IAAM 2018 Cross Country Season Preview
Cross Country is underway; Several teams look for championship caliber seasons
By: Louis Foudos
This season will look different for a lot of teams. Several schools have shifted conferences, and for the first time in four years, the championship meet returns to Oregon Ridge. While it’s a slightly amended course from years past, no current runner has raced there. Nor will any team race there this season. The course is much different than Stevenson, so teams are seeking invitationals that mimic that course. With the changing of conferences, many teams look to be more competitive in their division.
The past few years in the A conference have seen several close affairs. Last year, Spalding won the championship by just four points. Two years ago, Maryvale won by nine points while three teams were within thirteen points. In 2015, Maryvale won by four points while three teams were within seven points of each other.
This season should be just as competitive as Maryvale, NDP, Mt de Sales, and new member Roland Park all look to have a good shot at this year’s championship. The dual meets should be very close this year, and invitationals like Bull Run will be a chance for teams to see where they stack up against each other.
Leading the Maryvale Lions are Rachel Thomas and Brittney Graff. They finished sixth and seventh at last year’s championship meet. Their leadership will be important as Maryvale will have a young crew after losing three seniors from their top seven last year.
Julia Merriman and Emily Wayson lead the way for NDP. They finished third and fifth, respectively, at last year’s championship meet. NDP tends to have a large cross country squad, which typically translates to depth.
Sam Facuis, last year’s league champion, leads the way for Mount de Sales. The Sailors lose three runners from their top seven last year, but they are sure to have a quality team after winning last year’s outdoor track title.
Roland Park is moving up to the A conference this year, but they are as good as any team in the A conference. They won the past two B conference titles by nearly forty points both times. Alayna Gibson, Elizabeth Currie, and Hannah Rhea have been a part of both of those championship teams, and they look to guide the Reds throughout the season.
The conference should be wide open this year. Roland Park has moved up to the A Conference while John Carroll, Glenelg, and Catholic join the B Conference.
Annapolis Area Christian School, which finished second overall in the conference last season, returns six of their top seven runners, with Kelly-Anne Bickhart leading the way.
Glenelg won the C conference last year. With Lexie Hardesty as their top runner, they bring back six of their top seven from last year. Glenelg also won last year’s B conference outdoor track and field and championship.
Catholic finished second in the C conference last year behind Glenelg. Their leaders are Abby Baummer and Abbey Sullivan, who have both seen much success in cross country and track. Catholic, however, only returns four of their top seven runners from last year’s team. Catholic also won the B conference indoor track and field championship last year.
St. Mary’s was third at last year’s championship, only six points behind Annapolis Area. They return five of their top seven runners.
With Glenelg and Catholic moving to the B Conference, the top team from last year’s championship meet is St. John’s. Grace Lowe is the top returner in the conference, and she is in position to lead her team to a conference title.
Oldfields joins the C conference this year. They have seen success recently in cross country. Morgan Gause is their top returner, and she hopes to lead the Dragons to a title.
Pallotti was second at last year’s championship; though they lose their top two runners, the Panthers hope to challenge for a title.
The dual meet season begins on September 25th for most schools, while many schools will attend several invites before that including Seahawk, Spiked Shoe, and Bull Run.