Potomac School's Anneka Wilson (pictured left by Andy Paisley, Milestat.com) will return to the grounds of Georgetown Prep school just one week after breaking the 18 minute barrier for the first time at the Georgetown Prep Classic. Although the stakes will be higher in her attempt at a second consecutive ISL title, it may be difficult to keep her emotions high enough to post another fast time in rainy weather against competition that, frankly, can no longer touch her. After her six consecutive victories in major invitationals, her seventh is sure to come in the form of an individual ISL title. The only question is how fast can she go. Her winning time of 17:45.52 was over a minute and a half ahead of the next closest ISL competitor, former ISL Champion Moira Ryan, whose PR of 19:20.75 placed her over a minute and a half behind Wilson.
Challenging Ryan for second place behind Wilson should be Sidwell's Marissa Repka, who has only lost to Ryan and Wilson among ISL runners this year. Lottie Hedden of National Cathedral appears to be coming on strong at the right time of the season as shown by her finish just behind Ryan and ahead of Georgetown Visitation's Natalie Atabek. Sidwell's Lauren Lewis and Episcopal's Catherine Harrison should be in the hunt for a top five spot as well.
Hedden's strong showing was key to her team's one point victory over Visitation in the elite race at Georgetown Prep last weekend. All of the National Cathedral girls will have to run their best to defend their title from the strong Visitation girls who also defeated NCS at the Glory Days Invitational. Assuming NCS and Visitation are the top two teams, Episcopal, Potomac, Sidwell, and St. Andrew's will fight it out for the next few spots. Episcopal was the best of the four at Mercersburg, while the other three teams have met and beat up on each other a few times throughout the season.
Landon's Jack Strabo and Georgetown Prep's Ramsey Chapin have managed to avoid each other all season, creating an intriguing match up in this year's IAC Championship race. Chapin was untouchable in last spring's IAC track & field championships and has shown that he has the range to stretch up to cross country 5k's. However, it has been Strabo capturing the attention this cross country season. Strabo has been nearly unbeatable, knocking off many of Maryland's best runners from both public and private schools. He also posted a time faster than Chapin in a separate race at last weekend's Georgetown Prep Classic. This by no means makes Strabo a heavy favorite. A head to head match up with Chapin is a completely different race. Episcopal's Reid Nickle and St. Alban's Tom Harrison and Jamie Durling are the top candidates to round out the top five.
Harrison and Durling will likely lead St. Albans to yet another IAC championship. St. Albans won the Woodberry Forest Invitational and placed second at the Mercersburg Invitational. They placed first at Salesianum and third at Georgetown Prep when Alex Snowdon did not run. This could potentially be the third consecutive year that Coach Jim Ehrenhaft wins the IAC and ISL titles between his two squads (St. Albans and National Cathedral). Episcopal, Landon, and Georgetown Prep will fight it out for the remaining top three spots.
Those who attended the William & Mary Invitational already saw Round 1 between Potomac School's Campbell Ross and Sidwell Friends' John McGowan. The two sophomores battled it out until McGowan pulled away in the final few hundred meters. McGowan did the same thing to Landon's Jack Strabo last week (pictured above by Dave Brandt) and must be considered the favorite to win the MAC individual title in his first year of running cross country. His 5k time of 15:48.20 at Georgetown Prep was sixteen seconds faster than Ross's in a separate race. Other top runners include Sidwell's Matthew Kim, Georgetown Day's Sam Freeling, and St. Andrew's Tom Belikov and Dylan Thayer.
Potomac School dominated this meet last year, but with the addition of McGowan and freshman Matthew Kim, the power for now seems to have shifted over to Sidwell Friends. St. Andrew's Episcopal has gradually been developing their athletes and are a good bet for second place with an outside shot at the title.