Nalubola’s rigorous training paid off Saturday as she cruised to the Maryland 3A championship in a time of 18 minutes 41 seconds. Urbana’s Maria Carberry (18:58) edged Reservoir’s Karli Smiraglia (18:59) for second place.
“It’s so amazing, surreal, to say I won a state title,” Nalubola said. “I wanted to see how far I could go.”
Nalubola helped pace the Eagles to the team championship, with four runners finishing in the top 12. The title is Centennial’s first in girls’ cross-country since 1990. River Hill finished second with 67 points to Centennial’s 56.
Nalubola’s performance on the hilly course at McDaniel College was indicative of the endurance training to which she’s subjected herself, Centennial Coach Kevin McCoy said.
“Her engine is just off the charts,” McCoy said. “The girl can just go and go. And I just let her go. It’s been amazing to watch.”
In the boys’ 3A race, Wilde Lake’s David Eisenhauer (16:15) and Centennial’s Alec Font (16:18) finished second and third, respectively, behind champion Ben Freed of Thomas Johnson, who won with a time of 16:06.
After catching his breath, Eisenhauer stood at the end of the chute to high-five each finishing runner.
“When I’d finish, I love to have someone congratulating me when it hurts the most,” Eisenhauer said.
Mount Hebron (100 points) and Centennial (113) claimed second and third, respectively, behind Thomas Johnson (86) in the boys’ 3A team meet.
Severna Park won the boys’ team 4A race in blowout fashion, scoring just 38 points. The Falcons placed five runners in the top 15, with Ryan Forsyth (15:41) winning the individual championship. Gaithersburg’s Danniel Belay (15:54) and Severna Park’s Rhys Burgett (15:59) rounded out the top three.
“I knew there were a lot of talented runners, so my goal from the start was to get out hard,” Forsyth said.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s Nora McUmber (18:52) finished runner-up to Dulaney’s Isabel Griffith (18:26) in the girls’ 4A race. Richard Montgomery’s Sophie El Masry posted a 19:09 to finish third. Walter Johnson (60 points) won the girls’ 4A title, edging Bethesda-Chevy Chase (64).
Poolesville’s Chase Weaverling ran away with the boys’ 2A state championship with a time of 15:42. Weaverling bolted from the pack at the first mile marker.
“This course had some really good hills,” Weaverling said. “There was better footing that made it easier to keep your momentum.”
As a team, the Poolesville boys (111 points) finished second behind Catoctin (61). The Poolesville girls (102 points), led by Claire Beautz’s third-place finish (19:14), placed second behind Hereford (73).