Eleanor Roosevelt, the defending state 4A champion, was the only team from Maryland ranked in preseason regional rankings for the Nike Team Nationals, which are held in December. The Raiders are 10th in the Southeast Region, behind Virginia stalwarts Oakton, Brentsville and Lake Braddock. . . .
Roosevelt and C.M. Wright, the defending 4A and 3A champions, respectively, are both slated to attend the Brentsville Relays in Virginia this Saturday. The race is a relay-style race, and may be the nation's only high school cross-country race held under lights. . . .
The competition in Anne Arundel County might be among the area's best, with eight of the top 10 finishers at last year's county meet returning. Junior Tait Woodward won the county title and was Maryland 4A runner-up, while Arundel senior Marissa McPhail was the 4A East Region champion and county runner-up. Other top returners include Severna Park's Liya Kasimova and Jennine Strange. . . .
Kasimova and Strange highlight a bevy of strong one-two punches on teams across the area. Some of the best include Blair's Halsey and Ashlyn Sinclair, Wootton's Veronica Salcido and Michele Levy and Roosevelt's Dominique Lockhart and Jennifer Redman. . . .
Led by junior All-Met Alison Smith, Atholton may be the team to beat in Howard County, a year after the Raiders finished second. Junior Kate Caffrey returns after taking 15th at the 2A championships last year. The runner-up to Smith in Howard County, Wilde Lake junior Katie Williams, is back after taking 10th in 3A last fall.
-- Sean P. Flynn