After nearly two years of extremely hard work, the returns are starting to come in for Eleanor Roosevelt senior Mikias Gelagle. On Oct. 19, Gelagle added another honor to his mantel, running the fastest time in Fort Washington Park history to win his second consecutive Prince George's County championship.
Gelagle finished in 15 minutes 57 seconds, which was 62 seconds ahead of the time for second-place Kelli Thibou, his junior teammate who won the race in 2003. Although the course has changed several times through the years, Gelagle's time set the standard for the course, best known by runners for its challenging hill called "The General."
Gelagle won six races in 2004 and has won three this year, not including the Brentsville Relays, where he ran the meet's fastest split. A year after finishing third in the Maryland 4A contest, Gelagle appears to be a major contender to win the state title this year, even though he will be going up against the defending champion, Broadneck junior Matt Centrowitz.
"I just kept saying to myself, 'Why, why, why, remember why you are doing this,' " Gelagle said. "I have to be ready for the state meet so that was what I was focusing on."
Led by Gelagle and Thibou, the Raiders won the boys' team title for the third straight year with 20 points, well ahead of Oxon Hill's 92.
A Precious Second
The Raiders' girls won Oct. 19's county meet in impressive fashion, scoring a perfect 15 points for their third consecutive championship. And they received another bit of good news the next day -- Roosevelt moved up to No. 2 in the Nike Team Nationals rankings for the Southeast Region.
The top two teams in each of eight regions qualify for the national team meet, which is held in December in Oregon. Roosevelt had been ranked third the previous week, but the Raiders' success earlier in the season -- notably a fifth-place finish at the Manhattan Invitational -- matched with a surprise loss by previous No. 2 Oakton, allowed the Raiders to move up.
The key will be the Maryland 4A championship meet, where, to repeat as champs, the Raiders would need beat reclassified powerhouses C. Milton Wright and Northwest, who were first and second in 3A last year.
Sophomore Dominique Lockhart won the girls' race Oct. 19 (19:26), and she was followed by teammate Marika Walker (19:29). The top six spots were won by Roosevelt. Largo was second with 83 points.
McDonald on the Move
To his mother, Andre McDonald seemed like a perfect fit for cross-country: With a seemingly endless supply of energy, he would be able to use plenty of it by competing in the rigorous sport.
As McDonald has found out, his mother was right. In his first season, the Oxon Hill senior has emerged as one of Prince George's County's top cross-country runners and placed third at the county championships Oct. 19.
"She said, 'You're always hyper, energetic, have lots of endurance, so why don't you try cross-country?' " McDonald said. "I've enjoyed it a lot."
On Oct. 19, McDonald was behind only Gelagle and Thibou, who finished first and second for the second consecutive year.
McDonald's performance allowed the Clippers to take second as a team.
The regional meets are scheduled for next Thursday, with the majority of county teams running in the 4A South Region meet at Fort Washington Park. The county's 3A schools will compete in the 3A South meet at Oak Ridge Park in Waldorf, and the 2A teams will go to the 2A South meet at Patuxent High in Lusby. The state meet is Nov. 12 at Hereford High in Parkton.