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Haile Shatters Record; W. Johnson Claims 1st Team Title

By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, November 9, 2008

PARKTON, Md., Nov. 8 Solomon Haile ran as expected Saturday at the Maryland state cross-country championships, his face devoid of any of the strain that obliterating the field and yet another course record might cause. The only real surprise was that the typically reserved Sherwood senior showed quite a bit of emotion in the process.

As he entered the three-mile course's final turn at Hereford High School, Haile smiled and pointed his index finger to the sky. After breaking the ribbon at the finish line in 15 minutes 43 seconds, he dropped to one knee and raised his palms to the sky.

Haile fed off the energy of the crowd -- it hooted and applauded while witnessing him demolish the record on one of the East Coast's most storied and difficult courses by an astonishing eight seconds -- and said he also felt relieved that much of the controversy over the past year about his age and amateur status was finally "clearing up."

"I'm happy. This is the hardest course I ever run," Haile said. "This was one of my big plans this season."

Walter Johnson's boys had big plans, too. They promised Coach Tom Martin in August that they would win their first state title and delivered Saturday with 48 points to win the 4A team title, ahead of Severna Park (139 points) and Northwest (142). "This was sweet," Martin said.

Walter Johnson had one more reason to celebrate after sophomore Anna Bosse upset the field and won the girls' 4A individual championship in 19:38. C. Milton Wright grabbed its second straight team title with 93 points, ahead of Northwest (127 points) and Severna Park (143).

In 3A, Atholton's Graham Bazell won the individual title in 16:29 while leading the Raiders to their first team championship since 1989. Atholton edged Bel Air, 69-74, and Damascus was third with 117.

Towson claimed the girls' team championship with 55 points, followed by Hereford (84 points) and Bel Air (102).

Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior Addie Tousley was the 3A individual winner. She took the lead at the start, was reeled in by two other runners roughly halfway through, but pulled away with one final surge and crossed the line in 19:59.

Tousley started slow as a freshman but improved steadily each year. She finished fifth at the Montgomery County championships in October before winning the 3A West region crown last week despite getting lost.

"This is pretty cool," Tousley said. "I was pretty bad as a freshman so it was a lot to come up from."

In 2A, River Hill's girls used a one-point margin to clinch their second straight championship, edging Century, 47-48. Mount Hebron was third with 111 points.

Mount Hebron's boys finished fourth here a year ago, but regained the No. 1 spot for the first time since 1969 with 57 points. River Hill, last year's 2A champion, was second with 105 points and Century was third with 130. River Hill senior Craig Morgan was the individual champion in 16:46.

Brunswick senior Sara Fisher won the girls' 1A race in 20:11. Glenelg was the top area team, finishing third (100 points). Bohemia Manor defeated South Carroll for the championship, 54-69.

Bohemia Manor and South Carroll also went 1-2 in the boys' competition, 91-92, and Williamsport was third with 98 points.

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