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Opening Weekend Preview
By: Kevin Milsted
webmaster@mocorunning.com
2008-09-03


Early season showdowns will be plentiful in the opening weekend of the 2008 cross country season. Arguably the top two boys in Maryland will meet the top two boys in Virginia at the Great Meadow Invitational in The Plains, Virginia while two returning All-Met girls and eight of twelve WCAC schools collide at the Peter Geraghty Invitational in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Footlocker finalist and returning Washington Post All-Met Runner of the Year Thomas Porter of Mountain View High School will not be the favorite at the Great Meadow Invitational. Solomon Haile of Sherwood will make his cross country debut in the Virginia opening weekend mega-meet which will include five of Virginia’s top seven teams and five of their top eight male runners. Porter and Andrew Colley of Jamestown High School have both run under 15:20 for 5000 meters, but Haile’s PR on the track of 14:38 could leave the top two ranked VA runners in the dust. The possibility of treacherous course conditions due to predicted bad weather opens the door for anything to happen. Defending Maryland 4A State Champion Andrew Palmer will look to stay with the front pack after a summer of hard work.

Frances Dowd of Fairfax High School placed second at the Peter Geraghty Invitational last year, beating every runner from a loaded Northwest team that placed five in the top ten. This year, another team from Virginia will try to pack their team into the top ten while spoiling Dowd’s hopes of winning the race.

Bishop O’Connell from Arlington, VA will arrive with their loaded girls’ team that features returning All-Met runner Megan Fitzpatrick. Returning four of their top five from their multi-championship winning 2007 squad, O’Connell could dominate this meet the way that Northwest did a year ago. After graduating their “big three,” Northwest does not look as strong this year and only look like second or third best heading into this meet. South River also has a strong girls team once again.

A novice Britt Eckerstrom lost early season matchups to both Dowd and Fitzpatrick last year before beating them both at the Glory Days Invitational. Now a returning All-Met, Eckerstrom has a target on her back and will be tested from the very first race. Also running with the front pack will be Holy Cross’s Chinyelu Asher, Gaithersburg’s Abby Spitler, and South River’s trio of Hillary Lee, Miranda Heater, and Mary Fromme.

The Northwest boys’ team is largely considered the favorite to win the Montgomery County title and the Maryland 4A State title this year, but they may find their match in the top schools from the WCAC. Gonzaga and Good Counsel are projected to have successful seasons and could surprise the public school favorites in this opening weekend.

Individually, the big four from the WCAC of Bill Ledder, Robert Patterson, Cory Puffett, and Sam Rainard can all be expected to finish in the top 10. Vikas Bhatia, Antonio Palmer, Wayne Bartholomew, and a pack from Northwest should be joined by Kevin Dowd of Fairfax and Matt Jablonski of Loyola in the top pack.

Other teams from Montgomery County will attend the Clear Spring Interstate Classic and the Gettysburg Invitational.
Peter Geraghty Invitational:
Academy of the Holy Cross 
Fairfax High School 
Loyola Blakefield 
Red Lion Area High School 
Gonzaga High School 
Mount St. Joseph 
Notre Dame Prep 
Catoctin High School 
Our Lady of Good Counsel
Wheaton High School 
Middletown High School 
John Carroll School 
Greencastle-Antrim High School 
Arch-Bishop Curley High School 
Seneca Valley High School 
Northern High School 
DeMatha High School 
Bishop McNamera  
St. John's College H.S. 
South River High School 
Fallston High School 
Clarksburg High School 
Northwest High School 
Bishops O'Connell
Quince Orchard High School 
Elizabeth Seton 
Gaithersburg High School 


Gettysburg Invitational
Altoona    
Battlefield HS, VA    
Bel Air, MD    
Bermudian Springs    
Biglerville    
Bishop McDevitt    
Blue Ridge    
Boiling Spring  
Bryn Mawr School for Girls, MD  
Camp Hill    
Carlisle    
Central Bucks West    
Central Dauphin    
Central Dauphin East    
Chambersburg    
Chancellor HS, VA    
Coatesville    
Conestoga Valley    
Conrad Weiser    
Cumberland Valley    
Dallastown Area    
Delone Catholic    
Devon Prep    
Dover    
Eastern York    
Easton    
Elk Lake    
Ephrata    
Francis Scott Key    
Frederick, MD    
Garden Spot, ELCO SD    
George Mason, VA    
Gettysburg    
Greater Latrobe - #2 Girls team in PA    
Greenwood    
Hempfield    
Heritage HS, VA    
Hershey    
Holy Ghost Prep    
James Buchaan  
Kennard-Dale    
Kutztown    
Lampeter-Strasburg    
Lewistown    
Littlestown    
Lower Dauphin    
Manheim Township    
Mechanicsburg    
Montgomery Blair, MD  
Muhlenberg    
New Oxford    
North Carroll, MD    
Northeastern    
Northern York    
Octorara    
Palmyra    
Red Land    
South Western    
Spring Grove    
Trinity    
Tuscarora    
Tulpehocken    
Waynesboro    
West York    
Williamsport, MD    
Winston Churchill, MD    
Winters Mill, MD    
York County
Vo-Tech    


Great Meadow Invitational:
Briar Woods XC
Broad Run High School
Brooke Point Cross-Country
Colonial Forge High School
Dominion Titans
Douglas Freeman High School
Edmund Burke School
Fauquier High School
Forest Park
Freedom High School
Greenbrier Christian Academy
Hampton High School
Hanover High School
Harrisonburg
Hortonsville High School
James River High School
John Handley High School
Kettle Run High School
Lee-Davis High School
Loudoun County High School
Louduon Valley High School
Magruder Colonels
Manassas Park High School
Midlothian - #1 Girls Team in VA
Millbrook
Mills Godwin High School
Mountain View High School
North Stafford HS
Oakton - #1 Boys Team in VA
Osbourn High School
Potomac Falls High School
Robert E. Lee (Staunton)
Severna Park High School
Sherando High School
Sherwood High School
St. Anselm's Abbey
Stafford High School
Trinity School @ Meadow View
Walt Whitman High School
West Springfield High School
Western Branch High School
Woodbridge Senior High School
Brentsville
Bullis
Jamestown - #2 Boys Team in VA
WT Woodson
Osbourn Park
Park View - Sterling
Potomac
Turner Ashby





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