Mount St. Mary's is going to be a fantastic first meet of the 2007 cross country season. Teams from 3 states and the District of Columbia will throw their athletes into a real race situation for the first time this season to see what their team is made up of. The entry list includes a concentration of schools from the Greater D.C. Area and will provide an excellent first view into the talent pools of the ISL, IAC, WCAC, and MCPS.
This race will provide an opportunity for teams to test themselves against Quince Orchard High School, the 18th ranked team in the nation. Expectations are very high for QOHS to repeat their county, region, and state titles before moving on to national competition. Top challengers will include defending WCAC champions, Dematha, and defending IAC champions St. Albans. Both Dematha and St. Albans return with most of their 2006 varsity roster in tact. Walt Whitman, Good Counsel, and Northwest High Schools are also expected to do well.
This race will feature several championship teams from the 2006 season including WCAC and DC/MD Champions Good Counsel, VIS Champions Paul IV, ISL Champions National Cathedral, and MCPS Champions Northwest. Paul IV and Good Counsel both graduated many seniors from their teams while Northwest and National Cathedral are still expected to be strong. Walt Whitman, Quince Orchard, and Richard Montgomery should all push for top spots as well.
St. Alban's Nick Bax is looking for a three-peat after winning this season-opening race the previous two years. Potential challengers should be Whitman's national freshman mile champion Andrew Palmer along with Maryland 3200m state champ Neal Darmody from QO. Also watch out for defending WCAC champion Robert Patterson and teammate Corey Puffett from Dematha, WCAC 3200m champion Ian McDermott from Good Counsel, David Laratta from Quince Orchard, and Sumanth Kuppalli from Perry Hall.
The girl's race is loaded with stars including Maryland state 1600 meter champion Morgane Gay from Whitman, who is expected to lead the way. Maryland competitors should be aware of the #1 runner from Fairfax High School. Frances Dowd was the runner up in the 800 at the VA state meet with a personal best of 2:13.43 and has run under 19 minutes for 5k. WCAC runner-up Stephanie Bardon may be up for the challenge while the Big 3 from Northwest (Emma Eckerstrom, Kathy Aherne, and Becca Stinner) are all legitimate contenders.