Mocorunning.com recruited the help of many of the most dedicated and well-respected coaches in Montgomery County to determine which athletes deserve to be distinguished among the top thirty runners of the decade. The following 14 coaches filled out rankings of the top 30 boys and top 30 girls in order from #30 right up through the athlete of the decade:
Tom Arnold, Steve Bettis, Robert Burke, Eric DaSilva, Greg Dunston, Steve Hays, Tom Martin, Beth Muehl, Seann Pelkey, Dan Reeks, Nathan Timm, Herb Tolbert, David Warren, and Robert Youngblood
Without the help of these coaches, this project would not have been possible. Their help is very much appreciated!
Coaches were instructed to only select athletes who competed for Montgomery County public or private schools between 2000 and 2009. Any athletes who bounced around to different schools will be credited with the last MoCo school they attended. For any athlete who transferred out of Montgomery County, only their accomplishments while at the Montgomery County school were to be taken into consideration. For athletes who bridged the decade from the late 1990's into the 2000's, coaches were allowed to consider their accomplishments from the 90's. Coaches were asked to disregard accomplishments from track & field as well as post- high school accomplishments. Coaches also voted for their peers to determine among themselves who will be distinguished as the coaches of the decade.
Corrections, photos, comments, and additional information can be sent to email@example.com at any time.
First Team All-Decade
|Coach of the Decade - Herb Tolbert - Gaithersburg
- Herb Tolbert has been Gaithersburg's head cross country coach for over three decades and this was perhaps his best decade. In the late 90's, the team came on stronger than ever and earned a national ranking but did not win a county or state title in the 90's. After four consecutive years of finishing second in the county, the Gaithersburg boys finally won the county title in 2000 led by a 1-2 finish by Marcus Hershberger and Aaron Anderson. The 2000 team won the 4A West region and won its first state title since 1971, which was before Tolbert joined the team. The Gaithersburg girls also had their best season in 2000 when they placed second in the county, first in the 4A West Region, and sixth at the state championship. Gaithersburg won two more boys' county titles in 2003 and 2004 to bring their title count to three, more than any other boys' team this decade. Tolbert coached six of the boys and two of the girls who were voted as first, second, or third team on this All-Decade Team including three different county champions. Gaithersburg had a twelve year streak between 1997 and 2008 in which the boys team qualified for the state championship in consecutive years. In 1996, Tolbert carried the Olympic Torch through Washington DC on its journey to Atlanta for the Summer Olympic Games. |
|Athlete of the Decade: Solomon Haile - Sherwood, Class of 2009 - In one cross country season at Sherwood in 2008, Solomon Haile cemented his position atop the Mocorunning Cross Country All-Decade Team. More importantly, as this article was being prepared, Dyestat.com named him to its All-Decade Cross Country Team, an exclusive list of the top seven boys to run for a U.S. High School in the last ten years. After arriving from Ethiopia as a junior and winning the 5k at both Nike Indoor Nationals and Nike Outdoor Nationals, he set course records in nearly every cross country race including the Magruder Invitational (15:53.39) and Oatlands Invitational (15:25). He also won the Octoberfest Invitational in 15:10.35, but the race that really captured national attention was his record-breaking win at the Manhattan Invitational on the time-tested 2.5 mile course at Van Cortlandt Park in 12:06.61. The following week, he smashed the course record at the Montgomery County Championship by thirty seconds in 15:11.62. He is believed to be the first runner to ever go under 16 minutes at Watkins Mill when he won the 4A West Region in 15:56. He then became the first and only boy to ever run under 16 minutes at the state championship (not including the Bull Run Invitational which is also at Hereford) when he smashed the meet record in a time of 15:43. He won the Footlocker Northeast Region by fifteen seconds in 15:21.9 to become the only Footlocker Qualifier from a Montgomery County school this decade. He was favored to win the national title and won by seven seconds in 15:15. He currently competes at the University of Arkansas. |
|Andrew Palmer - Whitman, Class of 2010 - While Solomon Haile put together the best single season of cross country this decade, Andrew Palmer put together the best four-year high school cross country career. As a freshman, he finished ninth in the county in 16:27, fourth the 4A west region, and eighth in the state. He would eventually be the only Montgomery County athlete this decade (male or female) to finish in the top ten at all three championship meets for four straight years. He won the Footlocker Northeast Region Freshman race with a time of 16:53.1. As a sophomore, he clocked a season best time of 16:05 in taking second place at the county championship. He placed second at the region championship before upsetting Neal Darmody to win his first 4A state title in 16:36. As a junior, he finished second in just about every race when Solomon Haile transferred into the county. He smashed the previous county championship course record with a time of 15:27 in a second place effort and ran 16:23 at the state championship in a second place effort. It was the second fastest time recorded at the state championship meet by a Montgomery County athlete this decade. He qualified for Nike Cross Country Nationals by placing fifth in the regional qualifying meet in 15:16 and placed 84th at nationals in 16:18.6. He competed sparingly as a senior in an effort to return to nationals and perform at a higher level. He won the unseeded heat at the Great American Cross County Festival in 15:40 before winning the county title by 30 seconds in 15:43. It was the largest margin of victory at the county championship this decade. He won the region and won his second state title by nineteen seconds in 16:48. He placed third in the Nike Southeast Region Meet with a time of 15:21 before finishing 30th at Nationals in 15:46. He will compete for Syracuse University.|
|Steven Duplinsky - Georgetown Prep, Class of 2006 - Steven Duplinsky's was already a Washington Post All-Met as a sophomore for winning the IAC title in 16:29, the Mercersburg Invitational in 16:47 and the St. John's Invitational in 16:25. As a junior in 2004, he opened up his season by breaking the course record at the Spiked Shoe Invitational by 56 seconds in a course record time of 16:10. He was second at the William & Mary Invitational in 14:17 and fourth at the Georgetown Prep Classic in 16:10.85. He won the IAC title by 35 seconds in 16:29 and the Baltimore Washington Independent Schools title by 32 seconds in 15:56.8. He placed 39th at the Footlocker Northeast Region meet in 16:21.1. He kicked off his senior year with a win at the world junior triathlon championships in Japan. He finished his triathlon in 55:08 with a 5k run in 15:10. A week later, he won the Bull Run Invitational at Hereford by 41 seconds in 16:03, nearly a course record and the second fastest time run at Hereford by a Montgomery County athlete this decade. He won the William and Mary 'A' race by 62 seconds in 14:30 and won the Eastern States Championship 2.5 mile race in 12:38. He won the IAC title for the third consecutive year with a time of 15:08, 60 seconds ahead of second place, and then won the Baltimore Washington Private Schools Championship by 43 seconds in 15:40. Nationally, he was recognized as a sure bet to qualify for Footlocker Nationals, but he was reportedly sick and did not compete at the regional meet. He was named the Washington Post All-Met Athlete of the Year for cross country in 2005 after being a 1st-Team All-Met the previous two years. He competed for Stanford University for one year. |
|Andrew Jesien - Walter Johnson, Class of 2005 - In his first year of cross country, Andrew Jesien placed sixth in the county, third in the 3A West region, and 34th at the 3A state championship. After a great sophomore track season, he had a great cross country season which included a victory in the 'B' race at the William and Mary Invitational in 15:03, a second place finish in 16:16 at the Georgetown Prep Classic, and a record smashing victory at the county championship. His time of 15:48 broke Marcus Hershberger's course record by 26 seconds. He also won the 4A West region title. At the state championship, he may have been looking for Zach Martinez who beat him at Georgetown Prep and was right on his heels at the county championship, but he was ultimately upset by Ricky Flynn at the state championship. He placed second in 16:35. The following year did not go well for him as he missed most of track season with a stress fracture and the beginning of cross country season with mononucleosis. He finished second at the Lake Fairfax Invitational and second at the Maymont Invitational in 14:59 in a 3 mile format. He probably didn't think much of it the first time he beat sophomore Matthew Centrowitz at the Meade Classic 3 mile in 15:37, but he would meet Centrowitz again. He won the Georgetown Prep Classic in 15:54. He won the county title in 15:50 to become the only Montgomery County male athlete to win two county titles this decade. He won the 4A west region in 16:40, but experienced another shocking upset at the state championship when Centrowitz outran him 16:38 to 16:49. Despite finishing the season and his high school career without a cross country state title, he was named Washington Post All-Met athlete of the year for cross country in 2004. He was one of just three Montgomery County boys to earn the honor this decade. He competed for the University of Virginia.|
|Marcus Hershberger - Gaithersburg, Class of 2001 - Marcus Hershberger was a soccer player who was at first reluctant to run cross country. When he joined the team in his sophomore year in 1998, he boosted Gaithersburg to the 4A West Region title over the county champs and heavily favored Whitman team with a tenth place finish in 15:48 on the 3 mile course. He also placed sixteenth in the county in 16:04 and seventeenth at states in 17:33. In his junior year, he placed fifth in the county in 16:29 and third in the 4A West region in 16:22. He shocked everyone, especially Coach Tolbert, when he ran away with the state title in 16:28.94. As a senior in 2000, Hershberger and his team were stronger than ever. He placed second at the Peter Geraghty Invitational in 16:35, first at the Montgomery College Knights Invitational in 16:57, 8th in the seeded race at Bull Run in 16:39, eleventh at Georgetown Prep in 16:36, and twelfth at William and Mary in 15:46. In the first time that the county championship was held at Gaithersburg, Hershberger led his team to victory with a win in 16:14. With much more pressure as a senior, he repeated as the 4A state champion in 16:26.02, leading his team to the state title along the way. His times as a junior and senior at the state championship were better than all but Solomon Haile and Andrew Palmer in 2008 among Montgomery County athletes this decade at the state championship. He was one of just two male two-time state champions from Montgomery County this decade. He competed for Oklahoma State University. |
|Neal Darmody - Quince Orchard, Class of 2008 - Neal Darmody frequently dropped fast times at road races while in high school, but did not join the school's cross country team until his coach recruited him during his junior year. He quickly became the fastest runner on what was already a championship caliber team. He placed thirteenth at the Glory Days Invitational in 16:02, fifth at the county championship in 16:09, and second at the 4A West region meet in 16:42. He led his team to an undefeated season and its first state title in 12 years with a tenth place finish in 17:16 at the state championship. After winning the 3200 state title as a junior, he returned to cross country in top form as a senior in 2007. He won all of his dual meets and won the Peter Geraghty Invitational by 31 seconds in 16:16. He placed fifth at the Paul Short Invitational in 15:43, and placed second at the Octoberfest Invitational 15:34. He won the Glory Days Invitational in a time of 15:08 with a thrilling finish. He won the county title by 24 seconds in a record breaking time of 15:41.09 and won the 4A west region title in 16:29. He was sick at the state championship but he went out hard for the win anyways. He fell to third place in 16:59. He currently competes for High Point University.|
|Ricky Flynn - Damascus, Class of 2005 - As a freshman in 2001, Ricky Flynn was fifteenth in the county, fifth in the 4A West region and sixteenth at the state championship. The following year as a sophomore, he placed ninth in the county, third in the region and sixth in the state. As a junior in 2003, he won the Spiked Shoe Invitational, the 'C' race at the William and Mary Invitational in 15:10, and the unseeded race at the Georgetown Prep Invitational in 16:24. He placed third behined Andrew Jesien and Zach Martinez at the county championship in 15:58.92. He then pulled off a major upset at the state championship, leading from start to finish and outkicking Andrew Jesien by a split second for the win in 16:35. As a senior, he was sixth in the county, third in the 4A West region, and fourth at the state championship. With Lynchburg College, he recently completed the most successful collegiate cross country career by a Montgomery County athlete this decade. Six years after getting the upset win at the Maryland 4A State Championship, he pulled off an upset win at the NCAA Division III national cross country championship.|
|Awit Yohannes - Magruder, Class of 2003 - Awit Yohannes first started running during track season in his sophomore year. In his first season of cross county as a junior in 2001, he improved throughout the season to the point that he ran with the leaders at the county championship meet until the final stretch. He finished at the back of a tight pack in 8th in 16:38. The following week, he won the 4A West Region title by ten seconds with a time of 16:22. He finished seventh at the state championship in 17:06. He was nearly unbeatable among Montgomery County athletes as a senior in 2002, but unfortunately the 2002 season was defined by the sniper attacks when practice and competition was canceled for three weeks. Given just two days' notice that the county championship would go on, he ran away from Eric Pauley on the soggy Poolesville course in 16:25.1. He won the 4A west region by 27 seconds over Pauley in 16:26 and placed fourth at the state championship in 17:24.55. The rivalry between Yohannes and Pauley in cross country and on the track was among the best of the decade. Yohannes had a successful collegiate career at American University.|
|Ryan Janes - Gaithersburg, Class of 2006 - Ryan Janes won the first two invitationals he ever ran as a sophomore with a time of 15:57.9 in a 3 Mile at Frank Keyser and 17:19 in a 5k at the Knights Invitational at Montgomery College. He finished 8th at the county championship helping his team to win the county title and 12th at the state championship. As a junior in 2004, he again won the Frank Keyser Invitational with a time of 15:28. He placed second at Glory Days and the Bull Run elite race. He finished third at the county championship in 15:55.22, the fastest time by a third place finisher this decade, and Gaithersburg the was repeat team champion. He was second at the 4A West Championship and fifth at the state championship. Montgomery County graduated a strong class in 2005 and Janes was left to dominate. With the exception of a loss to Georgetown Prep's Steven Duplinsky at William & Mary, Janes went undefeated against Montgomery County runners in 2005, winning all of his dual meets, the Frank Keyser Invitational for the third consecutive year, and the large race at Bull Run. He won the county title in 16:15 and the 4A West title in 16:34. He was third at the state championship in 16:50. He briefly competed for St. Andrews College and currently competes for York College.|
|Eric Pauley - Gaithersburg, Class of 2003 - As a sophomore in 2000, Eric Pauley helped his team to county and state titles with a 13th place finish at the county championship and a 28th place finish at the state championship. As a junior, he got the surprise win at the county championship as he pulled away from a tight pack to win in 16:21.9. He went on to place third in the 4A West Region and 6th at the state championship. As a senior, he clocked a 15:32 3 mile at the Frank Keyser Invitational and won the large race at the Bull Run Invitational in 16:35, but Magruder's Awit Yohannes seemed to have his number that season. Pauley finished second to Yohannes at the county championship with a time of 16:36 and the region championship with a time of 16:53. At the state championship, he finally got the best of Yohannes, taking second place behind CM Wright's Pat Bailey with a time of 16:32. It was the fourth fastest time recorded at the state championship this decade by a Montgomery County athlete. He briefly competed for the University of Pennsylvania.|
Second Team All-Decade
|Coach of the Decade - Tom Martin - Walter Johnson
- The Walter Johnson cross country program is one of the most winning programs of the last two decades, but until recently, the program was missing one thing: a boys state title. The boys team has an active streak dating back to 1996 of finishing in the top 7 at the Montgomery County Championship Meet, but never during that time did they win a county title or state title. 2008 was not expected to be the year that they took home the prize after graduating several talented runners, but a dedicated group of underdogs worked together to sweep county, region, and state titles. Martin was named the Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year in 2008. In 2009, the WJ boys were heavily favored to dominate the local competition and they delivered with back-to-back county, region, and state titles. Meanwhile the 2009 WJ girls' team, under Martin's guidance, played the underdog and won its first county title since Greg Dunston left the program.|
|Chris Moen - Walter Johnson, Class of 2008 - The 2005 county championship was among the slowest of the decade due to cold and rainy conditions, but as a sophomore, Chris Moen dropped over thirty seconds off his best 5k time to place third in 16:24. He went on to place fourth in the region and ninth at the 4A state championship. After a track season in which he won his first 1600-meter state title, he returned to cross country as a junior in 2006 in stellar shape. He won the Howard County Invitational in a personal best 16:20.4 and the silver race at the Maymont Invitational in 16:24.5. He won the Montgomery County Championship in a new personal best 15:55.3 and the 4A West Region Championship in 16:23.8 before placing fourth in the state in 16:52.2. He struggled to return to top form as a senior in 2007, but broke out of his funk in time to place in the top ten in the state for the third consecutive year with a sixth place finish in 17:11. He currently competes for Appalachian State University.|
|Zach Martinez - Gaithersburg, Class of 2005 - Zach Martinez was climbing to the top of the county in his sophomore year in 2002 when he finished 7th at counties, 5th at regions, and 11th at states. He had several strong performances in his junior year, but his true arrival was in winning the Georgetown Prep Invitational seeded race in 16:09.98 over a strong field which included Andrew Jesien. Jesien got right back at him in winning the county title in a record breaking time of 15:48.44 while Martinez took second in 15:50.53. Martinez finished third at the state championship in 16:56. His senior year was much the same as his junior year, running well at several invitationals including a victory in the elite race at the Bull Run Invitational. For the second consecutive year, he placed second behind Jesien at the county championship, this time in 15:54.87. He faded down the stretch, placing 5th at regions and 11th at states. He competed briefly at the University of Maryland.|
|Chris Barnard - Sherwood, Class of 2007 - When it appeared that Sherwood was unloading after their team state title in 2003, Chris Barnard burst onto the scene as a sophomore in 2004. He placed seventh in the county in 16:32.24, 6th in the region in 17:45, and 12th in the state in 17:45. When he was a junior in 2005, Ryan Janes was running all over Montgomery County, and only Barnard stepped up to challenge him at the county championship. In cold and rainy conditions, Janes slipped on the final stretch and Barnard opened a lead. Janes chased him down to win 16:15 to 16:16. He finished fifth in the 4A North Region and fifth in the 4A state championship in 16:58. In his senior year in 2006, he placed third at Great Meadows in 16:18, second at Oatlands in 16:19, and fifth at Glory Days in 15:57, but Montgomery County belonged to Chris Moen. Barnard finished second for the second year in a row, six seconds out of first in 16:01. He was third in the 4A North in 16:03.6 and finished off his senior season with a fifth place finish at the state championship in 16:54.1. He competes for Salisbury University.|
|Chris Bowie - B-CC, Class of 2007 - Chris Bowie was strong as a sophomore, taking 12th in the county, third in the region, and 23rd in the state in 2004. It was in his junior year in 2005 when his teammate Elias Tousley caught up to him that he really began to take off. He took fourth in the county in 16:25, second in the 3A west region in 16:54.8 and second in the state in 16:44.75. He only lost at regionals and states to Kyle Ryan of Linganore, but with Ryan out of the way as a senior in 2006, Bowie was on a season-long quest for a state title. He clocked a fast time of 16:42 at the Bull Run Invitational before placing 6th in the county in 16:11.7. It appeared that Tousley, who placed third at the county meet in 16:03, would be his bigggest obstacle for the state title, but Tousley faded down the stretch. Bowie won the region in 15:47.4 and won the 3A state title by 15 seconds in 16:46.95. He currently competes for UMBC.|
|Matt Logie - Northwest, Class of 2005 - If Mocorunning was around in 2001, Matt Logie would have been the freshman of the year. He placed 14th at the county championship in 17:12, one second ahead of a freshman Ricky Flynn, to help Northwest win its first county title. He was 11th in the 3A West Region and 20th at the state championship, helping Northwest sweep regionals and state titles as well. As a sophomore, he placed 8th at the county championship and seventh at the 3A state championship, again helping the team sweep county, region, and state titles. By his junior year in 2003, Northwest's era of dominance was over, but Logie kept pushing his limits as he finished sixth at the county championship in 16:21 and fifth at the state championship in 17:01. At the 2004 county championship, Logie became the fastest fourth place finisher in the history of the meet when he came out of the back end of a pack of Andrew Jesien, Zach Martinez, and Ryan Janes with a time of 15:56.50. He won the 3A West Region title by 22 seconds in 17:03, but was again outmatched at the state championship as he placed second, 20 seconds behind the leader in 17:01, but 22 seconds ahead of the third place finisher. He competed for Mount St. Mary's University.|
|Antonio Palmer - Gaithersburg, Class of 2009 - It took some convincing to get Antonio Palmer to quit the football team for cross country, but when he did, his opponents found that he was just as dangerous at cross country as he was at track. In his fifth cross country race ever as a junior in 2007, he ran 16:08 at the Glory Days Invitational. He was seventh at the county championship in 16:23.04, eighth at the region championship in 17:20.4, and fourth at the state championship in 17:00. As a senior, he placed third at the county championshipin 15:55.76, seventh at regionals in 17:04.42, and third at the state championship in 16:54. He was one of just five county runners this decade to place in the top four at the 4A state championship twice. He currently competes for East Carolina University.|
|Zach Vaslow - B-CC, Class of 2003 - As a junior in 2001, Zach Vaslow took seventh in the county in 16:37 and second at the 2A state championship in 17:12.51. He was the top non-senior in the 2A classification by 54 seconds, so you can imagine how he felt when three weeks of his senior season were canceled due to the sniper attacks of 2002. Athletes were cleared to compete just in time for the county championship where Vaslow ran for third place in 16:51.76. At the state championship meet, he ran away from the field and won the state title by 24 seconds in 16:58.57. He competed for Haverford College.|
|David Laratta - Quince Orchard, Class of 2008 - In 2006, David Laratta finished tenth at the county championship in 16:32, third at the region championship in 16:45.5, and eleventh at the state championship in 17:17.6 to help his team sweep all three meets. As a senior in 2007, he had a couple of big races before championship season including a 15:58.21 eighth place finish at the Octoberfest Invitational and a 15:43 tenth place finish at the Glory Days Invitational. He finished fifth at the county championship in 16:18.84, third at the region championship in 16:55.2, and second at the 4A state championship in 16:43. He finished eighth at the first ever NTN Southeast Regional meet in 16:29.2. He currently competes for La Salle University. |
|Matt Hanlon - Good Counsel, Class of 2001 - In his first year of running as a sophomore, Matt Hanlon placed 4th at the WCAC Championship in 17:28. In his junior and senior years, he ran a full slate of high caliber invitationals and never finished worse than 8th. Some of the highlights include 1st place at the 1999 Mercersburg Invitational in 16:32, 3rd place at the 1999 Georgetown Prep Classic in 16:10, 3rd place at the 2000 Penn State Invitational in 16:03, 2nd at the 2000 Greensboro Invitational in 16:12, and 5th place at the 2000 Bull Run Invitational in 16:21. He was a two-time WCAC champion and led his team to an undefeated season in 2000. He competed for East Carolina University. |
|Elias Tousley - B-CC, Class of 2007 - Elias Tousley showed great improvement from his sophomore to his junior year. He finished almost every race of the 2005 season right beside his teammate Chris Bowie, which often meant a top 5 finish at major invitationals. He was fifth at the county championship in 16:32, third at the 3A West Region Championship in 17:21.49, and fifth at the state championship in 17:12.48. After winning a 3200-meter state title on the track, Tousley returned to cross country on fire. He clocked a swift time of 16:41 at the Bull Run Invitational which was good for fifth place in the elite race. He finished third at the county championship in 16:03.5, and third at the 3A west region championship in 16:02.6. He was ailing at the state championship and unfortunately could not finish out the season strong. He finished 57th in 19:03.8. He currently competes for Haverford College.|
Third Team All-Decade
|Coach of the Decade - Dan Reeks - Churchill/Sherwood
- Dan Reeks coached the Churchill cross country team from 1999 through the 2001 season. There, he coached multiple-time track state champion and all-decade cross country and track runner Steve Hayes. He coached Sherwood cross country and track from the fall of 2002 to present. In the fall of 2003, Sherwood won the 4A cross country state title, its first since 1979. Reeks was named the Washington Post All-Met coach of the year in 2003. In 2005, Sherwood won the boys Montgomery County title and placed second in the state. In the 2008 season, he coached Solomon Haile to an undefeated season which included the Footlocker National Title in addition to the county, region, and state title.|
|Maksudul Ali - Gaithersburg, Class of 2002 - Maksudul Ali was the state's best #3 runner as a junior in 2000. He helped the team to the county title with an 11th place finish and the school's first state title with a 9th place finish. He had a solid senior season and led the team in most races, but he fell to the back of a tight pack to finish a disappointing 9th at the county championship in 16:41. He came back to take 4th place in the 4A west region and had a huge race at the state championship to place third in 16:53.24. Not only did he top all Montgomery County runners at the state meet, he was the only runner to break up CM Wright's deadly top four runners in a year that they won the state title with 20 points. Ali went on to compete for the US Naval Academy. || |
|Chris Miller - Northwest, Class of 2011 - Chris Miller was mocorunning's freshman of the year in 2007 in part because of his 16:36 victory at the freshman race at the Glory Days Invitational and his 11th place finish at the state championship meet. As a sophomore he ran 16:20.74 to finish 11th at the county championship and 17:01 to finish sixth at the state championship. He was somewhat of a surprise runner-up finisher at the 2009 county championship when he ran away from all but the heavily-favored Andrew Palmer to finish second in a personal best time of 16:13. He finished sixth at the state meet, making him a three-time top 15 state medalist with still one more year ahead of him.|| |
|Steve Hayes - Churchill, Class of 2001 - Steve Hayes almost did not meet the requirements to make this all-decade team because he nearly missed his entire senior season in 2000 with an injury. He got healthy in time to finish 19th at the state championship meet, but his best work was done in the 90's. He was a top ten finisher in the county, region, and state in both his sophomore and junior year. As a junior, he was 6th in the county in 16:31, 6th in the region 15:40, and 4th in the state in 16:36.66, just six seconds out of first place. Despite missing most of his senior cross country season, he redeemed himself with a few state titles on the track and a successful collegiate career at the University of Pennsylvania.|
Fanuel Chageza - Walter Johnson, Class of 2002 -
Fanuel Chageza was a rising star as a junior in the 2000 season as he finished in the top five in several invitationals as well as 3rd at counties and regionals and 7th at the 3A state meet. He was nearly unbeatable as a senior in 2001. He won the Peter Geraghty Invitational in 16:37, the Knights Invitational at Montgomery College in 17:15.20, and the William & Mary 'C' race in 15:49. He was favored to win the county title, but in cold conditions, he fell to fourth place in 16:33.2 in a tight battle. He won the 3A West Region title by 25 seconds in 16:05, but fell to eighth place at the state championship in 16:56.71.
|Alex Willett - Walter Johnson, Class of 2011 - As a sophomore, Alex Willett came up with a big race at the county championship to place 7th in 16:04.38. It proved to be no fluke as he placed 5th at the 4A West Region Meet in 16:56.36 and 7th at the 4A state meet in 17:07 to help his team win its first ever state title. He came out flying at the start of his junior year when he won the Howard County Invitational and AJ Everhart Invitational. He placed 6th at the county championship and 3rd at the 4A state championship, helping his team to back-to-back county and state titles. |
|Nicolas Escobar - Magruder, Class of 2010 - As a freshman, Nicolas Escobar qualified individually to compete at the state championship where he finished 70th. In subsequent years, he ran many of his fastest times at the Glory Days Invitational where he won the "B" race as a sophomore in 16:25, ran 16:08 as a junior, and 16:18 as a senior. He was a top 10 finisher at the Montgomery County Championship Meet three years in a row, including fourth place in a personal best 5k time of 16:00.41 as a junior and third place as a senior in 16:17. He also placed in the top 5 in the 4A West Region Meet and top 15 in the 4A State Meet for three years in a row. He placed 27th at the 2009 Footlocker Northeast Region Championship, which is the third best finish by a boy who attended a Montgomery County school this decade.|
Damien Brown - Kennedy, Class of 2003 - Damien Brown came on strong at the end of his sophomore year by placing 14th at the 3A state championship. During his junior year, he finished 6th at the county championship in 16:34, 4th at the 3A West Regional meet in 16:33, and 6th at the 3A state championship in 16:44. Perhaps because of the sniper attacks of 2002, Kennedy did not show up for the relocated county championship meet. Brown could only manage 18th place at the 3A West Regional meet in 17:37.89, but he came through at states with a 3rd place finish in 16:50.87, making him a three-time top fifteen state medalist.
Jack Adrian - Landon, Class of 2001 - In his senior year, Jack Adrian won the Salesianum Invitational in 17:25 and won the IAC Championship in 16:06. He was 5th at the Georgetown Prep Classic in 16:14.75. He placed 20th at the Footlocker Northeast Regional Meet in 16:03.2, which held up as the second fastest time and second highest place of the decade by any male athlete who attended a Montgomery County school. He competed for Princeton University.
Kevin Graves - Good Counsel, Class of 2002 - Kevin Graves finished 9th at the WCAC Championship meet as a freshman. Following that season, he helped his team to three consecutive WCAC titles by placing in the top three each year. In the 2000 season, he helped Good Counsel to an undefeated season. As a senior in 2001, he placed in the top ten at the Georgetown Prep Classic and William & Mary Invitational and won the WCAC title in a course record time of 16:26. That record stood until 2009. He competed for Lynchburg College and currently coaches at Good Counsel.
Drew Abernethy - Georgetown Prep, Class of 2006 - Drew Abernethy divided his high school career by spending the first two years at Good Counsel and the second two years at Georgetown Prep. He helped his team win two WCAC titles by taking 5th in the conference as a freshman and winning the individual title as a sophomore. With Georgetown Prep, he helped the team win two consecutive IAC titles. Individually he took second as a junior and third as a senior. In his senior year, he was 5th at the William and Mary Invitational in 15:42, 5th at the Bull Run Invitational in 17:10, and 4th at the DC-MD Private Schools Championship in 16:37. He currently competes for the University of Maryland.
Honorable Mention All-Decade
Aaron Anderson - Gaithersburg 2001
Artem Panasenkov - Quince Orchard 2008
Chris Earle - Poolesville 2002
Flo Groberg - Walter Johnson 2001
Greg Bove - Quince Orchard 2007
Ishan Dey - Walter Johnson 2010
Jackson Reams - Sherwood 2011
Joel Sunshine - Jewish Day 2003
Joey Norcio - Good Counsel 2003
Kelly Grisier - Northwest 2003
Kurt Oelschlaeger - Sherwood 2004
Kyle Balderson - Sherwood 2009
Kyle Gaffney - Blake 2007
Kyle Graves - Good Counsel 2010
Mat Abernethy - Georgetown Prep 2007
Matt Hard - Churchill 2002
Mike Gaske - Wootton 2001
Ramsey Chapin - Georgetown Prep 2009
Sean O'Leary - Walter Johnson 2010
Tarik Aougab - Churchill 2006
Thomas Arias - Damascus 2010
Tommy Mullings - Sherwood 2007
Wil Zahorodny - Damascus 2008
William Palmer - Whitman 2007
A time is just a time without context. A reader who is familiar with cross country in Maryland and lived through it all would immediately understand what a certain time would mean for a certain course, but an outsider could easily be confused about how a 14:30 at William & Mary could be comparable to a 16:03 at Hereford. Courses such as those used for the William & Mary Invitational, The Meade Classic, and the Glory Days Invitational are very flat, fast courses and have at times been officially noted as being short of a full 5k. Thus, those courses produced some of the fastest times of the decade.
Outsiders may also wonder why Maryland athletes get "slower" as the season progresses.
The county championship was first held at Gaithersburg High School in 2000 and was hosted there every year from 2000 to 2009 except for 2002. It is a fair, relatively fast course that can produce very fast times under the right conditions.
The 3A and 4A West Regional meets were held at the Rockville Civic Center in the early part of the decade. The Rockville Civic Center course is hillier and more challenging than Gaithersburg so times were usually a bit slower. In 2005, the 3A and 4A West Region Meets were moved to Watkins Mill which has a very challenging and hilly course. In 2006, the 3A West meet was moved to a fast course hosted by Linganore, but it was moved back to Watkins Mill the following year.
The state championship meet was held on the famously difficult 3 mile course at Hereford High School throughout the decade, so it was normal for the athlete's to clock slower finish times as the championship season progressed.
Other meets that you will see mentioned repeatedly are the Knights Invitational at Montgomery College, the Magruder Invitational, and the Georgetown Prep Classic. The Knights Invitational used to be what the Magruder Invitational currently is - an early season meet where 10-15 Montgomery County teams and a few others face off for the first time. Winning those meets are important within the realm of Montgomery County, but not nearly as important as winning the Georgetown Prep Classic. The Georgetown Prep Classic was previously the premier invitational in the Washington DC area. It brought together the best teams from Virginia, Maryland, and DC just prior to championship season. Winning was a big deal and often a ticket to being named to the Washington Post All-Met team. The Georgetown Prep Classic was cancelled in 2005 and 2006 while the school's campus underwent construction. When the meet returned, it was scheduled on the same day as the Montgomery County Championship Meet, so the meet had lower participation for two years. Participation increased in 2009 when the county championship meet was held on a different day, but rain and mud slowed down times significantly.
Another event that you will read about repeatedly in this article is the DC sniper attacks of 2002. Never before had there been such a disruption to high school athletics. Many school systems, including MCPS, canceled all outdoor activities. Sports teams were forced to cancel practice or practice indoors. This caused headaches for soccer teams and football teams who fought over scheduled gym time, but it caused different problems for cross country teams. The only option was to run in the hallways of the school or cancel practice. Many teams did a combination of both by running in the hallways on some days and canceling practice on other days (*wink*wink*). This went on for three weeks until the sniper suspects were apprehended just two days before the county championship meet. Just incase the police arrested the wrong people and the real killers were still at large, the county championship was moved to John Poole Middle School where athletes and spectators would be less likely to fall victim to a drive by shooting. The rest of the season went on normally, although Montgomery County athletes were at a slight disadvantage because runners in other areas of the state were allowed to continue practicing and competing while Montgomery County was confined indoors.