On paper, Poolesville was the Maryland 1A team to beat in 2001. Jim Vollmer's Falcons were third in the state the previous year and were expected to make a serious run, but the season did not unfold as expected. One of their top runners moved away and they finished the season eleventh in the county and fourth at the 1A state meet.
This year's Falcon team looks to be the strongest they have had since that season eight years ago. The addition of junior track runners Eric Holmstead and Sam Hague have given the team an immediate boost, for now bumping the expected top two runners, seniors David Wilson and Sam Widmayer, to third and fourth on the team.
They opened the season at the Brunswick Invitational last weekend, but Widmayer and Hague did not compete with the team. They debuted their entire squad at John Poole Middle School in a dual meet against Magruder today and won convincingly 23 to 32.
Poolesville's top four took a commanding lead in the first half mile. Around the starting field, Mark Mechak and Dagmawi Abebe were the only Magruder runners hanging on to the fast early pace of the front pack.
As the race progressed, Wilson and Widmayer fell off the front pack and into no-man's-land.
Holmstead took command of the front pack after the first mile. Poolesville coaches encouraged him to let the Magruder runners do some of the leading duty, but he never really surrendered the lead. Mechak, Hague, and Abebe mixed up their order several times behind Holmstead throughout the middle mile. Meanwhile, Magruder's third runner, Daniel Abdool slowly worked on closing the gap between himself and Wilson and Widmayer.
In the final mile, Holmstead opened up a sizeable gap on Mechak for the first time. The move also created separation between Mechak, Hague, and Abebe. The four would finish in that order. Abdool would not be able to close the gap on the next two Poolesville runners, but held off their fifth man Ken Shimomoto.
Poolesville's top five placed 1-3-5-6-8 and won the race with 23 points.
Magruder's top runner Nicolas Escobar did not run due to an injury.
Holmstead broke the course record by one second in a time of 17:23. The record was previously held by 2003 Wootton runner Nick Jachowski. Jachowski later that season placed 14th at the 4A state championship.
Holmstead said that he was controlling himself and not running too fast in the early part of the race because he opened up his first cross country race last week with nearly a five minute mile and died. He's working on finding that "middle ground" pace to run the best possible race.
He is excited about his first cross country season. He commented on his decision to run cross country this year: "I love running."
Magruder's girls team swept the top three spots in the race and had the first five of seven finishers. Magruder won 18 to 42. Senior Zabrina Piedramartel led the race from start to finish and won in 22:25.
1. Holmstead Poolesville 17:23
2. Mechak Magruder 17:37
3. Haque Poolesville 17:43
4. Abebe Magruder 17:49
5. Widmayer Poolesville 18:20
6. Wilson Poolesville 18:23
7. Abdool Magruder 18:54
8. Shimomoto Poolesville 19:03
9. Arrazola Magrduer 19:15
10. M. Pasti Magruder 19:18
11. Werble Poolesville 19:33
12. Altimirano Poolesville 20:07
1. Piedramartel Magruder 22:25
2. Oleynik Magruder 22:57
3. Brady Magruder 23:09
4. Gerdes Poolesville 23:30
5. Van Der Ejik Magruder 23:38
6. Lalande Poolesville 23:50
7. Abramova Magruder 24:06
8. Arrazola Magruder 24:17
9. Kabbis Poolesville
10. Epstein Magruder 25:37
11. Sprague Magruder 25:38
12. Meyer Magruder 25:58