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Girls Half-Decade XC Team
By: Kevin Milsted
webmaster@mocorunning.com
2014-12-11


Introduction
The end of the 2014 cross country season marks five years since MoCorunning.com published the All-Decade Teams (Boys, Girls) which celebrated the best XC athletes who competed for Montgomery County teams between 2000 and 2009. The next all-decade team will be a more manageable project if there is a halfway checkpoint. Hence, this project is called the "Half-Decade Team" to celebrate the best athletes who competed in Montgomery County between 2010 and 2014. Note: unlike the track & field half-decade team which recognized athletes graduating in 2010 or later, the cross-country half decade team recognizes athletes who competed in the Fall of 2010 and graduated in 2011 or later.

Selection Process
MoCorunning's Kevin Milsted researched and nominated 15 boys and 15 girls for consideration for this Half-Decade Team. Coaches with more than 5 years of experience in Montgomery County were asked to review MoCorunning's nominees and vote for the most deserving 10 boys and 10 girls, ranked in order, based on whatever criteria was most important to him or her. The 10 athletes with the highest score based on the coaches' votes are now shown here as members of the MoCorunning Half-Decade Team. Coaches were asked to "write in" 2 additional boys and 2 additional girls which were not already nominated by MoCorunning. The athletes with the most write-in votes were added to the honorable mention list along with the other nominees.

The following coaches contributed to this Half-Decade Team. Without their thoughtful consideration of each athlete, this project would not have been possible.

Tom Arnold, Good Counsel
Angelique Bosse, Montgomery Blair
Robert Burke, Clarksburg
Steve Hays, Whitman
Paul Jacobson, Churchill
Karl Kraus, Rockville
Seann Pelkey, Quince Orchard
Dave Warren, Churchill
Tom Rogers, Richard Montgomery
Dan Reeks, Sherwood
Tom Martin, Walter Johnson
Scott Mathias, Clarksburg
Kellie Redmond, Wootton
Mike Sauter, Northwood
Scott Silverstein, Churchill
Herb Tolbert, Gaithersburg
Michael Trumbull, Wheaton
Robert Youngblood, Northwest
Eric DaSilva, Einstein
Chad Young, B-CC




Half-Decade Team Athletes

Athlete of the Half-Decade
Nora McUmber, B-CC 2015

High School Personal Bests: 17:34.3 5k (NXN Southeast)

Medal Count: 3 County, 2 Region, 1 State, 1 NXN Region

Notes: Was voted unanimously by 20 coaches as Montgomery County's top XC athlete from 2010 to 2014. Won three consecutive county titles, a state title, and the NXN Southeast Region title. Ran personal best 17:34.3 in winning the NXN Southeast Region, the fastest 5k time by a Montgomery County athlete in 19 years. Finished 48th at Nike Cross Nationals. Holds county championship course record (Bohrer Park format) at 18:09. Held Mocorunning's #1 ranking for a record 16 weeks (non-consecutive) over three seasons.

Anna Ryba, Whitman 2012

High School Personal Bests: 18:27.16 5k (County Championship)

Medal Count: 1 County, 1 Region, 1 State

Notes: Swept County, 4A West Region, and 4A State titles in 2010. Ran personal best 18:27.16 at county championship to win county title by 27 seconds. Completed state course at Hereford in 19:16, fastest time by Montgomery County athlete since Karen Pulliam in 2000 (prior to Hereford course modification in 2014). Was runner-up at Peter Geraghty Invitational, Georgetown Prep Classic, and Battle of the Potomac. Ended 2010 season as Mocorunning's #1 ranked runner. Competes for Williams College.

Caroline Guiot, Whitman 2012

High School Personal Bests: 18:52.8 5k (Counties)

Medal Count: 1 Regional, 1 State

Notes: Set personal best 18:52.8 in runner-up effort at county championship and went on to win 4A west regional and 4A state titles in 2011. Also finished 12th at Oatlands and 15th at Paul Short. Finished the 2011 season ranked #1 on Mocorunning's XC Rankings. Competes for Middlebury College.

Lucy Srour, Churchill 2015

High School Personal Bests: 18:07.0 5k (NXN Southeast)

Medal Count: 1 County

Notes: In 2011, won Bull Run Invitational Large race, Great American White race, and Montgomery County title. Was also regional and state runner-up as freshman. Held Mocorunning's #1 ranking for seven weeks in 2012. As senior, finished as county and regional runner-up and finished 3rd at states. Closed out senior campaign with personal best 18:07.0 5k at NXN Southeast.

Caroline Beakes, B-CC 2015

High School Personal Bests: 17:50.40 5k (NXN Southeast)

Medal Count: 1 State

Notes: In 2012, placed second at counties and regionals before winning 4A state title at Hereford in 19:17.4. Placed 9th at the NXN Southeast Regional in 17:50.4, the second fastest 5k time by a county athlete in the last 19 years. Finished the 2012 season ranked #1 on Mocorunning's XC ranking. Missed junior year due to injury and returned as senior to place 9th at county championship.

Anna Bosse, Walter Johnson 2011

High School Personal Bests (Since 2010): 18:49.20 5k (NXN Southeast)

Notes: Held Mocorunning's #1 ranking for 5 weeks in 2010 and finished the season ranked #2. As senior, won the Bull Run Invitational elite race by 30 seconds and finished as runner-up at the 4A West Region and 4A State Championship. Prior to 2010, won the 4A state title in 2008. Competes for Loyola University.

Lucie Noall, Clarksburg 2015

High School Personal Bests: 18:29.76 5k (4A West at High Point), 18:19.1 3M (Keyser)

Notes: Three times finished in the top ten at the county, regional, and state championship. Was county and 4A West regional runner-up in 2013. In 2014, won the Keyser Invitational, Bull Run Invitational (Large), and Coyote Run. Peaked at #2 on Mocorunning's XC rankings.

Abbey Daley, Clarksburg 2013

High School Personal Bests: 18:57 5k (NXN Southeast), 18:08.1 3M (Frank Keyser)

Medal Count: 1 Region

Notes: Twice finished as 3A state runner-up. Four times finished in the top 7 at the county championship. Twice won the Bull Run Invitational and Frank Keyser Invitational Large races. Peaked at #2 on Mocorunning's XC Rankings and four times finished ranked in the top ten. Competes for Millersville University.

Abigail Green, Walter Johnson 2018

High School Personal Bests: 18:10.8 5k (NXN Southeast)

Medal Count: 1 Region

Notes: Finished fourth and clocked 14:32.6 in the 2.5 Mile Eastern States race at the Manhattan Invitational, fastest by Montgomery County athlete in 20 years. Won the loaded 4A West regional at High Point Farm in 18:17.53. Finished 19th at NXN Southeast in personal best 18:10.8. Finished 5th at counties and 4th at states. Peaked at #1 and finished freshman campaign ranked #2 on Mocorunning's XC rankings.

Kiernan Keller, Walter Johnson 2015

High School Personal Bests: 18:29.56 5k (WJ Tri), 18:12.4 3M (Keyser)

Notes: Peaked at #1 on Mocorunning's XC rankings during a stretch where she won the Bull Run Invitational Elite Schools race, finished 7th at Oatlands, and defeated B-CC's Nora McUmber in a dual meet. Finished 4th at the County Championship and 5th at the 4A West Regional. Helped lead Walter Johnson to two consecutive team state titles.


Half-Decade Team Honorable Mention

Alexandra Phillips, Whitman 2012
Camille Bouvet, Walter Johnson 2011
Sophie El-Masry, Richard Montgomery 2016
Claire Beautz, Poolesville 2015
Ava Farrell, B-CC 2012
Morgana D'Ottavi, Blair 2014
Claudia Wendt, Good Counsel 2018
Emily Murphy, Walter Johnson 2016
Britt Eckerstrom, Northwest 2011
Mia-Irene Gyau, Bullis 2016
Amanda Hayes-Puttfarcken, Sherwood 2016
Sydney Almeida, Springbrook 2013




Background Information

Forward

The above article is designed to celebrate the best athletes from 2010 to 2014, but it also serves as a time capsule to be stored away and revisited many years from now. The references and language used in this article should be readily understood by Montgomery County cross country fans of today, but as the traditions, leadership, and organizational structure of our sport changes over time, so does our perspective and understanding of present day competitions compared to those of the past. I have spent hours looking at old cross country and track results from before I was born, and I think the following paragraphs will be helpful and fascinating to someone looking at our results many years into the future.

Season Structure

Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) teams compete in invitationals and dual meets throughout the regular season which have no direct impact on championship meets later in the season. A typical season will usually consist of 2 to 5 dual meets, 2 to 6 invitational meets, the county championship, the regional championship, and the state championship. Many athletes also choose to participate in post-season cross country competitions either for the enjoyment of one final cross country race or for the thrill of attempting to qualify for a high school national championship meet.

Dual Meets

MCPS is divided into four divisions with each division consisting of 6 or 7 teams. Teams are assigned to a division based on combined performance of male and female teams in divisional meets and at the county championship meet. Divisional alignment changes every two years. Dual meets consist of two or more teams, usually divisional opponents, racing head-to-head on a school campus or nearby park on a school day. Dual meet style scoring is used regardless of the number of teams involved; multiple scores are reported when three or more teams compete. If an opponent from outside the division is included in the meet, the dual meet scores for that team have no impact on the divisional standings. Divisional champions are recognized at the county championship meet awards ceremony.

Rules for determining MCPS Divisional Champions:
• The team with the highest winning percentage in divisional meets will be the champion.
• In the event of a tie, the team that has defeated the other team(s) with which it is tied will be the champion.
• If there is still a tie, then the tie will be broken by the lowest combined points scored in division meets.
• If a tie still remains, the largest combined margin of victory among the teams that are tied will be used.

Invitationals

MCPS teams have flexibility to compete in numerous invitational meets throughout the season. Each school has its own preferences, objectives, and logistical limitations to consider when selecting invitational meets.

Due to the great effort and dedication required on the part of meet organizers, invitational meets change over time. This section will briefly describe some of the most well-attended meets for Montgomery County teams between 2010 and 2014.

The Magruder Invitational - This early September meet was hosted by Magruder High School and located at the Agricultural Farm Park in Derwood, Maryland. It only existed from 2008 to 2011, but it was a great early-season showcase for some of the area’s top talent.

Peter Geraghty Invitational - Montgomery County teams were sad to see this meet retired after the 2011 season. Hosted by Mount St. Mary's University in early September, the trip to Emmitsburg, MD was an early-season tradition for schools from Hagerstown to Gettysburg to Baltimore and DC.

Track and Trail Invitational - More and more Montgomery County teams are discovering this early September meet hosted by Cecil County Schools in the far northeast corner of Maryland.

The Woodward Relays - This early September relay meet followed Coach Greg Dunston to Georgetown Prep School in 2007 and remains a signature race in Montgomery County. Athletes complete a 3x1 mile circuit, only resting while his or her teammate is on the course. A 5k novice race is also contested.

The Georgetown Prep Classic - There have been 41 renditions of this Montgomery County signature meet hosted on Georgetown Prep's campus. Teams come from near and far to compete in this mid-October meet including a team from England which has attended on multiple occasions. In some years, the GP Classic has fallen on the same date as the MCPS Championship Meet which eliminates the participation of the local county public school teams.

Landon Invitational - Landon's home meet is a relatively low key convergence of many area private schools usually at the end of September.

The Coyote Run - This early October meet hosted by Clarksburg High School was started in 2012 at High Point Farm in Clarksburg. It is usually contested on a weekday afternoon to mimic the 4A West Regional meet hosted at the same venue later in October.

The DCXC Invitational - This meet hosted by Pacers Running Stores was tremendously successful in its first year in 2014. Pacers provided all the bells and whistles imaginable in an effort to treat high school runners like rock stars and bring XC back to the District of Columbia.

The Bull Run Invitational - This late September meet is used by many teams as a chance to experience and practice the notoriously difficult state championship course hosted on the Hereford High School campus. The meet was canceled in 2013 due to campus construction, but it resumed in 2014 with a modified course.

The Oatlands Invitational - This late September mega-meet hosted in Leesburg, Virginia is quintessential cross country and perhaps the greatest showcase of talent in the DC Metropolitan area. With some races approaching 1000 runners on the challenging race course at one time, a top 10 finish at Oatlands can be considered a tremendous accomplishment. Other large Northern Virginia meets include the Great Meadow Invitational, Octoberfest Invitational, and Glory Days Invitational, but none are quite as well-attended by Montgomery County schools as Oatlands.

The Frank Keyser Invitational - This meet is a Montgomery County favorite hosted less than an hour's drive away from most Montgomery County schools at Boonsboro High School. Whether the course is advertised as 5k or 3 miles in length, it is guaranteed to produce some of the fastest times of the year.

Great American and Adidas Invitationals - The Wakemed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina is an annual destination for cross country teams all over the southeast region of the US. The Great American and Adidas Invitationals offer tremendous competition on a flat and wide-open 5k course. Montgomery County schools might choose one meet or the other as an overnight trip, depending on how the dates fall on the calendar.

Manhattan Invitational - This invitational in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York is an annual destination for cross country teams all over the northeast region of the US. A 2.5 mile race on a difficult course with tremendous history and an accelerated race day schedule offers a unique experience for schools that choose this as an overnight trip.

Championship Season

In 2009, Northwood High School introduced the Down County Consortium (DCC) Championship Meet for schools in that system (Blair, Einstein, Kennedy, Wheaton, Northwood, and feeder middle and elementary schools) to compete in a championship of its own. In 2011, that meet expanded to include schools in the Northeast Consortium (Blake, Paint Branch, Springbrook) and the meet became known as the Consortia Championships.

All 25 public schools compete at the Montgomery County Championship Meet around the third Saturday of October. This meet was held on the Gaithersburg High School campus from 2000 to 2010 with the exception of 2002. In 2011, the GHS campus underwent construction and it was no longer possible to hold the meet on the same course, but the meet did not move far. A new county championship course was developed on the grounds of Bohrer Park adjacent to Gaithersburg High School. The course is very flat and fast, offering athletes an opportunity to set personal bests at the end of the season. The school construction is complete, but the county meet will remain on the Bohrer Park course until someone decides to make a change.

In the final week of October or the first week of November, MCPS teams compete in their designated regional meet. The regional meet is the only elimination meet of the season. A team must finish in the top 50% of entered complete teams to qualify for the state championship meet. Individuals must finish among the top 25% of competitors to qualify individually if his or her school does not qualify. Schools are divided into regions at the state level based on student population. From 2010 through 2014, Montgomery County Schools competed in the 2A West, 3A West, 4A West, and 4A North. Regional alignment changes approximately every 3 years.

The 2A West Regional Meet was hosted by Middletown High School from before 2010 through 2012. In 2013 and 2014, the 2A West regional meet moved to Eldersburg where it was hosted by Liberty High School.

The 3A West Regional Meet was hosted by Watkins Mill High School since before 2010 through 2014. Watkins Mill's home course is a very challenging course where a runner may record his or her slowest time of the season despite the high stakes of a regional meet.

The 4A West Regional Meet was held in conjunction with the 3A West Regional Meet at Watkins Mill for several years up through the 2010 season. Because the meet was held on a week night after Daylights Savings Time ended, and because the meet has occasionally fallen on Halloween, coaches desired a shorter regional meet that would be finished before dark. The 4A West Regional meet separated from the 3A West and moved to High Point Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland in 2011 where it has been contested each year since. Despite tough footing in places, the High Point Farm course gives athletes an opportunity to record fast times before the state championship.

Montgomery County schools have competed in the 4A North since 2011. The 4A North Regional meet was contested at Dulaney High School during this time.

The Maryland State Championship Meet has traditionally been held at Hereford High School since 1980 with a few exceptions. In 1991 and 1992, the meet was held at Western Maryland College. In 2013, the meet was held at the same venue, but the college had since been renamed to McDaniel College. The reason for the move in 2013 was construction on the Hereford High School campus. In 2014, the state championship meet returned to a modified course at Hereford.

The Hereford High School cross country course is notoriously difficult, to the point that a finish time of 16:00 was an unbreakable barrier for boys for many years (only one boy in 2008 broke 16:00 at the state championship between 1995 and 2012). The 3.0 mile Hereford course remained mostly unchanged from 1995 to 2012. The MPSSAA state record book recognizes 1995 to 2012 as the years of the "certified course" for which state records can be compared. Runners generally ran faster on the modified course in 2014 than on the traditional Hereford course.

Private Schools

Montgomery County private schools compete against the public schools at invitationals throughout the regular season, but the public and private schools do not compete in the same championship meets. Most private schools have a conference championship at the end of October or early November, but some private schools remain completely independent. Montgomery County private schools compete in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC, Co-ed), Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC, All-Boys), Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC, All-Boys), Independent School League (ISL, All-Girls), and Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (PVAC, Co-ed).

In 2012, the first Montgomery County Independent Schools Championship was contested. As the name suggests, the meet crowns the county champions of the private schools located within Montgomery County’s borders; however, participation is optional for each school and the meet has seen less than 100% participation of eligible schools in its first three years. The meet has been contested at Bullis, Sandy Spring Friends School, and Landon.

The DC-MD Private Schools State Championships has been through several variations in name and format, but in 2008, the meet landed in its current venue, the Agricultural Farm Park in Derwood, Maryland. The meet welcomes independent schools located within the borders of Maryland and the District of Columbia to compete for a large school or small school state title. A school is considered a large school if its student population is greater than 500 students for coed schools or 250 students for single sex. Home-schooled students may also be eligible to compete. Unlike the public schools state championship, the meet also has junior varsity races to allow developing runners to compete through the end of the season.

Post-Season

In 2007, the American Running Association introduced the Battle of the Potomac, a post-season high school and middle school cross country competition which pins Maryland, Virginia, DC, and West Virginia runners against one another based on the state in which they live. The meet is a Montgomery County favorite due to the scenic venue at Smokey Glenn Farm, the customized state-based racing singlets, the barbecue dinner, and the inevitable dance party at the awards ceremony.

The Footlocker Cross Country National Championship Meet has been contested since 1979 and has been hosted in Balboa Park in San Diego, California every year since 2002. Competitors must finish in the top 10 at one of four regional qualifying meets to qualify for this national championship meet. Maryland is in the Northeast Region along with ten other states and the District of Columbia. The Northeast Regional Meet has historically been held in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York; however, the meet temporarily moved to Sunken Meadows State Park in New York from 2009 to 2011 due to construction.

The NXN Championship is Nike's team-oriented national championship meet formerly known as Nike Team Nationals (NTN). The meet became open to individual qualifiers and was rebranded to NXN (Nike Cross Country Nationals) in 2008. Teams must finish in the top 2 at one of eight regional qualifying meet to qualify as a team, and individuals must finish among the top five individuals not from a qualifying team. Maryland is in the NXN Southeast Region along with ten other states and the District of Columbia. Since 2008, the Southeast Region meet has been hosted at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The NXN Championship Meet was contested in a muddy, bumpy horse track in Portland, Oregon for its first several years. Often in snowy conditions, the meet boasted a rugged, true-XC experience in contrast to Footlocker's sunny southern California meet, but in 2014 the NXN venue moved to a well-groomed, all-grass golf course in Portland, Oregon.

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