For the first half of Saturday's Maryland 4A boys' cross-country championship race, Broadneck junior Matt Centrowitz got a little help from pace-setting senior teammate Matt Llano.
Llano led for 11/2 miles, then Centrowitz took control, biding his time before making a late surge to pass fellow All-Met Mikias Gelagle of Eleanor Roosevelt. For the second straight year, Centrowitz won the individual title and, with the help of Llano's fourth-place finish, led his team to a second straight state championship.
Centrowitz finished in 16 minutes 1 second, a tie for the second-fastest time ever on Hereford High's hilly and challenging three-mile course. Centrowitz was 15 seconds ahead of Gelagle, who has been one of the state's hottest runners this season.
"I didn't know how the race would turn out, I figured it would be close," Centrowitz said. "The most important thing was that I wanted to win, that was my goal today."
Broadneck, the Anne Arundel County champion, finished with 69 points to edge Montgomery County champion Sherwood, which had 72 points.
In the girls' race, Eleanor Roosevelt put on an impressive display of depth, winning with 64 points, the fewest by a 4A girls' winner since Quince Orchard had 55 in 2001. Dulaney was second with 93 points.
Roosevelt became the No. 1 team in the Southeast Region by the Nike Team Nationals, a season-ending team-championship race in Oregon. The top two teams in eight regions qualify for the Nike meet, and the Raiders will likely be among the qualifiers.
Raiders junior Marika Walker led for most of Saturday's race and pulled away for the victory in 19:19. Roosevelt freshman Teshika Rivers took second in 19:33.
Coach Desmond Dunham said that he was impressed with Walker's display of aggressiveness in taking the lead, something Walker said just came to her at the start.
"I didn't plan on it, I just felt good and wanted to run my own race," Walker said. "I felt confident today."
Broadneck ran without its head coach, Dana Dobbs, the 2002 All-Met Coach of the Year who was not with the team because of personal reasons, according to athletes on the team.
Even so, Centrowitz was superb again, winning the highly anticipated battle against Gelagle, who finished third in 4A last year and had been a dominating runner all season. Centrowitz's time Saturday was 47 seconds faster than the one he posted at the Bull Run Invitational at Hereford on Sept. 17.
It was Llano who set the pace early, though, leading until the first trip down "The Dip," the ravine sitting in the middle of the course. Gelagle led for most of the next mile, followed by Centrowitz. On the second time up the Dip, Centrowitz raced past Gelagle and led comfortably the rest of the way.
"I had a lot of different strategies, because I didn't know how the race was going to go," Centrowitz said. "That's my favorite part of this course, that hill, the second time around. [That] is mentally the toughest part of the course to go through. I like to take them out right there."