Boys & girls cross country celebrate winning season


courtesy of David Sears

Linganore boys team poses together after 3A state meet.

by Carson Buck, Editor

For the first time in three years, both the boys and girls teams won 3A West regional crowns. The boys team, lead by Carson Buck and Cole Williamson, won 3A West Regionals with a score of 62 points, beating out rival Tuscarora, who scored 79 points. During the preseason, Tuscarora was the favorite to win the region, but the young Linganore team improved enough to take them down. Runners freshman Alex Kulgren and sophomore Jack Sears had races that showed maturity beyond their ages. They finished 12th and 22nd respectively.  

The girls team won 3A West as well, with a score of 77 points, just squeezing by Frederick’s 80 points for the win. They were led by last year’s freshman phenom CiCi Perrone with her third place finish. 

“Conditions were not great with the mud and rain. I was proud to finish 3rd,” said Perrone.

Linganore’s next best girls runner, Rachael Hall, finished 13th place with a 22:19.49. Linganore girls were boosted by the addition of sophomore first-year runner Molly Anderson who came in 17th place with a 22:36. Their top 5 was rounded out with Abigail Parker (21) and Abbey Hall (24). Linganore’s girls team was boosted by the arrival of freshman and first-year runners just like the boys team.  

Both teams had a successful championship season from the Central Maryland Conference championships all the way to 3A state championship. The boys team won their conference, the Spires Division, but lost overall to state champions Williamsport (1A) and Oakdale (2A) for the CMC title.

The girls team placed 7th overall in the CMC and 3rd place in the Spires Division, losing out to Frederick and champion Urbana.

In the Frederick County Championship, the boys, with 92 points, pulled out a tight second place finish over Tuscarora’s 111 points. However both teams were blown away by Oakdale’s 26 points, led by top two finishers Collin Dempsey and eventually 2A state champion Kyle Lund. Experts might argue that Linganore might have competed better with Oakdale if they had number 4 runner Alex Kullgren, who was out with an ankle injury. 

Linganore cross country 2019 was a rebuilding year after a long record of success with 3 top 2 finishes in a row and a state title in 2017.  Despite a tradition of success, the boys team was only able to muster up a 13th place finish at states this year with stand out performances from Cole Williamson and Carson Buck in the top 25. The 3A division was absolutely loaded this year in talent. Anish Narajappa of River Hill won the 2A title last year and was able to repeat his feat this year when his team moved to 3A. 

Even the stand-out 2017 Linganore team would have been troubled by the talent in the field today.  

There were some standout newcomers this year and Cole Williamson was the best of the bunch. Williamson looks to build his personal success in cross country to the future. 

“I had a good season this year. My goal is to be not just the best freshman but the best runner in Linganore history,” said Williamson.

Another freshman runner stood out from the pack, too. Alex Kullgren was not a runner before high school and managed an impressive 5k PR of  17:53 at the Carlisle Invitational. Alex and Jack Sears ran together as a freshman sophomore duo coming in together in about every race they ran. Zack Hunsaker had a good senior. He proved a vital number 5 in beating Tuscarora at counties and at the regional championships. Zack was previously left out of states last year due to a rule change in MSPAA cross country eligibility base on varsity races. 

    College Runner round-up   

Former Linganore number one runner and state champion Michael Belmaggio is off to a fast start at UMBC. He ran a time of 25:21 for 38th place at the America East Championships. Michael leads his team as a freshman which is a rarity in Division 1 cross country. 

Howard Community College runner Benjamin Dill ran a time of 27:14 and won first place in Juco Region XX Division III . His team is moving on to nationals where they were runner ups in their Division III Nationals in Massachusetts. 

Will Cioffi is running at Howard Community College. Will ran a time of 27:57 to a 14th place finish at Juco Division III Nationals. Will also ran meets during the summer as an independent runner for track. Will broke the school mile record with a 4:20 mile and an 1:55 800 meter run at the 3A state meet.    

Khelsa Connoly competed for Hagerstown Community College at nationals where she finished 155th place with a 21:55 for 5k. Connoly was a former team captain of the girls team and senior leader the previous year