Cross country runs at the top of the pack at counties


Juniors Abby Lyons (left) and Sydney Garwood (right) compete in the Johns Hopkins race September 21. Photo courtesy of Luke Garwood.

The boys and girls cross country teams ran competitively at the county race October 24.

The boys team placed second out of nine teams. Our top five runners were senior Dan Beck (3rd), freshman Micah Hewitson (9th), senior Luke Kastel (20th), sophomore Brennan Henyon (26th) and senior Scott Coblentz (29th) with times of 16:43.08, 17:14.40, 18:02.64, 18:23.42 and 18:30.18.

The girls team placed fifth out of 10 teams. The top five runners were freshman Olivia Deyaert (7th), freshman Brighid Hobson (15th), junior Alyssa Hayslett (22nd), junior Sydney Garwood (29th) and freshman Valerie Coblentz (32nd) with times of 20:44.16, 21:27.51, 21:52.14, 22:53.33 and 23:16.50.

The boys cross country head coach, Mr. Andres Wright said, “We are having a good season. All runners are running very well… For example, we finished 6th in an invitational at Georgetown Prep. We beat 30 other teams in the process.”

At “MVALs and we finished in 4th place which is really fantastic out of 12 teams. So considering how small our team is, in regard to the other teams in our conference, we did really well,” said girls cross country assistant coach Mrs. Laura Scuffins.
There are cross country meets weekly, usually on every Saturday, and scoring is based on the places earned by the first five finishers. Each player’s points contribute to an ultimate team score.

“Therefore a team with two very good runners wins or finishes very high. Two years ago we had the first and third place finishers at states and finished second in state. But runners 3, 4, 5 are very important too,” said Wright. “Our key runners are the top five on varsity (seven make a team in cross country)- Dan Beck, one of the top runners in the state, Micah Hewitson, currently the top freshman in the state, Brennan Henyon, Daniel Lemon and Scott Coblentz.”

“The athletes who are on our varsity team are freshmen Olivia Deyaert, Valerie Sails, and Brighid Hobson, sophomore Lee Rankin and junior Sydney Garwood. So our freshmen are really stepping up this year. It’s helping us out a lot,” said Scuffins.
This year girls cross country team members have suffered multiple injuries.

“This year we’ve had half of the team injured so we’re down to nine people and it’s really tough so we’re all trying to hang in there. I’ve injured my ankle twice already so we’re all just trying to push through…. That’s a really big aspect of cross country, just trying to push through all the injuries and not injure yourself more while you’re trying to achieve your goal,” said junior girls cross country runner Sydney Garwood.

Both teams are also at a disadvantage when they have to fill the shoes of outstanding runners who graduated.
“Last year one of the all-time greats at Linganore, Pat DuBoyce, a state champion and model student-athletes, graduated– he is now racing for UMBC,” said Wright.

Nicole Ludwig, Amber Spear, and Stefanie Safsten are all runners that graduated from the girls team and are all running at the collegiate level.

“The team has bonded well, and, luckily, we have Dan Beck who leads the team by example as Pat did. Also, we have runners with more experience. Luke Kastel, Scott Coblentz have provided stability to our team,” said Wright.

Scuffins said, “The athletes that we do have are really skilled runners, and it’s exciting because we have young people that next year and the year after we’re going to be really good.”

Boys cross country runner junior, Jonathan Gober said, “Cross country is kind of special because we have several people that graduated and they come back for practices and run with us every once in a while. We have Pat (DuBoyce). We have all these guys like Braden (Bruning).”

Both boys and girls cross country have big competition with Oakdale, Catoctin and Urbana.

“In the county TJ is the favorite,” Wright said.

Gober said, “Coach Wright gives us an assortment of workouts to do depending on how close the next meet is what really hard workouts or sometimes we’ll do really steady running but most practices we run about 8 miles each practice and maybe a little less depending on the day… Coach Wright is really good at making those kinds of workouts.”

“Usually two or three days out of the week, we’ll have a really hard run and we do different exercises like cardio room and between like running up the hills and stuff is we just have a lot of cross training,” said Garwood.

Both athletes agree that before a hard meet they do light and steady, easy running.

“For this year’s team, [we want to] win county and place in the top 5 at states. Individually, Dan will be racing for the state title,” said Wright.

“I personally think that one of the goals is to build a really solid foundation in terms of our leadership and working together which I think they’re doing a fine job with. Obviously, making our solid spot in the county and trying to improve on our previous week’s times,” said Scuffins.

“I’ve been very pleased with the team’s dedication to each other. It has been a great pleasure to coach such a great bunch of young guys,” said Wright.

The State meet is Saturday, November 9 at McDaniel College.

Freshamn Micah Hewittson runs in the Johns Hopkins meet Spetember 21. Photo courtesy of Luke Garwood.
Freshamn Micah Hewittson runs in the Johns Hopkins meet Spetember 21. Photo courtesy of Luke Garwood.