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IAC/ISL/MAC Championship Recap
By: Kevin Milsted

What could have been a routine championship meet where everything went as planned turned into a meet that will not soon be forgotten by those in attendance. Three days and nights worth of rain put several stretches of the course under 6 or more inches of water including one grueling stretch that was bordered by long, obnoxious tree branches and a steep slope that caused water to rise to the runners' waists. Fans embraced the adverse conditions by diving right into the flooded "lake" and cheering on their teammates. Most of the athletes laughed their way through it, probably thinking about the fun that their non-running friends would never believe.

The rain let up just in time for the first of three junior varsity races. The sun actually began to peak through the clouds by the time the championship IAC race began, but the course was far from dried out. Nick Bax and Brian Rooney of St. Albans took the lead early on and were never challenged. No challengers made it all the more enjoyable for the two. Rounding the final mile in the woods (which was actually in good condition thanks to some woodchips on the trail), the two decided that they would finish together, throwing up their arms in celebration. They did exactly that in a time of 17:03, forcing a difficult decision on the finish line judge. The nod was initially given to Rooney, but later changed to a tie, awarding the title to both runners. Rooney was psyched about the win, but of course acknowledged that neither of them gave a 100% effort in the final stretch. St. Albans was first. Landon was second. Georgetown Prep was third.

The course was just as harsh for the girls as it was for the boys, but the girls of the ISL certainly did not shy away from the mud or waist-high water. Anneka Wilson is a sophomore from Potomac school who just began running cross country for sport this year. She began playing field hockey when she came to the US from Belgium two years ago, but decided to run cross country this year and quickly became one of the best in the state of Virginia. Wilson pushed the pace along with the defending champion Moira Ryan from Georgetown Visitation. The two swapped leads throughout the entire race, all the while pulling further away from the rest of the field. Shortly after the 2-mile mark, Wilson made a move on an uphill to gain a slight lead. When the hill leveled out, Ryan countered and retook the lead. The two entered the woods for the final half mile neck and neck. Only in the final stretch in the woods did Wilson pull away for good. She re-emerged with about a 5 second lead and brought it home for her first ISL crown in a time of 20:28. Ryan was 2nd in 20:34.

The National Cathedral School girls won the meet in what coach Jim Ehrenhaft described as, "a complete team effort." Despite one of his runners going down with an injury and only finishing 6 girls, the team pulled together nicely to outclass a strong field. Ehrenhaft also coaches the St. Albans boys and for the 2nd consecutive year earned the IAC and ISL championship titles. NCS had 80 points, while Potomac School (2nd), Sidwell Friends (3rd), Episcopal (4th), and Georgetown Visitation (5th) were all between 94 and 100 points.

The final race of the day was the MAC Championship. Johns Ross of Potomac School quickly took the lead followed closely by teammate Stephen Serene. Colby Miller of Flint Hill kept the two in his sites while the star freshman from Potomac, Campbell Ross, fell to fourth for the first half of the race. Johns, who was only running for the win, allowed his teammate to lead for part of the race after they forged the "lake" together, but when he decided to go, he was gone. He won the race in 17:25. He jokingly described the race and the course conditions as horrible, but the smile on his face showed that he wasn't upset about it in the least. Serene finished not far back for second place in 17:36. The younger Ross moved into 3rd at some point, finishing in 17:52. Miller finished 30 seconds back for 4th place. By sweeping the top 3 spots and placing two more runners in the top 15, Potomac easily won the meet with 31 points. Georgetown Day School was 2nd and St. Andrews was 3rd.

Montgomery County athletes with all-conference honors include: Jack Strabo (Landon), Max Marinelli (Landon), Carl Dennis (Georgetown Prep), and John Orthwein (Landon) in the IAC, Pablo Galicia (St. Andrews) and Dylan Thayer (St. Andrews) in the MAC, and Lisa Nash and Yaa Addison of St. Andrews in the ISL.


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