A year ago, Poolesville's boys were unable to clinch the division III title but were able to move up to division II based on performance at the county championship.
This year, Poolesville has been running much stronger as a team despite graduating their top runner, Eric Holmstead. They found themselves undefeated this week in a three-way showdown with two large 4A schools and a chance to win the division title.
While Poolesville's 4th and 5th runners are coming along, the top three of Chase Weaverling, Joey Werble, and Jordan Psaltakis wanted to leave nothing to chance. Richard Montgomery would be the tougher opponent, but they could guarantee victory by taking the top three spots ahead of RM.
To no one's surprise, Whitman's Nick Adams led from start to finish with a time right around 17:00. Adams said that the Poolesville runners kept him honest and it took a hard effort to win. The weather was much cooler than the previous home meet against B-CC. Adams individually won all of his dual meet races this season.
Weaverling and Werble broke off from the pack early in pursuit of Adams. Psaltakis, who missed a week of running in the middle of the season due to an academic hiking thing, hung onto RM's #1 runner Stephen Alexander. It was in the final mile that Psaltakis was able to create some distance from Alexander. Despite a final surge by Alexander in the final quarter mile, Psaltakis's lead was too large. Poolesville guaranteed victory against RM by taking the top three spots after Adams.
With Adams taking the first spot, Poolesville was still in danger of losing to Whitman, but Poolesville's Tariq Beidleman and William Stamm surged past a couple Whitman runners right at the finish line for an exciting finish, even if it was not absolutely necessary for the team win.
Poolesville got the double-win and finished the divisional season undefeated with the division II crown.
Elena De La Paz of RM and Anna Ryba of Whitman sat out for various reasons allowing a few other runners to shine. Caroline Guiot doesn't have the individual accolades that Ryba has yet, but she is a star and may win a few major races before too long. She dominated this race to finish in about 20:00.
Whitman may have had 5 girls under 20:00 at the Paul Short Invitational, but Poolesville's Chelsie Pennello had no trouble splitting up their pack and taking second place ahead of Alexandra Phillips and Caroline Elmendorf. Pennello wants badly to break 20:00 for the first time according to Coach Vollmer, and while she was about 15 seconds shy this time, she can now at least say she outran three girls who have recently run under 20:00. Last week Pennello won the inaugural Oakdale Inviational in 20:19.6.
Perhaps more surprising than Pennello's performance was that of RM's Grace Hanger. Taking on the lead role for her team in the absence of De La Paz, Hanger found herself attempting to chase down Caroline Elmendorf in the final stretch. To help put that in perspective, consider Elmendorf was 11th at last year's county championship and Hanger was 43rd. Hanger is one of the most improved runners in the county this year.
The Whitman girls clinched the division II title with a perfect record.