Falling on the final turn may have cost Westlake High School senior Carlos Hunt some time, but it didn't come close to costing him the championship at the Maryland 3A South regional cross-country meet Thursday at Patuxent.
Hunt led from start to finish and claimed the victory in 16 minutes 37 seconds on the three-mile course. Adrian Hill of Chopticon was second in 17:01 and William Christian of Great Mills finished third in 17:23. Westlake, which placed second at the SMAC meet, won the boys team title with 69 points. The Wolverines were followed by SMAC champion La Plata (87) and host Patuxent (90).
Patuxent junior Lillian Ricardo won the girls race in 20:05. Ricardo, who led from start to finish, was followed by Northern's Alexis Wieroniey (20:53) and Patuxent's Susan Hendrick (21:06). Patuxent, which won its first SMAC title last week, won the school's first regional title with 46 points. The Panthers were followed by Northern (73) and La Plata (96).
The top 18 boys and 16 girls qualified for the state meet, scheduled for Nov. 13 at Hereford High School in Parkton. The top five boys and girls teams also qualified.
"I wanted to run in the low 16s, but I think I went out a little too fast," said Hunt, who lined up on the outside and had to sprint to the front of the pack. "This is an extremely challenging course. The hills sneak up on you, and it's a little hard to follow. . . . I'm really happy with the way things turned out."
Hunt, who has not lost to a SMAC opponent in two years, said he knew the race was his when he looked back at the two-mile mark and saw Hill passing Christian. Hunt continued to push himself the rest of the way, but suffered a minor setback when he slipped and fell around the final turn.
"I don't know what I hit," said Hunt, who took a wrong turn and got lost on the Patuxent course last season. "I guess I tried to cut the corner too close and slipped on the hill. It cost me a good three seconds."
Westlake also got an outstanding performance from Jose Dory, who placed fourth in 17:32. He was followed by Mike Richardson (17th, 18:16), Doug Cornwell (21st, 18:35) and Marques Brown (26th, 18:54).
"We knew Carlos could win, but we needed the other guys to step up," said Westlake Coach Jimmy Ball. "Jose ran a great race, and that took some of the pressure off the other guys."
In the girls race, Ricardo got off to a quick start and never looked back. Ricardo, who ended Wieroniey's three-year unbeaten streak at the SMAC meet, ran the first mile in 5:46 and led by more than 200 yards midway through the race.
"I wanted to go out quick and lead the first mile," Ricardo said. "I got off to a quick start [at the SMAC meet], and I think that hurt [Wieroniey] a little bit, so I wanted to do the same this week."
Ricardo was able to cruise in the last mile, but Hendrick made her move in that stretch. The Patuxent freshman passed two runners in the final mile and beat Kathleen Dunscomb of Leonardtown by six seconds. Hendrick was followed by her teammate and sister, Jane Hendrick (ninth, 22:11), as well as fellow Panthers Shannon Lawrence (14th, 22:35), Valerie Hagan (19th, 23:17) and Stephanie Stattol (20th, 23:31).
"The team really peaked today," Patuxent Coach Prasad Gerard said. "Lillian ran a great race, and Susan ran her heart out. She went out there and moved up on people, then held them off down the stretch. That was one of her best races of the year."
Team scores: 1, Westlake 69; 2, La Plata 87; 3, Patuxent 90; 4, Great Mills 104; 5, McDonough 108; 6, Leonardtown 122; 7, Northern 146; 8, Calvert 186; 9, Chopticon 245; 10, Thomas Stone 303.
Top individuals: 1, Carlos Hunt, Westlake, 16:37; 2, Adrian Hill, Chopticon, 17:01; 3, William Christian, Great Mills, 17:23; 4, Jose Dory, Westlake, 17:32; 5, James Cox, Patuxent, 17:33; 6, Raffeale Simpson, Patuxent, 17:35; 7, Wes Valcarcel, La Plata, 17:40; 8, Danny Bowes, McDonough, 17:49; 9, Jesse Ratliff, Northern, 17:54; 10, Josh Trice, McDonough, 17:58.
11, Robbie Stine, McDonough, 18:01; 12, Elijah Friess, Leonardtown, 18:03; 13, Jesse Stump, La Plata, 18:07; 14, Jote Aga, Leonardtown, 18:09; 15, Ed May, La Plata, 18:11; 16, Anthony Anello, Great Mills, 18:15; 17, Mike Richardson, Westlake, 18:16; 18, Robin Lundburg, Patuxent, 18:21; 19, Kenneth Roof, Great Mills, 18:28; 20, Justin Wilkinson, Calvert, 18:30.
Team scores: 1, Patuxent 46; 2, Northern 73; 3, La Plata 96; 4, Leonardtown 98; 5, Thomas Stone 148; 6, Calvert 156; 7, Great Mills 157; 8, McDonough 196; 9, Chopticon 198.
Top individuals: 1, Lillian Ricardo, Patuxent, 20:05; 2, Alexis Wieroniey, Northern, 20:53; 3, Susan Hendrick, Patuxent, 21:06; 4, Kathleen Dunscomb, Leonardtown, 21:12; 5, Megan Darr, Calvert, 21:18; 6, Jewel Clark, Thomas Stone, 21:37; 7, Tracy Warring, La Plata, 21:52; 8, Heidi Faller, Leonardtown, 22:03; 9, Jane Hendrick, Patuxent, 22:11; 10, Brooke Gerhardt, McDonough, 22:14.
11, Pixie Stack, Northern, 22:24; 12, Amber Ellis, Northern, 22:26; 13, Beth McLaughlin, Thomas Stone, 22:34; 14, Shannon Lawrence, Patuxent, 22:35; 15, Candace Hardesty, Great Mills, 22:47; 16, Dianne Dixon, Great Mills, 22:55; 17, Rebekah Engel, La Plata, 23:00; 18, Beth Kurtz, Chopticon, 23:14; 19, Valerie Hagan, Patuxent, 23:17; 20, Stephanie Stattol, Patuxent, 23:31.