Fun Stuff


MCPS Consortia Championship Preview
By: Ryun Anderson

The date was October 17, 2015. The location was Northwood High School. It wa a crisp, sunny and picturesque fall afternoon. A crowd stood on the far end of the practice fields behind the school, nervously awaiting the return of 78 girls who were running through the trails in the woods. It had been at least ten minutes since most of the spectators had seen the girls; what little information they had on the progression of the race blasted over the loudspeakers as Northwood coach Michael Sauter broadcasted from somewhere in the woods.

After what seemed more like ten hours than ten minutes, someone spotted a shadowy figure making its way back to the fields. Then another, about fifteen seconds behind. Anybody who knew the girls in the race had but one thought racing through their minds.

Which one was Ciciely and which one was Beth?

A bit of background: Einstein's Ciciely Davy and Paint Branch's Beth Taye were not just the top runners in the race, they were two of the top runners in the entire state. They were almost guaranteed to smash the Consortia Championship meet record.

Oh, and they sort of look like alike. Heck, they could pass for sisters.

Finally, after about fifteen seconds of speculating, the first girl emerged. It was Davy. Taye emerged about 50 meters behind her. However, with the fans and other athletes around the field cheering them wildly for the final half mile, Taye slowly closed the gap. As they crested the final hill before the track, Taye overtook Davy and pulled away for a twelve second victory.

As the rest of the field finished and the boys prepared to race, I realized something. This meet was not just some little county tune-up. It was not a stomping ground for a solid program or two to bulldoze lesser teams, as it had been before. This was championship cross country.

The meet has come a long way since its humble five-team beginnings in 2009. After years of the Einstein boys and Blair girls dominating the meet, nothing can be taken for granted anymore. Take this example: in 2014, all eight boys teams had at least one medalist (top 15). Every team has had at least one top eight finisher in the meet's seven-year history. In fact, there is a possibility this year that each school has a top ten finisher on the boys side.

The top returner from last year's race, Einstein's Simeon Mussie, is probably the favorite heading into the race. He scored a huge victory this week by beating Oakland Mills' Joey Navarro at Scorpion Crawl. It has been three years since an Einstein boy last won the Consortia Championships; Ben Withbroe set the (then) meet-record of 16:45 back in 2012.

Mussie certainly won't be running by himself on Saturday. One of his top challengers will be Northwood's Obsaa Feda. After flashing his potential last track season when he ran 10:06.41 in the 3200, he has had an excellent first cross country season. He followed in the footsteps of last year's Consortia champion, Michael Abebe, by winning the varsity B race at the Oatlands Invitational. He also finished fourth in the junior boys race at the three-mile DCXC Invitational where he ran 15:53.

Don't count out Wheaton's Jason Scott, either. He finished fifth at last year's Consortia Championships. At his only invitational so far this season, he finished 19th at the Howard County Invitational - just one spot behind Poolesville's Ryan Lockett.

Last year the Einstein boys won their first Consortia Cup since the 2012 season. The Titans have four runners this season who could possibly place among the top ten, but an enormous gap between their fourth and fifth runners possibly leaves the door open to another team taking home the cup.

Who could that team be? Maybe the 2013-14 champions from Paint Branch, who beat Blake, Springbrook and Kennedy at the Barnhart Invitational and Blair at the Spiked Shoe Invitational. Or perhaps the Blair boys will use the depth they showed in their recent dual meet win over Springbrook to capture their first-ever boys Consortia Cup. All eight teams have a chance to put a runner in the top ten, something that has never been done in the race's history.

It's hard to imagine a girls race as fiercely competitive as last year's, but that doesn't mean there won't be another great race. Paint Branch's Yasmine Kass clocked the fastest time by a Consortia girl this season when she ran 19:04.90 earlier this season at the Barnhart Invitational. After finishing sixth at last year's Consortia Championships, she took the next step during the track season posting personal bests of 2:21.40 and 5:05.67.

Kass' biggest threat will probably be Blair's Josephine Brane-Wright, who beat her last year at this race. Brane- Wright also leads a Blair girls team seeking its sixth Consortia Cup in eight years. They edged out Taye and the Paint Branch girls by three points last year, but after beating the Paint Branch girls handily at the Spiked Shoe Invitational this season they seem to be heading for another Consortia Championship Title.

The Blair girls have one of the stronger teams 1-7 in the county this season. 2011 was the last time they qualified as a team for the state championships and Saturday will provide an excellent opportunity to see just how strong this team is heading into the county championships next Saturday at Gaithersburg.

One final note: for the second straight year the weather for the Consortia Championships is expected to be picture- perfect: sunny, 64 degrees with a slight breeze. You know what that feels like?

It feels like championship season.

 Year	Boys Champs	Girls Champs
 2015	Einstein	Blair
 2014	Paint Branch	Einstein
 2013	Paint Branch 	Einstein
 2012	Einstein	Blair
 2011	Einstein	Blair
 2010	Einstein	Blair
 2009	Einstein	Blair
Meet Champions
 2015	Michael Abebe		Northwood	16:35
 2014	Lorenzo Neil		Paint Branch	16:27 (Meet Record)
 2013	Lorenzo Neil		Paint Branch	17:00
 2012	Ben Withbroe		Einstein	16:45
 2011	Nick Simpson		Einstein	17:30
 2010	Andrew Ceruzzi		Einstein	17:31.23
 2009	Andrew Ceruzzi		Einstein	18:34

 2015	Bethlehem Taye		Paint Branch	19:26 (Meet Record)
 2014	Ciciely Davy		Einstein	20:14
 2013 	Karen Escobedo		Springrbook	20:33
 2012	Sydney Almeida		Springbrook	20:26
 2011	Morgana D'Ottavi	Blair		20:42
 2010	Morgana D'Ottavi	Blair		20:12.22
 2009	Morgan Kershner 	Northwood	22:19


2016-10-13 09:48:13

great article! That meet/course record has to be vulnerable to Mussie. I'll be surprised if the winning time is 16:25 or greater

Mike Sauter
2016-10-13 10:12:46

It could be a great day for Blake's coach, Andrew Brodeur, to better his course record 15:47 from last year in the open 5K. There is race day registration available for elementary and middle school races and the open race.

Ryun Anderson
2016-10-13 14:10:24

I would run the open race but I'm saving for a big one next weekend. People in the area should definitely sign up though it's a great course!

Contribute to the Discussion
- Add A Comment

Email | About