Anish Nanjappa brought home his second individual county title in a row to keep his undefeated season alive. The second was no easier than the first for Nanjappa, as Baidy Ba and Jacob Cole stuck with him for a majority of the race with Ba only ending nine seconds behind the new course record holder. The county meet turned out to be a showcase for the juniors as they accounted for the next five finishers after Nanjappa. The aforementioned Ba and Cole were accompanied by Kendall Phillips, Grayson Max Crockett, and Josh Galindo before Will Tripp ended the streak of juniors. Tripp had impressive second and third miles to work his way into the top seven, which should be good enough for First Team All-County honors. River Hill saw the next two finishers in the form of Awais Khan and Sean Krein who finished five seconds before Centennials duo of Antonio Bucks-Camacho and Andew Bank. Bucks-Camacho is the first freshman to finish in the top ten since the now repeat champion out of River Hill did it in 2016. Mount Hebron entered the scoring next with Jacob Hauf and Braedon Moyer being split by Ryan Rose from River Hill. Centennial junior Matthew Thomas rounded out the podium, making Centennial’s four finishers just one short of River Hill’s five in the top 15.
Alongside Nanjappa’s new 15:21 course record, he was also able to hoist the team trophy as River Hill posted an impressive 37 point total, almost half of second place Centennial’s 71. The Hawks and Eagles will face off again in a week as they, and seven other county competitors, belong to the 3A East region. Only three teams will be traveling away from the familiar Centennial course; Glengelg and Wilde Lake, who will see an easier field in their 2A matchup next week, and Howard, who will have to qualify for states by overcoming fellow 4A schools.
Star senior Amanda Eliker did not disappoint for Howard Wednesday, winning with a 40 second margin over teammate Nimrit Ahuja who finished second. In fact the first four finishers sported Howard singlets. Sara Kindbomb finished a second behind Ahuja and Jasmine Wilson edged out Athloton’s Aanchal Kasargod at the line just five seconds later. Chloe McGeehan from River Hill was the only other runner to beat a Howard scorer as Emily Gorny wrapped up the Lions win with a seventh place finish. Katie Kitzinger split the last two Howard girls, Madison Radford and freshman Ella Werdell, all of whom placed in the top ten.
The Howard girls put on a performance unlike any other the Howard County championships have ever seen, and it’s unlikely another will come for a long time. The new meet record 17 points, only two away from a perfect score, is almost untouchable. For reference, if the Howard girls had gone against the rest of the county in a head to head competition they still would have won 17-43. Domination. The race for second went the way of Centennial, who had the lowest 1-5 spread of any team at only 29 seconds. River Hill edged out Reservoir for third in the team scoring.
-Ryan Rose, River Hill Senior