Thursday, Nov. 22, 2007

All-county cross country: Runners make their marks

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Bryan Haynes⁄The Bowie Star
Coach of the Year

Tracee Gilchrist, Charles H. Flowers: In her first season as head coach of the Jaguars and second with the program, Gilchrist said at the beginning of the season that she had high expectations despite not having any returning runners on the girls’ team. Gilchrist guided an all-sophomore girls’ team of first-time runners to a second-place finish in the 4A South Region and a berth in the state championship meet. Two Flowers boys also made the state meet under Gilchrist’s leadership.

Boys’ First Team

Robert Patterson, junior, DeMatha: Patterson was the Stags’ top finisher for most of the season. He led the Stags to a fourth-place finish against a competitive field at the Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C. He finished second at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships after winning the individual title last season. Patterson will lead what should be another strong Stags’ team next season.

Daniel Edmunds, senior, Eleanor Roosevelt: With senior teammate Jeremy Bowers missing the entire season due to injury, Edmunds emerged as the team’s best runner. Edmunds took home both the county and 4A South Region titles, setting personal bests in each meet. With the team needing a leader, Edmunds assumed that role.

Brian Faherty, junior, Eleanor Roosevelt: Faherty has set the foundation for himself to become the Raiders’ leader next season. Many hard workouts during the summer helped make Faherty the county’s second-best public school runner behind teammate Daniel Edmunds. Faherty took second in both the county and 4A South Region meets.

Sebastien Narcisse, sophomore, Laurel: Narcisse was the best of a solid group of underclassmen in the county public ranks this season. Seemingly coming from nowhere, Narcisse took eighth in the county meet and followed that performance with a third-place showing at the 4A South Region meet, knocking 51 seconds off of his time in the process.

Peter Gentles, senior, High Point: It seemed that Gentles was always lurking near the top of the meet results throughout the fall. He set a personal record this season at the Fort Washington Park course, running under 18 minutes at the county meet. Gentles then followed with a fourth-place finish at the 4A South Region meet.

Girls’ First Team

Teshika Rivers, junior, Eleanor Roosevelt: Rivers will return next season as the runner to beat, not only in the county, but in the state as well. She had a phenomenal 4A state championship meet, coming from behind near the end of the course to win the title in a time of 19 minutes, 15 seconds, good enough for seventh all-time on the fierce Bull Run course at Hereford High School. Next season, Rivers will try to make it four consecutive years that a Raiders’ runner has won the state meet.

Amirah Johnson, freshman, Eleanor Roosevelt: Johnson’s emergence should prime the Raiders for a shot at reclaiming the state Class 4A team championship next season. While her more experienced teammates rested at the 4A South Region championship, Johnson ran a personal best 20 minutes, 14 seconds at Fort Washington Park to win the race.

Anika Stark, junior, Bowie: Bulldogs’ coach Rich Andrulonis lost a number of his top girls’ runners from last season and was just ‘‘hoping that [Stark] could challenge some of the Roosevelt runners.” Stark rose to the occasion and set the stage for a breakout season next year. Stark notched a second-place finish at the 4A South meet to go along with a fourth-place finish at the county championship.

Asia Lewis, sophomore, Charles H. Flowers: The Jaguars’ girls experienced a resurgence this season as the team qualified for the state meet after missing it in 2006. Lewis had an excellent performance in the team’s biggest meet of the season as she finished fourth at the 4A South Region meet. Lewis was her team’s top finisher at the county meet with an eighth-place finish.

Deseree’ King, sophomore, Oxon Hill: King put the Clippers’ girls on her back this season and led the team to qualifying for the state championships. King produced when it counted as her third-place finish at the 4A South Region meet helped the Clippers beat out Parkdale for the final team berth in the state meet. King finished seventh at the county meet.

Runners of the year

Corey Puffett

All season long, Puffett finished just a few steps behind his teammate Robert Patterson, but as the season wore on he closed the gap. Puffett eventually rose to the top, finishing the season with a victory in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship meet. Puffett endured a tough course at Lake Fairfax in Reston, Va., which featured construction, foot-high mud and a pond. Puffett has not only risen to the top of the WCAC, but is also among the best in the state. He finished second in the Maryland Private Schools championship.

Dominique Lockhart

After missing the state meet last season, Lockhart returned in her final season determined to make her mark. Lockhart was the soft-spoken leader of the Raiders’ pack, as she won the girls’ seeded-race at the Georgetown Prep Invitational, leading the Raiders to the team title in late October. Prior to that, Lockhart placed second at the Invitational in Titusville, Fla., leading the way for her team to win that meet as well. On top of another county championship, Lockhart finished fourth at the Maryland state meet.

Second team