The large-schools race of the Bull Run Invitational was a little lonelier than Arundel junior Marissa McPhail is comfortable with. But on a muddy, blustery Saturday morning at Hereford High, McPhail took a big lead early and raced to an encouragingly decisive victory.
"It was so tough. It was so windy," McPhail said. "Running by yourself was so hard -- I think it was one of the hardest races I've had."
The conditions were tough for everybody on the already challenging three-mile course at Hereford, in northern Baltimore County, as heavy rains poured down and a stiff wind blew through.
McPhail, one of the top returning runners in Anne Arundel County, was up for a tough personal test as she grabbed a big lead and had to push herself without much competition. She finished in 20 minutes 57 seconds, more than a minute better than second-place Katie Williams of Wilde Lake.
"I don't normally like to run by myself," McPhail said. "Just to see if I could [run alone], that was a good test, because I think there are going to be times this year where I have to do it."
McPhail's time was the best by any county girl at the meet. Broadneck sophomore Tait Woodward finished 13th in the elite race and senior Emily Nagle was 18th; their school finished fifth. Severna Park's girls dominated the medium-schools race, winning it with 59 points.
Broadneck's boys finished a close second in the elite race, as sophomore Matt Centrowitz finished third and the Bruins had 110 points. River Hill won with 104 points.
Centrowitz was with the front pack for the entire race and finished in 17:32, 11 seconds behind champion Zach Martinez of Gaithersburg and one second behind second-place Ryan James of Gaithersburg.