It was the stuff of movies.
Movie Title: MoCo USA
Cast of Characters:
The All-American, Ryan Lockett
The Passionate, Adam Nakasaka
The Heir Apparent, Mark Unger
The Dark Horse, Obsaa Feda
The Kings, Walt Whitman Boys Team
Filmed and produced by the Wootton video crew.
Scene One: "A Ton of Guys"
Lockett of Poolesville High School led the field for much of the race, but the field
did not let the star runners get away. As runners traversed the winding paved trail along the south edge of the park about seven minutes into
the race, runners began to string out. Richard Montgomery's Mark Unger led the way briefly. A minute later as runners returned to wide open
dirt and grass adjacent to the City of Gaithersburg Water Park, the lead pack was as jumbled as ever with nine guys practically touching
Camera One: The All-American
Lockett: "I actually led for a little bit which I wasn't planning on doing, but I just wanted to see if people were tired or not and if I
could pull away. But yeah, everyone wanted to lead. There were so many people that I was like, 'Oh, wow, well, he's still up here, and oh,
he's still up here.' So I knew that coming down the last stretch that it was going to be a ton of guys."
Scene Two: "A Lot of Lead Changes"
Nakasaka: "I expected Ryan and Mark and Garrett to be up there with me, but I
didn't expect Obsaa and the Albert Einstein boys to be up there. So they kind of pushed it a bit, and whenever I tried to pass them they sped
up a bit more so it was really increasing the pace and helping our times overall. Yeah, there were a lot of lead changes, but I knew to just
be patient and go when I knew I had to."
Camera Two: The Passionate
Nakasaka of B-CC High School said that he stayed back in sixth or seventh place for the first two miles, and it was only in the final mile
that he started to throw in surges. The pack finally started to string out in the final mile, but it was not necessarily the order that anyone
Approaching the pond for the third and final time with about a half mile remaining, Nakasaka said, "It was Obsaa and then Mark, Ryan, and me.
Right when we passed it [the pond], I just threw in a surge immediately. Ryan just kind of stayed on my left shoulder."
Nakasaka gained the lead for the first time, but his lead was short-lived. Feda regained the lead a second time with approximately 200 meters
remaining in the race.
Scene Three: "I Thought They Were Going to Push the Pace"
Feda: "I thought they were going to push the pace, so I was just trying to stay and try and make a move at the end. But they didn't push the
pace, so I was just like, 'I don't know what to do.'"
Camera Three: The Dark Horse
One of the least experienced racers in the lead pack, Feda of Northwood High School thought the early pace was more than manageable, but he
admitted that he feared some of the more accomplished runners who he had not seen yet this season.
"So my coach was telling me to push the pace after the two mile mark, but I was a little
bit scared because I know Adam was good, Ryan, Mark. So I was just trying to stay with them so I don't know what to do. Then my coach came to
me [with about a half mile to go]. He told me, 'What are you doing? Just pick up the pace.' So I don't have any choice. I just picked up the
pace little by little."
Feda took over the race in the final half mile, relinquished the lead briefly to Nakasaka, and regained the lead again. He says that he was
cut off at the sharp turn at the flag with about 200 meters to go. Lockett, Nakasaka, and Unger outkicked Feda down the stretch.
Scene Four: "A Burst of Speed"
Lockett: "Obsaa, that last half mile: he was killing it! And I didn't expect that at all...Obviously, I knew who he was. He had a good last
race, but yeah I didn't expect him to be up there."
Camera One: The All-American
"And then Adam kicked it for once. I never expect him to all of a sudden just have a burst of speed, but today he did...Me, Adam and Obsaa, we
were up there...I knew that all of us three were kicking really hard, and then all of a sudden Adam had a burst of speed."
Scene Five: "Gutting it Out"
Nakasaka: "Right when we were getting up to that final flag to turn into the
straightaway [with approximately 200-meters remaining], Obsaa pushed it a bit. Immediately after that, I knew I had to go, so I started
sticking my nose in it and just gutting it out the entire way. I thought I was doing pretty well in that final stretch and then about halfway
through...halfway down the stretch I saw Ryan's shadow so I picked it up a bit more but he eventually passed me and won."
Camera Two: The Passionate
In the flurry, Richard Montgomery's Mark Unger passed Feda and nearly caught Nakasaka. Five boys broke 15:40 and ran within eight seconds of
each other. Nine boys broke 16 minutes.
1. Ryan Lockett, Poolesville 15:32.0
2. Adam Nakasaka, B-CC 15:35.6
3. Mark Unger, R. Montgomery 15:36.2
4. Obsaa Feda, Northwood 15:38.0
5. John Riker, Wootton 15:39.0
Scene Six: "Not Usually Like This"
Lockett: "It was awesome. I mean, Counties isn't usually like this. Usually, it's
one guy who goes out or it's two guys. But this year it was a huge pack of people. I looked at previous county results and I'm not sure how
many people broke 16 or if there is a record for that, but I'm sure a ton of guys broke 16 today. Montgomery County is really killing this
season. I'm so proud of everyone. I'm cool with all them. They're all my friends, and I mean, MoCo is the best. It's an awesome running
community. My favorite races are counties."
Camera One: The All-American
Scene Seven: "They Believed in Themselves"
Whitman High School had a bad omen to start the season. One of the team's top
runners and leaders, Joshua Engels, broke his femur and was ruled out from competing during his senior season of cross country. Head Coach
Steve Hays said that Engels was instrumental in organizing the team runs every day throughout the summer prior to his injury.
Camera Four: The Kings
Said Hays, "We just talked about, 'everybody's got to step up.' We knew that we wouldn't have him the rest of the season and that just meant
that everybody had to be a little better. I felt like throughout the season, they kept doing that. They kept getting a little bit better."
When it came down to the county championship meet, the Vikings felt that they were as
good as anybody.
Said Hays, "We felt that it was really up for grabs and that it could be anybody, and that if we did what we were capable of doing, we thought
we could do it. These boys have worked really hard together throughout the summer and the fall. I'm just so proud of them. They believed in
themselves and they did it."
Despite only having one runner in the top twenty (Aaron Bratt in seventh), Whitman crammed its number two through five runners between
positions 22 and 35. Whitman's winning score was 123. The top five teams all finished within 30 points of Whitman.
For those keeping score, the Whitman boys have now won 14 of the 36 scored county championship meets since 1978.
Article Comments - Add A Comment
|Where r the results
|This is such a great article
|Engels is a senior and Bratt got seventh
|Can you do the county firsts again for this meet?
This is one of the best articles to appear on MoCo Running. You should submit it to other outlets. Thank you for the great coverage.
|Just a dad|
|Great article! Really enjoyed it!
|1st great article KP sounds like a great race.
But i have a question about the distance and course length. They came through mile 1 about 505, which is fairly slow meaning the leaders covered the final 2 miles under 950 pace which is exceptionally quick for these men if they were running a track 5k let alone over grass. Is there anyway the final 2 miles might have cut off just a tiny bit of the course that would speed this up, I understand that the weather was perfect conditions but still, Weaverling and Bertrand were out around 450 to run a similar time to the Locketts today and Zarate was out 455ish in 2014. Would need to go out faster to have a chance at 1530-1540
Just seems like a pack of 8 guys wouldnt have been able to sustain 454 pace during the final 2 miles and Lockett said he was sitting around waiting for something to happen, which if the pace was really 454 he would have been straining becuz thats a quick pace late in the race even for him. ROhann ran 1533 and 1534 at counties, but he was untouched in those races and went on to qualify for Nike Cross, so it just doesnt seem like we have 6-8 potential nike qualifiers among the bunch here
|MCPS give me a job|
|It seems extremely fast to me as well, but I would say a few things. 1. Last year was windy. 2. Last year was a one-man time trial. 3. Last year, the varsity races were first before all JV races. More dew was on the ground. 4. The grass is cut at different times every year. Could all of these things combined lead to the faster times by 10-20 seconds? Times were slower on the whole in 2014 and 2016. Times were faster in 2015 and 2017.
|agreed, but the quality of the field in 15 was better coming in and the weather was great and grass cut well and times still werent as fast as this year.
sybing oduor welter abebe walsh gersch kannapell, i mean those guys in 15 were big gunsand 5 broke 15. Suhr and Unger and Feda are major talents,but they arent a group of seasoned veterans like the 2015 group, I just find it suprising that this years field would prevail on paper.
But little changes in weather or small details like grass can play a difference
|I forgot who most of those kids are. Are any of them running D-1? 2017 field has way more D-1 talent but some may be sophomores and juniors right now.
|Might want to do some research then. Abebe ran a 1616 @ Hereford, gersch ran 936 in hs and 2545 in college. Odour has run 2520. Liam Walsh 2517 and ran 155_ in HS so yes they were all major talents and were at the front of county races for pretty much their entire careers in track and XC but they were all very capable XC runners. They may not have had crazy potential but they were hardworkers who ran disciplined
|Whoa whoa whoa, gentleman and ladies, there is an easy way to settle this. Were the girls varsity and boys and girls junior varsity also 10-20 seconds faster than normal? If so, then let's chalk this up to good weather and course conditions. In other news, who cares??? Nobody is winning a scholarship off of this race.
|Times were similar in other races
|The girl's times weren't especially fast this year. In fact, Green was 10 seconds slower this year than last.
|Distance was 3.11 on my watch
|Amazing race class of 2018 has some great runners
|Mocorunning admin(or anybody who knows the answer), I got a question about how to qualify for states:
There are 11 boys teams in 4A North, usually that means 6 teams qualify, according to the mpssaa website. My question revolves around Mergenthaler Voc Tech(aka Mervo). They have not run a meet this year that is registered with athletic.net or milesplit. According to mpssaa, if a team has not run two varsity meets prior to the region meet, they cannot compete in the region meet. In recent years, they have either not been strict with this rule(last year Mervo had run one meet prior to regionals but still ran and scored at regionals) or they have just ran meets nor registered with milesplit or athletic.net. They also may just not have a team and do only have 3 people on their athletic.net roster. If any of the following cases happen, would that mean mpssaa considers 4A North to have 10 teams, and therefore only 5 teams qualify for states?:
1. Mervo doesn't compete at all because they have no team
2. Will Mervo not be allowed to compete because they haven't ran two meets?
3. Mervo competes, but fails to score because they have less than 5 runners
I only care about this because it might affect the amount of teams qualifying for states. Mervo will otherwise not really affect the region as during last year's region meet, Mervo failed to have a runner break 20 minutes
|Not Skeptical or Biased Coach|
|I actually had the pleasure of working with Abebe (15:50) and Feda (15:38). Both had run 9:44 and 4:33-34 in the outdoor season prior to running sub 16. As far as training, Feda is definitely in better shape than Abebe was so I'm not surprised with the times this year. Top 5 varsity boys have all either run sub 9:50 or sub 4:30, high quality field. Did notice some of the back end guys in the video slightly cutting the course by the pavement, not sure how much time that would add on though.
|Lockett is now better in XC AND Track vs Rohann
|So who’s gonna win the 4A state meet
|Re: 4a north
I've been running, covering and coaching in 4A north for a while now and I've run into questions like this many times. Baltimore City runs a bunch of league meets throughout the season, not unlike Moco. They just usually don't upload the results to athletic.net. Some of the results are up on Milesplit.
|Ryun, thanks for the response. I see Mervo ran a meet on milesplit. Only had three guys run. If that happens during the region meet, do you know if 5 teams will qualify instead of 6. Note: on athletic.net three guys are listed on the roster. Three different guys from the meet on milesplit. So maybe they have 6 guys. Never know till the meet
|Re: 4A North Looks like they only ran two or three guys at the Baltimore City Championships. Regionals could be different but if they don't run five at regionals then, yeah, only five teams qualify (bc Western is also an all-girls school). That means you've probably got Dulaney and Howard, then Northwood, Blair, PB, Sherwood, Springbrook and Catonsville all fighting for three spots. Should be a good one!
|Ive seen the entries for 4A North - Mervo has entered 5 boys into the race. Doesn't matter now if 5 show up. 6 teams will qualify for states.
With the addition of Urbana, Blair, and Northwood, Along with typical strong schools like Dulaney, Howard, and Paint Branch, 4A North is one of the better regions in the State now. Should be a great race for both genders.