet and will hope to have success at states.
McDonough will compete in the 1A state meet, with girls to race at 1:30 p.m. and boys at 2:30 p.m.
The Rams boys placed second at last week’s 1A South Region championships at Fort Washington Park in Prince George’s County as four runners finished in the top 20, led by Namen Parker taking seventh overall in the competition (20:40.91).
Asharia Matthews will be the only Rams girl participating at states after her third-place finish at regionals (25:47.36).