Seven runners from Eleanor Roosevelt, exhausted after the girls' 4A race at yesterday's Maryland state cross-country championships at Hereford High in Parkton, staggered arm-in-arm away from the finish line. After just a few feet, the girls were halted by a throng of ecstatic Roosevelt supporters. It wasn't time to rest. It was time to celebrate.
The Roosevelt girls' team claimed the 4A title with 71 points, well ahead of second-place Dulaney (95). It was Prince George's County's first boys' or girls' cross-country team title since Roosevelt's girls won the crown in 1988.
"I feel proud of our team," said Roosevelt sophomore Jennifer Redman, a member of last year's 4A runner-up squad. "Throughout the whole season, everybody was putting us down [saying that] it's just a fluke from last year. This year we just stepped it up and worked hard."
Several Roosevelt runners had not been born the last time the Raiders won states, including freshman Dominique Lockhart, who finished fourth overall in 20 minutes 17 seconds.
"I just did my best and put it all out there," Lockhart said.
Redman finished two seconds behind Lockhart to claim fifth place, and Roosevelt freshman Tasha Stanley placed 15th in 21:27.
"We can take pride knowing that we're the only ones that did something like this, making history," Stanley said.
After his young team conquered one of the most difficult courses in the state, Roosevelt Coach Desmond Dunham was overjoyed with the Raiders' performance.
"After we finished [second at states last year] and realized that we had a very young and inexperienced team, we definitely set our eyes on the prize to make history," Dunham said. "It's just all starting to sink in. I think we have just as much pride in representing the school as well as the county."
Broadneck won the 4A boys' team title with 73 points, edging out Gaithersburg (91). Sophomore Matthew Centrowitz led the Bruins by winning the individual championship in 16:38. He beat Walter Johnson's Andrew Jesien by 11 seconds and reigning 4A champion Ricky Flynn of Damascus, who finished fourth.
Centrowitz, who played soccer last fall rather than run cross-country, also won the Anne Arundel County and 4A East Region titles this season.
"I kind of expected to be in the top three, but I started getting confident as the race went on," Centrowitz said. "Then I had higher goals for myself and just went for it."
Behind Centrowitz, Broadneck junior Matt Llano finished eighth and senior Kellen Hamill placed 13th.
"I think it was just confidence on this course," Bruins Coach Dana Dobbs said. "When we ran . . . here earlier this year, in really poor conditions, we were able to get the best of Gaithersburg then, so we kind of felt like we had a leg up on them on this course."
Blair sophomore Halsey Sinclair won the girls' individual 4A title in 19:52. The fastest girl at the meet, however, was Atholton sophomore Alison Smith. She won the 2A championship in 19:37, almost one minute faster than second-place Jana Schuhman of Friendly. Smith led from the start, running far ahead of the pack for much of the course.
Smith accomplished her goal of running the fastest girls' time despite cramping in the last mile.
"I'm sure it would be different running against those [4A and 3A] girls," Smith said.
Atholton sophomore Andrew Revelle completed the school's sweep of the 2A individual titles with a first-place time of 17:25.
River Hill's boys' team took the 3A crown after junior Sergiy Zubko overcame a slip in the mud to finish fourth overall and senior Nick Keane placed fifth.
"We've got a lot of seniors," Zubko said. "Those guys really wanted to win, and I guess they got that."