MoCoRunning.com conducted an open online poll in mid-August for anyone to rank their top teams in the county. On the left you will find the result of 65 rankings combined into one. On the right, you will find the personal opinions of Kevin Milsted. Below the rankings, you will find analysis on each team supporting the ranking on the right.
|Voted County Team Ranking|
|10.||Good Counsel||122 |
|11. (10)||B-CC||106 ||
1. Northwest "Murderers' Row" - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Emma Eckerstrom, Kathy Aherne, Becca Stinner, Alyssa Henshaw, Melinda Ngyuen, Britt Eckerstrom, Ida Yu
The defending county champions return 5 of their top 7 including the Big 3 of Stinner, Aherne, and Eckerstrom who have all run under 19:20 for 5k. Britt Eckerstrom is expected to join their top 5 as a freshman this year, giving them a varsity lineup resembling that of the 1927 New York Yankees. Not only should they be the favorites to win the Montgomery County title, but it should not be long before these girls are making noise on the national level.
2. Churchill - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Louise Hannallah, Erin McManus, Maryam Fikri, Owoade Ayorinde, Maryana Heilman, Alex Geidd, Hannah Suttora
Montgomery County fans are certainly justified in voting Churchill as the fan favorite team entering this season. They return 5 of 7 from last year's team that placed 4th in the county and 5th in the state. Their distance runners were noticeably improved during track season. They head into this season with a powerful top 6 and more depth to fall back on than any team in the county. They must prove that they can keep up with Northwest's front runners before mocorunning.com gives them the #1 ranking, but they should leave every other team in the county fighting for 3rd place.
3. Quince Orchard - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Aimee Moores, Stephanie Joson, Dawn Rainbolt, Kelsey Dorset, Melissa Goleb
Despite losing many incredibly talented athletes over the past two years, Quince Orchard appears to have reloaded again. It might be cheating to use the Kentlands Road Race results as a gauge for how good they are, but when their 5th girl runs 21:42 over 5k in August, that clears up a lot of the doubt about their depth. Add to that a #1 runner already in the mid 19's and they are looking scary once again.
4. Whitman - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Morgane Gay, Debbie Isen, Sarah Kramer, Shayna Barbash, Sarah Shannahan
There is no doubt that Whitman is strong up front with #1 runner Morgane Gay capable of winning any race that she runs, but the Vikings had depth issues last year that caused them to miss qualifying for the state championship. Those depth issues should be taken care of this year with 3 other girls having run under 21:30 and rumors of a new girl pushing her way up to the front of the team.
5. Richard Montgomery - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Sarah Britton, Luyang Liu, Alana Moore, Eva Rodezno, Amanda Pinzon
Richard Montgomery only graduated 1 girl from their quality top 5 that finished 3rd as a team in the county last year. They do not have a truly elite #1 runner, but their pack in the low 20's is enough to stay in front of most teams. Two seniors, Sarah Britton and Luyang Liu, should lead the team up front.
6. Magruder - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Courtney Whalen, Samantha Fritts, Camille Graham, Svati Narula, Fran Del Rosario
Magruder came on very strong at the end of last year, placing 4th in the 4A West Regional Meet and 8th at the State Championship. They lose their #1 runner, but senior Courtney Whalen should be up to the task of leading the team. She leads 3 girls who were dropping into the low 21's by the end of cross country season, but the 5th spot might be questionable.
7. Damascus - 3A West
Expected Varsity: Taylor Colbert, Alicia Fenner, Amy Maier, Janna Domico, Nicole Urps, Ellen Davis,
Damascus returns their top 4 runners from last year and add track runners Amy Maier and Amanda Zyzak who are expected to contribute. They should be able to close the gap between #1 runner Taylor Colbert and the rest of the pack. They missed the state championship last year, but they won't have any trouble qualifying in the 3A West this year.
8. St. Andrews - ISL
Expected Varsity: Lisa Nash, Megan Nash, Yaa Addison, Emily Hatton, Victoria Bodnar
It's difficult to compare St. Andrews with the public schools because they rarely race against each other, but they appear to have a quality pack of returnees around 21 minutes in the 5k. They return 4 girls from last years top 7 that placed 4th at the ISL Championship, and senior Victoria Bodnar looks to be stepping up nicely into the top 5 this year.
9. Good Counsel - WCAC
Expected Varsity: Stephanie Bardon, Beth Conlon, Katie Koenig, Tessa Sten
Good Counsel got reamed by graduation. They lose 6 of their top 10 from last year including their #1, but they luckily discovered several quality freshmen on their roster, some of whom spent time in varsity races. Stephanie Bardon, who is the top returnee in the WCAC this year, will lead a very young team that should still have a respectable finish, but will struggle to return to the #2 spot in the WCAC.
10. Wootton - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Veronica Salcido, Jessie Rubin, Iona Machado
Wootton didn't get the 4th girl from the track team that they were hoping for, but they still have a strong top 3, which is more than what most schools in the county can say. Veronica Salcido and Iona Machado will lead the team as seniors, while the sophomore Jessie Rubin is one of the biggest wildcards in the county having never run cross country before, but running to a 5:11 1600 her freshman year.
T-11. B-CC - 3A West
Expected Varsity: Addie Tousley, Katie Caffey, Ani Bateman, Joanie Webber
T-11. Gaithersburg - 4A West
Expected Varsity: Abby Spitler, Devon Upton, Lauren Rose, Madeline Montgomery
B-CC and Gaithersburg have to be grouped together because they are identical teams. There is a big drop off after their #1 runners, Addie Tousley for B-CC and Abby Spitler for Gaithersburg, but if their upperclassmen worked over the summer, these teams could be competitive and B-CC might even qualify for the 3A state championship. It is just as likely that these teams could slip back into the pool of teams with 1 or 2 good runners and nothing else.