Cross country falls short with 3rd place states finish

By By Joe Nolan, Staff Writer

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Led by 2011 MCPS Coach of the Year Paul Jacobson, the cross country team could not have asked for a better way to enter the Maryland state finals. With a senior-heavy boys team and a young and promising girls team, XC flexed its muscles at the 4A West Regional Championships Nov. 3, successfully qualifying for states.

 

Despite being the favorite for States, the state finals proved to be a disappointing day for the Bulldogs as a series of slip-ups and poor races left the favored boys team to finish third behind Walter Johnson and Severna Park.

 

Senior Will Conway finished in fourth place in the 5K of all 24 high schools represented at the meet, with a time of 16:43. Weak races all around compromised the Bulldogs’ characteristic depth that led to the team’s dominance this season and to their commanding victory at Regionals.

 

Conway described the meet as an “implosion” on CHS’s part.

 

“[We] absolutely should have won and we finished third,” Conway said.

 

According to senior Zach Weinstein, who placed 17th with 17:20, the boys team had a stroke of bad luck that hindered their chances of winning. Senior Matt Kogan, Conway, and he were just recovering from sickness, and senior Sushen Thiyagarajan had to stop to retie his shoe after a competitor spiked it off.

 

When the dust settled on Nov. 12, Walter Johnson came out with a stunning victory as its squad had the lowest score with 71 points. Severna Park came in second, and the CHS team a close third with a score of 115.

 

“I think if Sushen, Matt, Luke and I had been where we should have been, we would have dropped around 50 points, putting us at about 65 and just in front of WJ,” Weinstein said.

 

Considering how young the team is, the girls varsity squad displayed a great performance at States. Led by freshman Lucy Srour, who finished second in the meet, the sophomore-heavy Bulldogs finished at a respectable eighth place, but not without any drama.

 

According to Srour, she and Whitman’s senior Caroline Guiot have each finished seconds apart at both Counties Oct. 22 and at Regionals .The much-anticipated rematch proved to be another nail-biter, but Guiot managed to hold on to first once again, while Srour’s incredible racing led her to finish just behind Guiot in second place.

 

What was so shocking about CHS’s loss at States was that they performed so well at Regionals. The girls won fourth place and the boys swept the competition, receiving first place by easily outperforming WJ.

 

“What happened happened,” Weinstein said. “That’s life, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re not going to dwell on the past. We’re looking forward to showing everyone what we’re really made of by redeeming ourselves at the Nike Southeast Regional meet on Nov. 26.”