The Wilde Lake boys' cross-country team didn't set a specific goal entering the Bull Run Invitational on Saturday at Hereford High in Parkton.
"So when we won, it was a pleasant surprise because we didn't go in thinking we would just run away with it," said senior Travis Boccher. "I think we showed that we can compete against the rest of the teams in our county and our state."
Boccher placed fifth (17 minutes 43 seconds), and senior J.P. Allera took sixth (17:49) as the Wildecats finished atop the 27-team field in the Medium Schools Division with 87 points. Centennial, led by Dustin Yourstone (16th, 18:27), finished second with 116, followed by Bel Air (155), Hereford (161) and Catonsville (180).
Wilde Lake sophomore Derek Lange (15th, 18:25), freshman Jonathan Sham (23rd, 19:12) and senior Damien Richardson (38th, 19:36) contributed to the team win.
"I think we really used each other to set the pace and worked off each other," Boccher said. "It really benefits us that all of our runners run close to each other."
The Bull Run Invitational has four categories: Elite, which consisted of the area's top teams regardless of classification, and Large, Medium and Small school heats.
The River Hill boys' team finished seventh in the Elite race with 209 points, and Atholton took eighth with 219 points. Loyola of Baltimore finished atop the 19-team field, followed by Broadneck (112), Westminster (133), Chantilly (141) and Quince Orchard (153).
The Hawks were led by seniors Kevin McCoy (30th, 18:28) and Andrew Bank (32nd, 18:30), and Atholton's Andrew Revelle (seventh, 17:15) paced his squad.
"It was hot, but we should have done better even though it's the hardest course we'll run all year," Bank said. "I'm not sure what happened. We know we are better than that, and we're a good team, but we just didn't run like it."
Mount Hebron's Larry Soto led his team to a sixth-place finish out of 22 teams in the Large school competition by placing ninth in 18:18 in a field of 128 runners.
Oakland Mills' John Thornton placed 27th out of 1,748 runners in the Small school competition in 19:22 to lead his team to seventh place.
On the girls' side, River Hill finished second behind Severna Park in the Large school competition. Severna Park placed all five scorers in the top 15 to finish with 49 points, but River Hill had just three runners place in the top 20 -- led by freshman Katie Harman (third, 21:08) -- and finished with 78 points.
Angeli Sivaraman (seventh, 21:18) and Lauren Catalano (13th, 22:47) led Centennial to a second-place finish in the Medium school competition with 135 points, well behind champion Bel Air (96 points).
In the Elite race, Liz McCarter (19th, 22:02) led Mount Hebron to 10th place with 236 points, well behind champion Northwest (81). Atholton All-Met Alison Smith, the defending 2A champion, finished 12th (21:19).
"It wasn't my best moment, so I guess it was kind of a reality check for me," Smith said. "I didn't feel very well all week, and that hurt my training, and I wasn't as hydrated as I should have been. It was a combination of things, but I'm still glad I went out there and ran."