Over a soggy terrain dampened by several days of intermittent showers, a trio of runners from a pair of Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division teams quickly focused on brighter horizons following last week’s cross country meet at Leonardtown High School.
Great Mills senior Cooper Brotherton, brandishing a soft cast on her left wrist after sustaining an injury during a club soccer game three days earlier, took the lead early in the girls’ portion of the event on Oct. 6 and kept Leonardtown senior Parker O’Brien safely at bay throughout to earn the victory.
“I was really happy with the way that I ran today,” said Brotherton, the 3A girls’ state runner-up in 2019. “This course is not easy to follow. I felt pretty good the whole way around the course. I knew Parker was right behind me. She’s really good, so I knew that I could not let up.”
Like Brotherton, O’Brien also runs indoor and outdoor track for high school and welcomed the chance to be able to compete over her soggy home course last week. The Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships is slated for next Wednesday at Jefferson Patterson Park in Calvert County.
“I was happy with the way that I ran today,” O’Brien said. “I know Cooper is very fast and when she went to the lead early I just tried to pace myself with her. For me it’s all about placing the next three meets. I am looking forward to the SMAC meet next week and then regionals and then going back to Hereford for the state meet.”
Leonardtown sophomore Peter Imhof finished second behind Huntingtown senior Thomas Foulkes last week, but the youthful Raiders’ runner was certainly content with his performance. Peter Imhof is the younger brother of former Great Mills standout Annie Imhof, a recent Naval Academy graduate.
“I’m just trying to live up to what my sister did as a runner,” Peter Imhof said. “But today I was happy with my effort. I passed Thomas briefly, but then I ended up chasing him for the last mile. He’s obviously really fast, so just trying to keep pace with him enabled me to set a new personal record today.”
With Chopticon High School’s Wedding twins having graduated last spring, Foulkes has clearly emerged as the leading male runner in SMAC this fall. Foulkes not only won the individual event last week, he led the Hurricanes to an overall team victory over the host Raiders and Hornets.
“I was very pleased that I was able to get over this course and be able to go that fast,” Foulkes said. “But I’m even happier with the efforts of my teammates. In the past, Leonardtown has usually handled us. But today we had five of the top eight finishers.”