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MoCo Championship Final Thoughts
By: Kevin Milsted

Like many Americans, I enjoy tuning into Major League Baseball in the month of October. I didn't follow the season too closely this year and it would be an understatement to say that I was surprised to see that the Colorado Rockies were not only in the playoffs, but have now moved on to the World Series. The publicists promoting the MLB playoffs have coined the phrase: "You Can't Script October."

If I had to describe this season up through this point and summarize what to expect at the upcoming county championship, I couldn't think of a better way to word it. So for the second time this season, I will borrow their slogan and simply say, "You can't script October."

This month, I saw freshman and sophomores come out of nowhere to win big races. I saw unknown runners carry their teams to victory. I saw champions struggle to finish races. I saw upsets. I saw dominating performances. I saw fast times. I saw slow times. I saw races that were painful to watch. I saw Saratoga Springs High School in Leesburg, Virginia. I saw some dreams fade and other dreams draw nearer. And the only thing that I learned this month was to expect the unexpected.

I don't claim to be a historian, but I have seen enough county championships and I have been humbled enough times to know that I don't know any more than anyone else when that gun goes off. I could have all my facts straight and know everything that has happened leading up to that point, but when that gun goes off, you simply cannot script what happens next. I can only hope that the right words come to me when I sit at my computer to write that script for the world to read when all is said and done. (I promise I won't reuse any more baseball taglines.)

So that is why the county championship rankings were left to you, the fans. 99 votes were received and not a single one was exactly like any other, so I would be na´ve to think that I have all of the answers. Those who voted did a great job voting to the best of their knowledge and I certainly accept the rankings that resulted from the poll. You've seen the rankings and predictions, and frankly I don't have any additional profound analysis to give you, but in the spirit of hyping up this meet even more, and giving you something more to read on the eve of the big meet, I give you a few more athletes of my choice to watch out for tomorrow. Two of these are seniors who will be out to prove something in one of their final high school cross country meets. The rest that I chose are underclassmen that I consider rising stars in the county. If you don't know about them yet, you will soon enough.


Becca Stinner - Northwest '08

A 2-time member of the Montgomery County Championship Meet Top-10 and a 3-time member of the Montgomery County Championship Team, Stinner will be hungry for more tomorrow. Like in previous seasons, she started out slow, but proved last week at Glory Days that she is on the rise and will be there when it counts.

Russell Speiden - Sherwood '08

The 4:25 miler has shared duties as his team's #1 runner this season, but that doesn't mean they aren't both great. Speiden came up with a very surprising performance at this time last year placing 13th in the county championship. Count on him to bring his A game again this year.

Rising Stars

Anna Bosse - Walter Johnson '11

Anna Bosse has been the most rapidly improving athlete in the county this year. When Walter Johnson seemed doomed for their worst season in years, the freshman came in and lifted the team on her shoulders. Watch for continued improvement from both Bosse and her team.

Nicolas Escobar - Magruder '10

Despite some up and down performances this season, Escobar has truly impressed at the big meets. A 9th place finish at Mount St. Mary's, 6th place finish at Bull Run, and 1st place finish at Glory Days on top of qualifying for the state championship individually as a freshman makes this sophomore the most talented unknown in MoCo.

Alyssa Henshaw - Northwest '10

When the star-studded Northwest top 5 began to fall to pieces, Henshaw was there to keep everything afloat. In the process, she truly came out from behind the shadows and asserted herself as a top notch athlete herself.

Sean King - Churchill '09

It's the Churchill way to oh-so-quietly work their way to the top. Just like the Churchill girls' team has worked their way onto the Southeast regional rankings, King is quietly working his way to the top of the Montgomery County competition and pulling his team along with him.

Stephanie Joson - Quince Orchard '10

Joson has been the unwavering sidekick to #1 runner Aimee Moores all year. But don't let that fool you. With several races in the 19's so far this year, she is capable of taking down many #1 runners in the county.

Kyle Balderson - Sherwood '09

When Sherwood was thought to have lost all of it's talent, Balderson stepped up to keep Sherwood right in the mix. His Great Meadows time dropped 1:21 from last year and his Oatlands time dropped and astounding 1:32 from last year, helping him win the Virginia Triple Crown over his teammate Speiden.

Alex Geidd - Churchill '10

It's hard to be a star when you are the fourth runner on your team...unless your team is the best in the state. Geidd is consistently under 20 minutes and by finishing ahead of many teams' #1 runners, has helped her team become the top ranked team in the state and one of the top teams in the southern region.

Chris Miller - Northwest '11

The most talented freshman at his school is Britt Eckerstrom, but the most talented young man at Northwest is Chris Miller. Miller stirred it up with the juniors and seniors on his team all season long before winning the freshman race at the Glory Days Invitational in 16:36.


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