Mocorunning.com recruited the help of many of the most dedicated and well-respected coaches in Montgomery County to determine which athletes deserve to be distinguished among the top thirty runners of the decade. The following 14 coaches filled out rankings of the top 30 boys and top 30 girls in order from #30 right up through the athlete of the decade:
Tom Arnold, Steve Bettis, Robert Burke, Eric DaSilva, Greg Dunston, Steve Hays, Tom Martin, Beth Muehl, Seann Pelkey, Dan Reeks, Nathan Timm, Herb Tolbert, David Warren, and Robert Youngblood
Without the help of these coaches, this project would not have been possible. Their help is very much appreciated!
Coaches were instructed to only select athletes who competed for Montgomery County public or private schools between 2000 and 2009. Any athletes who bounced around to different schools will be credited with the last MoCo school they attended. For any athlete who transferred out of Montgomery County, only their accomplishments while at the Montgomery County school were to be taken into consideration. For athletes who bridged the decade from the late 1990's into the 2000's, coaches were allowed to consider their accomplishments from the 90's. Coaches were asked to disregard accomplishments from track & field as well as post- high school accomplishments. Coaches also voted for their peers to determine among themselves who will be distinguished as the coaches of the decade.
Corrections, photos, comments, and additional information can be sent to email@example.com at any time.
First Team All-Decade
|Coach of the Decade - Beth Muehl - Northwest
- The doors of Northwest High School first opened in 1998. The success of the boys team came first. In 2001 and 2002, the Northwest boys swept county, region, and (3A) state titles. Muehl was named Washington Post All-Met Cross Country Coach of the Year for boys in 2001. The girls team rose to prominence in 2002 by placing second at the county championship and getting the surprise victory over Walter Johnson at the 3A State Championship Meet. In 2003, Northwest won its first county title and repeated as 3A state champions. The Lady Jags won four consecutive county title between 2003 and 2006, and then won again in 2008, giving them five county titles and two state titles this decade. Muehl coached five of the girls and two of the boys who were voted as first, second, or third team on this All-Decade Team.. Northwest has been the most winning cross country program of the decade when considering boys and girls combined, and the school only opened in 1998. Several coaches also voted for her as the boys' coach of the decade.|
Athlete of the Decade: Karen Pulliam - Quince Orchard, Class of 2002
|Karen Pulliam only began running cross country as a sophomore in 1999, but won her first county title in 19:13.27 and won the 4A West region title by 40 seconds in 19:18. She placed second at the state championship behind Dulaney's Tenke Zoltani with a time of 19:31.|
As a junior in 2000, Pulliam lost to Zoltani early in the season at the Bull Run Invitational with a time of 19:23. The rest of the season, she built a case that she could take on anyone including Zoltani. She won the Knights Invitational at Montgomery College by 54 seconds in 19:25, won the William & Mary Invitational 'A' race in 17:58, won the county title by 55 seconds (largest margin of victory of the decade at the county meet) in 18:45, and won the 4A West title by 46 seconds in 18:39.79. The state championship was a rematch between Pulliam and Zoltani. Pulliam responded by winning by 34 seconds in a record-smashing time of 18:51.04. No other athlete in Maryland has gone under 19 minutes at the state championship in the nine years since (not including the Bull Run Invitational which is also at Hereford). She finished off her junior year with a seventeenth place finish in 18:52 at the Footlocker Northeast Region Meet. It was the highest finish at the Footlocker Regional Meet by a female county athlete this decade.
She was so good as a junior that she stole headlines as a senior when she was NOT winning. Her recovery from surgery in both of her feet was well documented by the local newspapers. While Pulliam struggled to recover from her injury, the stars were aligning for the QO girls team. A few girls from the track team came out for cross country and made the cougars a championship contender. Motivated by the prospect of winning a team state title and defending her individual title, Pulliam worked her way back into shape, dipping under 20 minutes for the first time of the season in a 5k with a time of 19:57 at the Georgetown Prep Classic and then winning her third consecutive county title by 25 seconds over Ashley St. Denis in 18:55. She won the 4A West region title by 44 seconds in 18:40, and then on the biggest stage, won her second 4A state title by 32 seconds in 19:26.9. The Quince Orchard girls together won the 4A state title with 55 points. Pulliam competed for the College of William & Mary.
| Ashley St. Denis - Walter Johnson, Class of 2003 - Ashley St. Denis ran 28:18 in her first 5k race as a freshman in 2000. By the end of the season, she was a contributing varsity runner to a championship team with a season best time of 20:36 in a sixth place effort at the 3A West championship. She also placed twelfth at states in 21:01.69. She was much stronger as a sophomore and won several races including the Knights Invitational at Montgomery College in 20:28 and the 'B' race at William and Mary in 18:57. She placed second at the county championship behind Karen Pulliam in 19:20 before dominating the 3A West region by 33 seconds in 19:17.84. The buzz for the state championship surrounded Dulaney's Tenke Zoltani who many said would make a run at the state course record, but St. Denis shocked everyone when she controlled the final mile of the 3A race. She won by thirteen seconds in 19:26.98. She started off her junior year by winning the Howard County Invitational by 43 seconds in 20:37.34. The middle of the 2002 season was cancelled for all Montgomery County athletes due to the sniper attacks, but after three weeks of practicing on her own, she won her first county title by 17 seconds in 19:58.6. With more pressure on her, she returned to the state championship meet and won her second consecutive 3A state title with a time of 20:04. She did not run cross country as a senior.
| Halsey Sinclair - Blair, Class of 2007 - Montgomery County's first introduction to the Sinclair twins was when they dominated the Woodward Relays as freshmen in 2003 with a time of 24:12, 6:03 mile pace for the 4 mile relay. Halsey won the Knights Invitational over a field of ten Montgomery County teams and placed second in the seeded race at the Georgetown Prep Invitational in 19:04. She won the county title in 18:45.39 and placed second at the state championship in 19:36. After dominating the rest of her freshman year on the track, she returned to cross country and did not lose to a Maryland athlete in cross country all season according to a Washington Post article. She was second at the Georgetown Prep Invitational in 18:51 and won the Bull Run Invitational elite race in 20:02, the county championship in a record-breaking time of 18:28.66, the 4A West region in 19:15 and the 4A state title in 19:52. As a junior in 2005, she finished sixth at the William and Mary Invitational in 18:38 and won her third consecutive county title with a time of 18:59. She faded at regionals and states to finish tenth and twenty-fourth respectively. As a senior she clocked a 17:53 3-mile at the Meade Classic, but she could not make it four straight county titles as she fell to third place in 18:39.8. She won the 4A West regional title, but fell to eighth at the state championship. She ended her senior cross country season on a high note with a twenty-seventh place finish in 18:48 at the Footlocker Northeast Region Meet. It was the fastest 5k time recorded at Van Cortlandt by a Montgomery County female athlete this decade. She competed for Radford University and currently competes for the University of Maryland.
| Morgane Gay - Whitman, Class of 2008 - Morgane Gay began running cross country as a sophomore in 2005 and clocked a decent season best time of 20:22 at the 4A West region championship. In a year's time, she went from 18th at the county championship in 20:40 as a sophomore to smashing the county championship course record by 14 seconds as a junior. Her entire junior year showed great improvement. She ran 19:25 for second place at the Peter Geraghty Invitational, 19:08 for third place at the Oatlands Invitational, and 15:02 to win her heat of the 2.5 mile Manhattan Invitational by 38 seconds. Despite all that, almost nobody picked her to win the county title, but she hunted down Cara Harrison in the final half mile to win in 18:14. The previous record was 18:28 held by Halsey Sinclair. She placed second at the 4A West Region meet in 19:14.5 and second at the state championship in 19:19.2. It was the third fastest time at the state championship by a Montgomery County athlete this decade. She was nearly unstoppable as a senior, winning the Peter Geraghty Invitational by 80 seconds in 18:44, breaking up the Saratoga Springs pack and placing second behind Hannah Davidson at the Oatlands Invitational in 18:14, and placing twelfth in the Manhattan Eastern States 2.5 mile race in 14:40. She won the county title in a solo effort, breaking her own course record with a time of 18:09.42 which still stands today. She currently owns the top two times ever run on the Gaithersburg county course. The unthinkable happened when freshman Britt Eckerstrom topped her at the 4A West Championship. She faded further at the state meet and finished sixth. She currently competes at the University of Virginia.
| Jessie Rubin - Wootton, Class of 2010 - Jessie Rubin did not run cross country as a freshman, but she was a standout miler on the track as a freshman. As a sophomore in the fall of 2007, she ran cross country for the first time and clocked a season best time of 18:55.40 to finish fourth at the county championship. She was seventh in the region and sixteenth at the state championship. In her junior year, she placed second at the Magruder Invitational in 19:28 and fourth at the Glory Days Invitational 18:45. After Glory Days, many favored her to win the county title, but she fell to the back of a tight pack to finish eighth in 18:59. She was fifth in the region in 19:59 and did not finish at the state championship. She had a breakout season during outdoor track in which she dropped sixteen seconds off her 3200m time to win the 4A state title (11:03). She went undefeated against Montgomery County runners during the fall of her senior year, winning the Magruder Invitational in 19:23, winning the Georgetown Prep Classic with one shoe in muddy conditions in 20:40, and placing sixth at the Oatlands Invitational in 19:05. The championship season haunted her from the previous two seasons, but there was no stopping her as a senior. She swept county, 4A West region, and 4A state titles in 18:49, 19:21, and 19:48 respectively. She ran 18:05 at the Nike Cross Country National Southeast Region Meet to place seventh and qualify individually for Nike Cross Country Nationals in Portland, Oregon where she finished fourty-second in 18:40. She was the only Montgomery County girl to compete in a national cross country competition and one of just two county girls to be named Washington Post Athlete of the Year for cross country this decade. She will compete for Duke University.
| Louise Hannallah - Churchill, Class of 2008 - Louise Hannallah was one of the most consistent runners of the decade and always came through when it counted the most. She was one of just two runners this decade to place in the top five at the state championship meet three consecutive times and one of just three girls to do so at the county championship meet. As a sophomore in 2005, she clocked a season best time of 19:04 to place fourth at the county championship. She placed second at the 4A West region championship and was the top Montgomery County finisher at the state championship when she placed third in 19:46.91. As a junior in 2006, she ran 18:44 against Blair's Halsey Sinclair in a dual meet, 18:54 at the Paul Short Invitational, and 18:00.8 at the Meade Classic. She placed fifth at the county championship in 18:48, and took sixth in the region and fourth in the state. Her senior year in 2007 was her best yet. She won the Great Meadows Invitational in 18:34.85 to begin the season. She ran 18:49 at Maymont after falling under a stampede of runners and 17:57 in a losing battle against Hereford's Kristen Malloy at the Meade Invitational. She finished second at the county championship in 18:31 to lead her team to victory, third at the 4A West region meet in 19:18, and third at the state championship in 19:25. She capped off the season with a fourth place finish at the first NTN Southeast Regional Meet. She currently competes for Vanderbilt University.
| Britt Eckerstrom - Northwest, Class of 2011 - As a freshman in 2007, Britt Eckerstrom ran 18:38 at the Paul Short Run, 18:27 at the Octoberfest Invitational, and 18:01 at the Glory Days Invitational. She placed third at the county championship in 18:37 which is the fastest time by a third place finisher this decade. She then pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the decade by defeating Morgane Gay and Louise Hannallah at the 4A West Region championship in 19:07. She then finished one second behind Teshika Rivers of Eleanor Roosevelt at the state championship in 19:18. It was the second fastest time of the decade by a Montgomery County athlete at the state championship. As a sophomore, she led her team to victory at the county championship with a first place finish in a season best time of 18:41. She placed second in the region and third in the state. As a junior, she made it three consecutive years as a top ten finisher in the county, region, and state by placing sixth, second, and eighth, respectively.
| Anna Bosse - Walter Johnson, Class of 2011 - Anna Bosse was having a strong sophomore year with a time of 19:19 at the Octoberfest Invitational and a fifth place finish at the Montgomery County Championship Meet in a personal best time of 18:53.31, but none of her previous performances suggested that she was capable of what she did next. She ran away from the 4A West region field to win by 9 seconds in 19:37.68 on a difficult Watkins Mill course. She then outkicked Teshika Rivers of Eleanor Roosevelt to win the state title in 19:38. Her victory, along with that of Addie Tousley in the 3A race, broke a three year drought for Montgomery County girls winning a cross country state title. She was unable to defend her state title as a junior in 2009, but she did experience victory as a team as she led the Walter Johnson girls team to its first county title since 2002 with a third place finish. She also placed third at the region and state meets. She clocked another fast 5k time of 18:40.20 at the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional Meet and has one more year ahead of her.
| Addie Tousley - B-CC, Class of 2009 - Addie Tousley slowly worked her way up from a junior varsity runner as a freshman in 2005 to a 3A state champion in track as well as cross country. As a junior, she placed eighth at the Montgomery County championship in 19:09.83. She went on to win the 3A West region title in 20:29.3 and take third place at the 3A state championship. As a senior in 2008, she placed third at the Magruder Invitational in 19:45.96 and eighth at the Glory Days Invitational in 20:00. She clocked a time of 18:56 at the Paul Short Invitational to lead her team to victory in the "white" race. She was the runner up at the Montgomery County Championship with a personal best time of 18:44.58. She won the 3A west region title for the second consecutive year. She made a wrong turn during the race and only ran 20:40, so she was not favored to win the state title. On the big day, she ran away from the field and clocked 19:59, 35 seconds better than the second place girl. She currently competes for Middlebury College and recently earned All-American honors at the NCAA DIII National Championship.
| Ashlyn Sinclair - Blair, Class of 2007 - Ashlyn Sinclair was a four-time top ten finisher at the Montgomery County Championship and 4A West region championship meets. It all started in 2003 when she and her sister made a big splash as freshmen. She took second place behind her twin sister over many county athletes at the Knights Invitational at Montgomery College and took third at the Georgetown Prep Classic in 19:28. The twins swept the top two spots at the Montgomery County championship with Ashlyn finishing second in 18:53. She placed fifth at the state championship in 20:00. As a sophomore, she set a personal best time of 18:39.96 in taking 4th at the county championship. She briefly competed at Radford University and now competes for the University of Maryland.
Second Team All-Decade
|Coach of the Decade - Greg Dunston - Walter Johnson
- In the mid-90's, Greg Dunston coached Sally Glynn, the most decorated distance runner in Montgomery County history, but the WJ girls never brought home a county or state title during Glynn's time between the fall of 1992 and the spring of 1996. Ironically, in the fall of 1996, Greg Dunston was named the Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year for leading the Walter Johnson girls cross country team to its first state title. It was the beginning of a legacy that extended well into this decade. Under Dunston's leadership, the Walter Johnson girls won four consecutive state titles between 1996 and 1999 and five consecutive county titles between 1998 and 2002. During that time, he coached Montgomery County champion and two-time state champion Ashley St. Denis as well as two-time county champion Andrew Jesien. St. Denis now helps coach at WJ while Dunston has moved on to coach at Georgetown Prep.|
| Veronica Salcido - Wootton, Class of 2008 - Veronica Salcido had a terrific four year high school career in which she placed in the top 15 in the county, region, and state all four years. As a freshman in 2004, she placed second at the county championship in 18:30.21. It was the fifth fastest female time recorded on the Gaithersburg county course this decade. She placed second in the 4A West Region and third in the state that year. As a sophomore in 2005, she placed second in the elite race at the Bull Run Invitational in 20:01 and second in the 'A' race at the Maymont Cross Country Festival in 19:24. She placed third in the county in 19:02 before winning the 4A West regional title in 19:36. She finished that season by placing 11th at the state championship. In her senior year in 2007, she won the large race at the Bull Run Invitational in 20:09 and placed third at the Glory Days Invitational in 19:05 before placing fifth at the state championship in 19:37. She currently competes for the University of Pennsylvania.
| Michele Levy - Wootton, Class of 2006 - Michele Levy was a freshman sensation in 2002. After placing fifth in the county in 20:46.5 on the Poolesville course, she won the 4A west region in 20:24 and placed third in the state in 20:19.88. In her sophomore year in 2003, she won the Georgetown Prep Invitational seeded race in one of the fastest times run on the original course: 18:52.84. She placed fourth at the county championship in 19:23.4 and 15th at states in 21:11. In her junior year, she clocked a personal best time of 18:36 in a runner-up finish at the Glory Days Invitational. She placed fifth in the county in 18:54, third in the 4A west region in 19:50.92, and 8th in the state in 20:41. Her senior year was not her strongest, but she was three times a top five finisher at the county and regional championships, and three times a top fifteen finisher at the 4A state championship. She competes for the University of Tennessee.
| Emma Eckerstrom - Northwest, Class of 2008 - Emma Eckerstrom burst onto the scene in her sophomore year in 2005 with several top finishes at major invitationals including third at the Peter Geraghty Invitational in 19:42, fifteenth at the Paul Short Invitational in 19:13, and second at the Lancer Invitational in 19:33. She placed second at the county championship in 19:02, just three seconds out of first. She finished fourth in the 4A west in 19:56 and fourth at the state championship in 19:47. As a junior in 2006, she dropped her times into the 18's including a personal best 18:23 at Glory Days, 18:35 at Paul Short, and 18:45.9 at the county championship. She finished out the season fifth in the region in 19:32 and sixth in the state in 20:09. That would be her best season as she struggled with a back injury from that point forth. She currently competes for Colgate University.
| Beth Catherwood - B-CC, Class of 2003 - When Beth Catherwood first joined the B-CC team as a junior in 2001, the team was not great and neither was she. She was 40th at the county championship in 21:32 to lead her team to 12th place, and 20th at the 2A state championship in 21:50 to lead her team to 8th place. A successful season on the track made a big difference as she returned to cross country with more strength and a better team around her. She knocked nearly a minute and a half off of her Hereford time when she won the medium schools race at the Bull Run Invitational in 20:32. Following the three week layoff during the sniper attacks, she led her team to fourth place at the county championship with a second place individual finish in 20:17 on the John Poole Middle School course. She won the 2A west title and cruised to victory at the 2A state championship meet with a margin of victory of 26 seconds and a time of 19:58.56. The team won the 2A state title with 74 points. She competed for the US Air Force Academy and the US Naval Academy.
| Abby Spitler - Gaithersburg, Class of 2010 - If Abby Spitler was able to finish the race her freshman year, she may have been a four-time top ten finisher at the county championship. She won the Glory Days freshman race in 19:47 just prior to the county meet, but took a fall during the county race and did not finish. She finished 10th in the 4A West Region race and 26th at the state championship. As a sophomore she ran 18:57 at the Glory Days Invitational and 19:05.67 for sixth place at the county championship. She was 11th at regionals and 12th at states in 19:57. She started off her junior year on fire with wins at the Peter Geraghty Invitational, the Magruder Invitational and a second place finish at the William and Mary Invitaitonal 'B' race. She was fourth at the county championship in 18:49.45, fourth in the region and sixth in the state. As a senior, she took down the course best times set by Louise Hannallah and Halsey Sinclair in a solo effort and personal record time of 18:41 on the Gaithersburg dual meet course. She was again fourth in the county, and also placed sixth in the region, but fell to 24th at the state meet. She will compete for Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
| Karen Aherne - Northwest, Class of 2004 - After finding success on the track in the 800-meters, Karen Aherne found success almost immediately in her first year of running cross country as a junior in 2002. She placed fourth at the county championship in 20:45 and was the top non-senior athlete in the field. She placed second at the 3A state championship in 20:05.9 to lead Northwest to its first girls cross country state title. In 2003, after pushing her 800-meter time down to 2:16.4 in the spring, she returned to XC in the fall to lead Northwest to the school's first county XC title with a third place finish at the county championship in 19:05.04. She helped Northwest repeat as 3A state champions by way of a fourth place finish at Hereford in 20:20. She competed for Princeton University.
| Cara Harrison - Quince Orchard, Class of 2007 - In her junior year, Cara Harrison placed fifth at the county championship in 19:09, fifth in the 4A West region in 20:08, and eighth at the state championship in 19:54.35. She finished off that season with a third place finish in the junior race at the Footlocker regional championship in 19:38.3. In her senior year in 2006, she was on a totally different level, placing first at the Peter Geraghty Invitational in 19:13.1, third at the Paul Short Run in 18:33, and third at Glory Days in 18:28. She led the county championship race by a large margin before getting chased down by Morgane Gay and settling for second in 18:26.2, the second best time ever run on the Gaithersburg course at the time. She was third in the region in 19:16.9 and third at the state championship with a time of 19:23.1. It was the fifth fastest time recorded by a Montgomery County female athlete at the state championship meet this decade. She placed 32nd in the Footlocker Regional Seeded race in 18:50.1. She ran briefly at Brown University.
| Alyssa Henshaw - Northwest, Class of 2010 - After running a few 5k's in the low 19 minute range, Alyssa Henshaw dropped to 18:46.38 in a 3rd place effort at the 2008 county championship in her junior year. She went on to take third in the region in 19:49.46 and eleventh in the state in 20:30. She had a great senior season, running 19:33 at the Oatlands Invitational, 18:35 for sixth place at the Paul Short Invitational, and 18:30 for second place at the Glory Days Invitational. She was the runner up at the Montgomery County championship with a time of 18:59, but could not finish the season strong due to illness.
| Kim Hurney - Good Counsel, Class of 2001 - As a freshman in 1997, Kim Hurney won the Metro Catholic Championship individual title and the Maryland State Catholic Championship title, leading her team to victories in both meets. She led her team to four consecutive team titles at the WCAC Championship meet while in high school. In her junior year in the 1999 season, she won the individual WCAC title in 20:38, the Mercersburg Invitational in 20:17, and the Mid-Atlantic Private Schools title in 20:09. She competed briefly at James Madison University.
| Nora McCall - Good Counsel, Class of 2007 - Nora McCall was a three-time WCAC Champion. In her junior year in 2005, she won the conference title by 53 seconds with a time of 20:24. In her senior year, she had several sub-20:00 clockings including an 8th place finish in the 'A' race at William & Mary in 19:10, 19:08.2 in a victory at the Mercersburg Invitational, and 19:18 at the Glory Days Invitational. She capped off the season with a 20:15.9 4th place finish at the DC-MD Private School Championships. She currently competes for Colby College.
Third Team All-Decade
Pelkey (center) with All-Decade Runners Cara Harrison and Neal Darmody
|Coach of the Decade - Seann Pelkey - Quince Orchard
- Seann Pelkey has coached the Quince Orchard cross country team since 1999. Since 2000, his girls teams have an average finish place of 3.1 at the Montgomery County Championship Meet, the lowest average of any team this decade. The Quince Orchard girls have qualified for the state championship each of the last ten years and only twice finished outside of the top five in the state. In 2001, the Quince Orchard girls won the school's first 4A state title led by Karen Pulliam's second consecutive individual state title. In addition to his accomplishments with the girls team, Pelkey led the QO boys to an undefeated season in 2006 and was named the 2006 Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year for Boys. In 2007, the QO boys won back to back county, region, and state titles.|
| Amber Duffin - Magruder, Class of 2004 - Amber Duffin emerged onto the scene as a sophomore in 2001 when she placed 11th at the county championship in 20:21 and 10th at the state championship in 21:06.79. The following year she placed 7th at the state meet in 20:40.07. As a senior, she placed fifth in the county in a personal best time of 19:33.68 and again finished 7th at the state meet with a time of 20:22. She went on to be an all-conference runner at Brigham Young University.
| Aimee Moores - Quince Orchard, Class of 2009 -
Aimee Moores ran at the 4A state meet in four consecutive years and improved each year. Her times really started to drop in her junior year when she ran 18:59 at the Glory Days Invitational, 19:06.18 to place 7th at the county championship, 19:56.0 to place 8th at the 4A West region championship, and 20:03 to place 14th at the 4A state championship. In her senior year, she repeated her 7th place county championship finish in a a personal best time of 18:58.61. She placed 6th at regionals and 7th at the state championship in 20:14.|
Megan Andrews - B-CC, Class of 2006 -
As a freshman, Megan Andrews placed sixth at the 2A state championship in 21:08 to help her team win the state title. She would be a three-time top 15 state medalist and three-time top 10 county medalist before graduating. As a sophomore, she placed 6th at the county championship with a time of 19:36.97 and bettered that the following year as a junior when she ran a personal best time of 19:17.98 to finish 8th. Also as a junior, she won the 3A west region title in 20:09.69 before finishing 14th at the 3A state meet in 21:34. She currently competes for Queen's University in Ontario, Canada.
|Rachel Forcino - Northwest, Class of 2006 - Coach Beth Muehl likes to use Rachel Forcino as an example of where hard work can get you.
Forcino went from an inexperienced junior varsity runner to state runner up and eventually to Division I college runner. By her sophomore year she was running for the varsity team and helped Northwest win its first girls' county title with a 21st place finish and second consecutive 3A state title with a 12th place finish. As a junior she placed 9th in the county in 19:20.10 leading them to their second consecutive county title, second in the 3A West region and second at the state meet. In her senior year, she was again a top ten finisher at the county championship, helping Northwest to one of the most dominant wins of the decade. She finished 6th in the 4A west region in the school's first year as a 4A team and finished 17th in the state. She currently runs for American University.|
Lindsey Schneider - Quince Orchard, Class of 2002 - Lindsey Schneider was one of the best #2 runners of the decade as she backed up Karen Pulliam's 2000 county, region, and state sweep with a fourth place finish at the county championship in 19:50, a second place finish at the 4A West Regional Championship Meet in a personal best time of 19:26.23, and a fifth place finish at the 4A state championship in 20:02.37. As a senior, she became involved in other activities at school and may not have continued running if not for the team's quest for a state title. She finished 7th in the county and 15th at the state meet to help the team win the 4A state title with 55 points. Without her, Quince Orchard would have finished second by two points.
|Anna Ryba - Whitman, Class of 2012 - Only a sophomore, Anna Ryba is the youngest member of the All-Decade Team and may be on the next all-decade team, too. She made her high school debut by defeating a few other all-decade team members in Aimee Moores and Anna Bosse by a comfortable margin in a dual meet. As a freshman, she clocked a season best 5k time of 19:12 at the Paul Short Run, placed 11th at the county championship in 19:24.22, 8th at the 4A West Regional Meet in 20:24, and 5th at the 4A State meet in 20:08. As a sophomore, she improved on her finishes at the county championship by taking 5th in 19:20 and the regional championship by taking 4th in 20:00, but she did not run at the state championship. |
|Erin McManus - Churchill, Class of 2008 -
Erin McManus kicked off her senior year with her first ever sub-20 performance, clocking 19:32.62 at the Great Meadows Invitational. She ran under 20:00 in every major invitational and championship including a personal best 18:43.47 at the Meade Classic, a fifth place finish at the Montgomery County Championship in 18:58.59, a fifth place finish at the 4A West Regional Meet in 19:40.0, and an eighth place finish at the state championship in 19:47. She finished fifth in 19:04 at the first ever NTN Regional Championship, which, under today's qualification rules, would have qualified her individually for nationals (there were no individual qualifiers in the first year). She currently competes for Vanderbilt University.|
Megan Kirby - Gaithersburg, Class of 2002 -
After a solid freshman cross country campaign in which she placed 50th at the state meet, Megan Kirby discovered her 2:18 800-meter speed on the track. The following cross country season, she began using that speed to her advantage as she often kicked down many runners in the final stretch. She placed 6th at the county championship and 10th at the state championship. As a junior in 2000, she was the county runner up with a time of 19:39.7, and placed 3rd in the region in 19:52.97 and 15th in the state in 20:58.05. As a senior, she made it three consecutive years as a top 15 medalist at the state meet when she placed 6th in 20:39.52.
|Allison King - Churchill, Class of 2005 - Allison King came on strong in her senior year when she won the 'C' race at the William and Mary Invitational in 18:44, placed third at the Meade Classic in 18:59, and placed 12th at the Georgetown Prep Classic in 19:35. She placed in the top ten at the county, region, and 4A state championship including a 3rd place finish in a personal best time of 18:38 at the county championship. She was 6th in the region in 20:42.9 and 10th in the state in 20:49. She was the Churchill class of 2005 valedictorian and went on to compete for Northwestern University.|
Emily Bartlett - B-CC, Class of 2005 -
In her sophomore year, Emily Bartlett helped B-CC win the 2A state title as the fourth scoring girl on the team with an 18th place finish. In her junior year, B-CC moved up to the 3A classification and she stepped up to lead her team at the state meet with a 10th place finish. Perhaps her best race came at the 2004 county championship where she ran 19:16.59 for 7th place. She recently completed a great collegiate track career at Cornell University where she was a standout steeplechaser and earned Academic All-American honors.
Honorable Mention All-Decade
Abbey Daley - Clarksburg 2013
Alba Serrano - Walter Johnson 2002
Alexandra Giedd - Churchill - 2010
Andrea Maxwell - Wootton 2010
Anya Oleynik - Quince Orchard 2006
Ashley McIerney - Magruder 2002
Becca Stinner - Northwest 2008
Beth Bower - Quince Orchard 2003
Caitlyn Kennedy - Quince Orchard 2004
Chinyelu Asher - Holy Cross 2011
Debbie Isen - Whitman 2008
Jamie Limongelli - Gaithersburg 2002
Janelle Thompson - Poolesville 2004
Jenna Willett - Walter Johnson 2010
Julie Plevin - Whitman 2005
Karen Mayer - Churchill 2002
Kathy Aherne - Northwest 2008
Laurel Jefferson - Blair 2003
Maggie Guille - Whitman 2001
Maryam Fikri - Churchill 2010
Rachel Brandenburg - Jewish Day 2001
Stephanie Joson - Quince Orchard 2010
Suzie McHenry - Damascus 2003
Taylor Colbert - Damascus 2009
A time is just a time without context. A reader who is familiar with cross country in Maryland and lived through it all would immediately understand what a certain time would mean for a certain course, but an outsider could easily be confused about how a 17:58 at William & Mary could be comparable to an 18:51 at Hereford. Courses such as those used for the William & Mary Invitational, The Meade Classic, and the Glory Days Invitational are very flat, fast courses and have at times been officially noted as being short of a full 5k. Thus, those courses produced some of the fastest times of the decade.
Outsiders may also wonder why Maryland athletes get "slower" as the season progresses.
The county championship was first held at Gaithersburg High School in 2000 and was hosted there every year from 2000 to 2009 except for 2002. It is a fair, relatively fast course that can produce very fast times under the right conditions.
The 3A and 4A West Regional meets were held at the Rockville Civic Center in the early part of the decade. The Rockville Civic Center course is hillier and more challenging than Gaithersburg so times were usually a bit slower. In 2005, the 3A and 4A West Region Meets were moved to Watkins Mill which has a very challenging and hilly course. In 2006, the 3A West meet was moved to a fast course hosted by Linganore, but it was moved back to Watkins Mill the following year.
The state championship meet was held on the famously difficult 3 mile course at Hereford High School throughout the decade, so it was normal for the athlete's to clock slower finish times as the championship season progressed.
Other meets that you will see mentioned repeatedly are the Knights Invitational at Montgomery College, the Magruder Invitational, and the Georgetown Prep Classic. The Knights Invitational used to be what the Magruder Invitational currently is - an early season meet where 10-15 Montgomery County teams and a few others face off for the first time. Winning those meets are important within the realm of Montgomery County, but not nearly as important as winning the Georgetown Prep Classic. The Georgetown Prep Classic was previously the premier invitational in the Washington DC area. It brought together the best teams from Virginia, Maryland, and DC just prior to championship season. Winning was a big deal and often a ticket to being named to the Washington Post All-Met team. The Georgetown Prep Classic was cancelled in 2005 and 2006 while the school's campus underwent construction. When the meet returned, it was scheduled on the same day as the Montgomery County Championship Meet, so the meet had lower participation for two years. Participation increased in 2009 when the county championship meet was held on a different day, but rain and mud slowed down times significantly.
Another event that you will read about repeatedly in this article is the DC sniper attacks of 2002. Never before had there been such a disruption to high school athletics. Many school systems, including MCPS, suspended all outdoor activities. Sports teams were forced to cancel practice or practice indoors. This caused headaches for soccer teams and football teams who fought over scheduled gym time, but it caused different problems for cross country teams. The only option was to run in the hallways of the school or cancel practice. Many teams did a combination of both by running in the hallways on some days and canceling practice on other days (*wink*wink*). This went on for three weeks until the sniper suspects were apprehended just two days before the county championship meet. Just incase the police arrested the wrong people and the real killers were still at large, the county championship was moved to John Poole Middle School where athletes and spectators would be less likely to fall victim to a drive by shooting. The rest of the season went on normally, although Montgomery County athletes were at a slight disadvantage because runners in other areas of the state were allowed to continue practicing and competing outdoors while Montgomery County was confined indoors during three critical weeks of the season.