Around the County Week 1
By: Ryun Anderson
Monday, September 05, 2016

After a week of scrimmages, the 2016 cross country season finally kicked off on Saturday! Hot temperatures are not uncommon on Labor Day Weekend here in the Mid-Atlantic, but runners were greeted Saturday with some very mild, fall-esque conditions. Montgomery County teams were present at four meets around the DC area this weekend, so here is this weeks recap:

- Northwest and Poolesville traveled up to the Brunswick Invite. The Northwest boys kicked off their 2016 season with a second-place finish in the large school divison; they showcased the tight pack that made them so good last year. Their top three runners - Chase Osborne, Komlan Attiogbe and Jose Infante - finished 11-13, with Ngoy Jeriel Yamitshi not far behind.

- Poolesville also had a strong first meet of the season. Sophomore Nandini Satsangi kicked off her season with a third-place finish in the large school division and fourth overall. Last year's 3A state runner-up is one of a group of girls looking to close the gap on Walter Johnson's Abigail Green this fall. After an injury-shortened 2015 cross country season, Andrew Lent made his return to the course with a fifth-place finish. Another piece of good news for the Falcons: junior Ryan Lockett is back after one year at Gonzaga. Lockett finished seventh, giving Poolesville a strong duo to start the season.

- Richard Montgomery's Rohann Asfaw kicked off the season by defending his Interstate Classic title at Clear Spring High School. He put nearly 20 seconds between himself and the next-closest runner, defending 1A state champion Will Merritt, showing why he's probably the top runner in the state right now. Nefret El-Masry finished fifth in the girls race, leading the Rockets to a second-place finish in the large school division.

- Good Counsel traveled down to Virginia for the Chancellor Invitational. The boys team finished second overall, led by Jimmy Vazzana's fifth-place effort. Make no mistake, this team won't be as good as last year's historically good squad, but they'll still look to contend for the WCAC title later this year. Their WCAC rivals Gonzaga looked good in winning the Seahawk Invitational in Anne Arundel County. On the girls side, Claudia Wendt also led the way with a fifth-place finish. She'll be looking to build on her third-place finish at the MD-DC Private School Championships as just a sophomore last year.

- Clarksburg, Sherwood and Whitman traveled over to South River for the Seahawk Invitational. After a promising time trial, the Whitman duo of Josh Engels and Aaron Bratt officially debuted together on the course with a great race, finishing fifth and sixth. They clocked blistering times of 15:44.90 and 15:53.30 on the course that is probably somewhere between three miles and a full 5K, but their high finishes in a loaded field speak for themselves. They could challenge Nakasaka/Fry and Asfaw/El-Masry as the top duo in the county this year. On the girls side, Whitman finished fourth and showed great depth with individuals winning both JV races, and the Sherwood girls packed their way to a sixth-place finish by putting six girls between places 37 to 44.

What's next: Saturday kicked off the 2016 cross country season, and most teams that didn't race this past weekend will start their seasons this week. The divisional meet schedule is pretty light this week, but Georgetown Prep's Woodward Relays on Tuesday will serve as a good preview for this weekend's invitationals, which include Track and Trail, Howard County and the Bullis Invitational right here in Montgomery County.


Runner dude
Monday, September 05, 2016
03:55:59 PM
What makes you think the Seahawk course is les than 5K?

Ryun Anderson
Monday, September 05, 2016
04:47:25 PM
Meet director came out today saying it was three miles. Was also 3.003 last year. Had been 5K in years prior

Sher Coach
Monday, September 05, 2016
10:32:55 PM
Spoke to the meet personnel. The man who measured the Seahawk Inv. course assured me the distance is 3 miles plus about 2 yds.

kinda obvious
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
08:23:56 PM
tons of guys broke 16, many of which hadnt broken 17 there before. Far cry from the old seahawk course. 3mi is generous if you cut the many loopy turns tight

Ryun Anderson
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
09:29:35 PM
As I mentioned in the article, this isn't to take away from any of the Moco performances, especially Engles/Bratt. They beat some really good runners there.

Runner Dude
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
10:02:59 AM
Agreed Ryun. It's just a shame they can't get the facts out at the beginning and not over excite kids and coaches with false 5K times. It was still a good meet with a lot of talent.

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