Looking purely at the names and their places on the results sheet, this year's Montgomery County Cross Country Championships went a lot like last year's. Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School's Nora McUmber took home the county title on the girls' side and Poolesville's Chase Weaverling won the boys' crown.
In reality, what last year were races that came down to the last second were literal runaways this year as McUmber and Weaverling defended their titles in grand fashion on an overcast Saturday morning at Bohrer Park next to Gaithersburg High.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase captured both the girls' and boys' team titles as well — the girls' side winning for the third straight year and by posting an impressive team score of 48 points. All five of B-CC's scored runners (McUmber, Abby Fry, Helen Webster, Kat McNeill and Abigail Levine) finished in the top 16.
“The girls stuck to their own personal strategies and it worked out really well today,” said Barons coach Chad Young. “It's a lot of fun. When we've won a couple times, we've realized that a lot of teams are hoping they can take us down. It's a little bit stressful to be in that position, but I think these girls handle it so well. They're very poised and they don't panic.”
In 2012's meet, McUmber beat her teammate, Caroline Beakes, for the first time by a little less than seven seconds. And while Beakes didn't race on Saturday, she let McUmber know she was pulling for her.
“She pushed me over the edge and helped me know that I could do this because she wrote everyone these little yellow notes,” McUmber said. “Mine said, 'I'm with you there today.' I read it and I knew I needed to stop being nervous and think about the team.”
With thick-rimmed glasses and a shy laugh, McUmber is as unassuming as they come, but her performance on the course was anything but. The standout junior finished in 18 minutes, 9 seconds, a little more than 16 seconds faster than her 2012 time. She said she was extra nervous before the race because more than 10 of her family members were in attendance. They're in town to celebrate her grandmother Marcy's 75th birthday. The party started a bit early when McUmber crossed the finish line.
“I hate to be like one of those people who is like, 'Running is my life,' but now it really is,” McUmber said with a laugh.
For Weaverling, he came into the day hoping to eclipse the 15-minute mark or possibly break the county meet record of 15:06, but he said a slightly soft course slowed him down a bit. That is, if a time of 15:31 can be considered slow.
“I just usually try to run my own race, hit my splits and run against the clock,” Weaverling said. “It's lonely sometimes, but I've gotten used to it.”
Last year, the Poolesville senior finished a mere 34 milliseconds in front of Clarksburg's Will Bertrand. Saturday he won by 28 seconds.
“Last year there was a lot of pressure. It was me and Bertrand and we were that close. I was nervous as anything last year,” said Weaverling, who now has his sights set on a regional and state title. “This year there was pressure also. I've been wanting to break 15 [minutes] all season.”
Initially, it appeared that Walt Whitman won the boys' team title thanks to top-10 performances by Evan Woods and Alex Roederer, but a scoring error didn't count B-CC senior Peter Horton's 19th-place finish, which put the Barons at 109 points, 26 ahead of the Vikings. Alex Riishojgaard placed fourth to lead all Barons boys' runners on the day.
“We've had a good pack all year long. I kept telling the kids, even though we lost dual meets I always felt like we would come up big in bigger races,” said Whitman coach Steve Hays.
Clarksburg's Lucie Noall (18:55) finished second in the girls' race while Richard Montgomery's Sophie El Masry (19:11) placed third for the second straight year. On the boys' side, Thomas S. Wootton's Urgy Eado came in second (15:59) while Gaithersburg's Danniel Belay (16:00) secured third on his home course.
Girls' team results (top 10)
1. Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 48
2. Walter Johnson, 100
3. Poolesville, 126
4. Walt Whitman, 143
5. Thomas S. Wootton, 161
6. Albert Einstein, 177
7. Quince Orchard, 206
8. Winston Churchill, 216
9. Richard Montgomery, 232
10. Northwest, 254
Girls' individual results (top 10)
1. Nora McUmber (Bethesda-Chevy Chase), 18:09
2. Lucie Noall (Clarksburg), 18:55
3. Sophie El Masry (Richard Montgomery), 19:11
4. Regina Schreiber (Quince Orchard), 19:16
5. Claire Beautz (Poolesville), 19:18
6. Kiernan Keller (Walter Johnson), 19:21
7. Theresa Nardone (Poolesville), 19:24
8. Julia Reicin (Winston Churchill), 19:24
9. Abby Fry (Bethesda-Chevy Chase), 19:25
10. Helen Webster (Bethesda-Chevy Chase), 19:26
Boys' team results (top 10)
1. Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 109
2. Walt Whitman, 135
3. Richard Montgomery, 143
4. Thomas S. Wootton, 150
5. Quince Orchard, 185
6. Northwest, 208
7. Walter Johnson, 213
8. Clarksburg, 222
9. Poolesville, 234
10. Paint Branch, 240
Boys' individual results (top 10)
1. Chase Weaverling (Poolesville), 15:31
2. Urgy Eado (Thomas S Wootton), 15:59
3. Danniel Belay (Gaithersburg), 16:00
4. Alex Riishojgaard (Bethesda-Chevy Chase), 16:08
5. Evan Woods (Walt Whitman), 16:08
6. Diego Zarate (Northwest), 16:15
7. Daniel Kosogof (Walter Johnson), 16:17
8. Harold Dorsey (Paint Branch), 16:18
9. Alex Roederer (Walt Whitman), 16:26
10. William Kirk (Rockville), 16:30