Lions and Grasshoppers and Frogs...oh my!
The ISL, IAC, and MAC have some of the most ferocious mascots on the planet. No really. It just takes a little imagination. Imagine a 30-foot grasshopper. You
aren't going to be able to run away from that. A poisonous tree frog? You're as good as dead. The worst mascot for a running team but maybe the scariest of all
is the Madeira Snails. A giant snail? Good luck getting out of his slime before he comes to suck your brains out. Go, Go Escargots!
It was a Halloween rendition of the IAC, ISL, MAC Championships in our backyard at the Agricultural Farm Park in Derwood, and there is nothing scarier than an
unpredictable cross country team. One of the most unpredictable cross country teams ever is this year's St. Alban's team. Their team resembles an amorphous
blob that somehow rolls to the top of the standings. Who is their #1? Who is their #2? Who is their #7, 8, and 9? The newest IAC champion Tom Naatz was
seventh on the team at the Georgetown Prep Classic. St. Albans apparently has seven guys that can win on any given day which will continue to be a nightmare
for this current Landon team, assuming Landon has aspirations of taking down St. Albans any time soon.
The Sidwell Friends Quakers shook up the Georgetown Day School Grasshoppers who had won each of the last five MAC cross country titles. Sidwell regained the
MAC XC throne for the first time since 2009. Tristan Colaizzi of Georgetown Day won the MAC race in 15:51, the fastest time of the day from any race.
The Lady Grasshoppers won the ISL title while Taylor Knibb of Sidwell Friends had an incredible 36 second victory in the ISL championship race with a time of
18:11 on a very difficult course.
The top Montgomery County teams in each division were as follows: ISL - Stone Ridge Gators (5th); MAC - St. Andrew's Episcopal Lions (5th); IAC - Landon Bears
WHAT'S NEXT: All of the state's regional meets will take place this Thursday. The forecast calls for scattered showers, but runners will take temperatures
touching 70 in November any day. Here's to some great performances by all Moco teams at regionals this week!
PVAC Championship Preview:
The Jewish Day School is pretty excited about their boys team this year. They believe that it is not only the best XC team in school history, but possibly the
best in PVAC history. JDS will go for the title this Tuesday behind #1 runner Reuben Winston at Covenant Life's home course. JDS will also have a competitive
girls team, but Washington International appears to be the deepest team.
4A West Preview:
The 4A West region will essentially be a rematch of the county championships on the boys side. Rohann Asfaw and the Wootton boys remain the favorites for the
titles. The battle for a team spot at the state meet will be interesting. Seven teams will advance, and if regionals plays out like counties, the Einstein boys
would be on the outside looking in. Richard Montgomery, however, finished only fifteen points up on Einstein, so this race will sure be interesting. Individual
boys with strong chances to qualify individually include Michael Abebe of Northwood and Ben Gersch of Whitman.
If the county championship meet was scored with only 4A West teams:
Thomas S. Wootton 68
Bethesda Chevy Chase 86
Winston Churchill 100
Walter Johnson 160
Quince Orchard 166
Richard Montgomery 168
Albert Einstein 174
Montgomery Blair 266
Walt Whitman 282
John F. Kennedy 397
On the girls side, seven of the top ten from counties will race. Abbey Green and Emily Murphy could go 1-2, although the team title race between WJ and B-CC
could be tighter than it was at counties. The Clarksburg girls will enter the meet not too far behind Quince Orchard, and both Einstein and Blair remain
dangerous in terms of qualifying for the state meet. Individual girls with strong chances to qualify if their teams cannot qualify include Ciciely Davy of
Einstein and Sofia Zarate of Northwest.
If the county championship meet was scored with only 4A West teams:
Walter Johnson 36
Bethesda Chevy Chase 60
Walt Whitman 125
Richard Montgomery 138
Winston Churchill 161
Thomas S. Wootton 164
Quince Orchard 190
Albert Einstein 233
Montgomery Blair 240
John F. Kennedy 470
4A North Preview:
Sherwood, Springbrook, and Paint Branch will race in the 4A North region at Dulaney. The three teams finished in that order in the boys race at counties and
all three teams have a decent shot at finishing 4-5-6 at regionals and qualifying for states. With all three teams finishing within seventeen points at
counties, they could finish in any order.
Bethlehem Taye of Paint Branch will enter as the favorite for the race after finishing third at counties, and Sherwood's Amanda Hayes-Puttfarcken will also
probably be a frontrunner. Both teams have a great chance to qualify for states and possibly finish as high as second in the team scores.
3A South Preview:
If it wasn't for Northern's Matt Bennett, James Newport of Blake or Adam Sarsony of Rockville would be the top runners coming into the meet. Both Blake and
Wheaton have good chances of advancing to states, and Magruder and Rockville will both have chances to qualify.
The Blake girls, even though not fully healthy, have a good chance of advancing to states. As with the boys, the Magruder girls could also qualify with a great
race. As for individuals, Lisa Franco of Watkins Mill and Kathy Pena-Molina of Magruder will fight for a chance at states. Also in the mix will be Wheaton's
Gelila Hailemariam, who is still returning to form but finished twelfth at last year's state meet.
3A West Preview:
All three Moco teams (Damascus, Poolesville, Seneca Valley) will have to have great races to qualify their boys teams out of 3A West. Damascus' Ben Macek also
could have a shot with a great race.
The Poolesville girls, led by freshman Nandini Satsangi, enter as the favorite for the girls team title. Both Damascus and Seneca Valley will be right in the
mix to qualify for states. A couple girls with chances to qualify individually include Heather Delaplaine of Damascus and Omolola Sanusi of Seneca
Mocorunning forum user xc_starmont has posted his simulations of all the regional meets, providing what he believes are the chances for every team in the state
to qualify for the state championship meet. Agree or disagree, it seems pretty cool. Check it
MoCo Private Schools Preview:
The private schools of Montgomery County will have their 4th county championship meet on Saturday at Georgetown Prep. Good Counsel will attend the meet for the
first time in the meet's brief history. While everyone knows that this means Good Counsel will win both the boys and girls team titles, a few coaches said that
they were actually excited to have Good Counsel present. Good Counsel's Claudia Wendt should run her first race in almost six weeks after missing Glory Days
with a mild injury and missing the WCAC Championships due to pre-arranged travel plans.
21 Fun Facts About the 2015 County Championship
Northwood's Michael Abebe finished second, the highest ever by a Northwood runner at the county championship meet. His finish was also the highest by a
Consortia school since David Hickey of Springbrook won the race way back in 1988.
The Wootton boys put three runners in the top ten, something that no boys team had done since the 2009 Walter Johnson Wildcats did it.
Nine out of the top ten boys finishers are from 4A West (with the exception of Blake's James Newport), marking the first time since 2009 (when all ten
finishers were from the 4A West region) that at least nine of the top ten came from one region.
Virginia Brown's fourth-place finish extends BCC's streak of having a girl in the top five to a county-high six straight seasons. This streak is the
longest on the girls side in Moco since Quince Orchard did it from 1996-2001. The Gaithersburg boys accomplished this feat seven times in a row from 1999-2005.
Does winning the 9-10 JV race at the county championships predict future success? (The 9-10 race premiered in 2009). On the boys side, the first two
winners of the race (James Ryan in 2009 and Chengyu Liu in 2010) never finished inside the top thirty in the varsity race. However, the next three winners
(Daniel Kosogof, Itai Bezherano, and Rohann Asfaw) all went on to finish in the top ten in the county, with Asfaw becoming the first to win the 9-10 race and
the varsity race in his career. Northwest's Kolbey Woodard won the race this year and could be a sign of things to come.
The girls 9-10 JV race has been a far less accurate predictor of future success. No girl that has won the race has ever gone on to finish in the top twenty
in the county race, although BCC's Marie Caspard came close (21st in 2013).
The last time the county championship was on a weekday was in 2000.
The county championship DJ spinning tunes for the past several years is Aaron Anderson who is a great runner in his own right and finished second at the
county championship in 2000.
The last female county champion from Walter Johnson HS before Abigail Green was Ashley St. Denis in 2002. St. Denis now coaches Green and the Wildcats.
The last male county champion from RM before Rohann Asfaw was Michael Taye in 1995. Richard Montgomery won the 3A state title that year and RM's current
head coach Davy Rogers was a primary contributor.
Prior to this year, Wootton's boys team's highest county finish was a second place finish in 1978 in the first year the county meet was scored. 37 years
later, Wootton's boys are champions.
This was the first time in meet history that there have been five different boys team champions in five years.
If all races were combined and all seniors removed, Walter Johnson girls still edge B-CC while the Northwest boys would win the varsity race. In other
words, watch out next year.
The top three freshman boys times on this course (since it was modified in 2011) are similar. David Fitzgerald, Churchill in 2011 (16:42.54). Ryan Lockett,
Poolesville in 2014 (16:44.11). Wootton's John Riker in 2015 (16:44.1)
It hasn't rained at the county championship in ten years (2005).
The two biggest point movers on Mocorunning's ranking were Walter Johnson's Sadie Keller and Janet Scott who came on strong to help Walter Johnson win the
The biggest mover by place on mocorunning's rankings was Churchill freshman Hannah Bush who jumped up 37 places.
Blake's 9th place finish in the boys varsity race matched its highest team finish in school history. Blake was also ninth in 2002 which was the year only
16 complete teams showed up due to bizarre circumstances. There is no question that this is the best Blake XC team in school history.
Paint Branch's 8th place finish in the varsity girls race is the best in school history.
Walter Johnson's team score of 48 points in the girls race matches the lowest team score at a county meet where there were 24 complete scoring teams.
There has never been a county championship meet where 100% of the schools in the county fielded complete girls teams. In each of the last three years there
have been 24 out of 25 complete girls teams. This year, Wheaton did not field a complete team in the girls varsity race but they did field a complete team in
the JV 9-10 race so maybe next year will be the first time that there are 25 out of 25 scoring girls teams.
Which JV race is more competitive? Is it the JV 9-10 race or the JV 11-12 race? For the boys, the JV 9-10 race is much larger and deeper. For the girls, it
is dead even. If you plot the two race results on a graph, the lines are plotted on top of each other.