For one week at least, senior Zach Martinez gets bragging rights on the Gaithersburg cross-country team.
On a dreary Saturday morning at the Bull Run Invitational at Hereford High, Martinez won the seeded boys' race in 17 minutes 21 seconds, beating his second-place teammate Ryan James by 10 seconds.
A week ago at the Frank Keyser Invitational, James finished first ahead of Martinez.
"We're competitors, we're always going at it," James said. "We're always pushing each other. . . . I'm going to hear about this all week."
River Hill, paced by a fifth-place finish from Sergiy Zubko and a seventh-place finish by Nick Keane, took the team title in the boys' race with 104 points. Broadneck, led by Matt Centrowitz's third-place finish, was second with 110.
In the seeded girls' race, twins Halsey and Ashlyn Sinclair of Blair cruised past the competition to take first and second, respectively. Halsey Sinclair, an All-Met last fall as a freshman, won in 20:02, four seconds better than Ashlyn. Unionville (Pa.) won the team crown easily with 44 points.
"We were just trying to finish," Halsey said. "We weren't really thinking about where everyone else was."
In the large schools girls' race, Arundel's Marissa McPhail won easily in a time of 20:57. Damascus All-Met Ricky Flynn, the defending 4A champion, finished second behind Woodlawn sophomore Dwight Parker in the large schools boys' race.
Runners at the meet had to contend with dismal conditions at Hereford's challenging three-mile course, the site of the Maryland state championship race in November. The race was held during a driving rain with cold, strong wind gusts, and the course, with its hills and sharp turns, was filled with mud.
In the boys' race, Martinez said he slipped to the ground once, while another time James almost fell over Martinez. River Hill's finish was almost affected when No. 5 runner Andrew Sasser was involved in a nasty spill around a difficult turn.
After taking a big lead from the starting gun, the Sinclairs had a simple strategy to beat the mud.
"We just ran to the side, on the part of the path that wasn't as muddy," Ashlyn said. "It was maybe a little bit longer but less slippery."