Before the season started, the Wilde Lake boys' cross-country team could barely field a squad -- only one of its eight athletes had varsity experience. In the last three months, though, the Wildecats became a force and, on Saturday, emerged as Maryland 3A champions.
Led by senior Travis Boccher and junior J.P. Allera, who finished third and fourth, respectively, Wilde Lake won its first state championship in nine years with 82 points, ahead of Urbana's 104.
"Last night I told them this was a David and Goliath kind of thing, and we were definitely not Goliath," Coach Whitty Bass said. "At the beginning of the season I just didn't think there was any way we could do this. I thought maybe we can build toward next year."
In 3A girls, Anne Arundel County champion Severna Park won with 68 points to beat River Hill's 96. Severna Park, which last won a title in 1998, was led by sophomore Liya Kasimova, who finished sixth, and senior Jennine Strange (ninth), who paced a group that included four freshmen.
"We have a lot of freshmen on our team, but you can tell that they are experienced athletes, from swimming and other sports," Coach Ed Purpura said. "They are very poised."
North Carroll's Katie Hursey won the 3A girls' race in 19 minutes 12 seconds; River Hill's Katie Harman was second in 19:38. The 3A boys' race went to Linganore senior Kyle Ryan (16:36). Ryan passed Bethesda-Chevy Chase junior Christopher Bowie (16:45) in the last half-mile.
"I was just pacing with him, staying with him the whole time, waiting for my chance to come," Ryan said. "I didn't want to go out too fast."
In 2A, for the second straight year, Atholton juniors Andrew Revelle and Alison Smith swept the individual titles. Revelle won the boys' title in 16:45, ahead of freshman teammate Graham Bazell (17:10), and the Raiders took second overall.
Smith, a two-time All-Met, won the girls' title in 19:25, more than a minute ahead of second-place Allison Parris of Patuxent, who had beaten Smith in the regional race when Smith was sick.
"It means a lot to me because it's been such a rough season," Smith said. "It really feels good to end it on a good note."