|Whitman graduated arguably more talent than any other team in the state, yet probably gained more back through new runners and hard work than any team out there.|
"You look at QO and Northwest and they are probably two of the best in the state," Coach Steve Hays explains, "and we are right up there with them."
Leading the way for much of the year has been junior Shayna Barbash along with the talented freshmen Anna Ryba and Alexandra Phillips. But giving them a huge boost at the regional meet was sophomore Danielle Newsham who went from the junior varsity race at counties to 18th in the region.
Hays said that Newsham spent the early part of the season growing accustomed to high mileage, but encouraged her to keep working and the dividends would pay off. One can only imagine what she might do (and might help her team do) this weekend at the state championship.
|The Walter Johnson girls have had good and bad races this season, but are ultimately running at a much higher level than last year because they are team runners before they are individual runners. |
Coach Tom Martin explains, "It is not easy to get kids to understand that when the race is not going well is when you have to give your best. This team does this very well."
Through the ups and downs, Jenna Willett and Camille Bouvet are having breakout seasons while Jennifer Spencer and Maria Moersen are coming on strong at the right time. Of course it is Anna Bosse leading the charge.
According to Martin, when it comes to Bosse, it has always been a matter of gaining confidence and she has been gaining confidence every week. She was right in the thick of the large group of leaders at the county championship and finished not far out of the lead, 12 second back in fifth. The hills of Watkins Mill only played to her advantage as she ran away to the regional win by 9 seconds. Expect the hills of Hereford to play even more to her advantage as she should make a huge jump from last year's 23rd place finish possibly all the way to the top spot. Winning at Watkins Mill is no fluke.
|Last year, Churchill went to the state meet with all of the pressure on them and came up well short of their goal of a state title. This season has not been what the Lady Dawgs had envisioned, but the season is not over yet. Perhaps without the spotlight or pressure on them, they can go to the state meet and do quite well.|
While Maryam Fikri and Alex Giedd have led the way this season, a few other girls have started to make names for themselves including Sophie Jacobson and Phoebe Palmer. Caroline Chevat had a big race at regionals as well.
They are lacking in depth moreso than they have in recent years, but a top ten finish would be a feasible goal considering the strong 4A competition this year.
|Wootton graduated a lot of talent from last year's team but saw all of its returning runners step up to keep the team competitive and once again qualify for the state meet. This week, they have tapered their mileage and studied the competition from around the state. |
Says Coach Kellie Redmond, "My goal is to finish in the top 10 at the state meet. We are looking at the other regionals and seeing who we need to go after and where we need to be position wise individually."
Jessie Rubin will be the only runner in the field to have defeated Eleanor Roosevelt's defending state champion Teshika Rivers this year, but in an up and down year for all 4A girls, she has not managed to win any major races. She hopes to implement the lessons that she learned at counties and regionals in her state meet strategy.
|The Sherwood girls were having their best season in years thanks to a collective group effort, a strong season from their top returner Teresa Cronin, and a breakout season by Olivia Mahlmann. Mahlmann, who had previously not run under 24 minutes for a 5k, found herself leading the team in most races this year.|
Says Mahlmann, "It's really different being on varsity this season...It's really motivating and it shows that all the hard work this season has definitely paid off."
Sherwood took a big hit when they lost one of their top five runners, Lindsay Blank, to a foot injury. Freshman Kelly Kendall stepped into the top five to keep the team competitive enough to make it back to states. Considering the midseason loss of Blank, Coach Reeks simply hopes for the team to improve on last year's 16th place finish.
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|if i'm not mistaken, only three of the girls in the entire preview are graduating this year and one of them is her teams 7th runner. next year should be interesting.|