Intimidation. Trepidation. A lack of confidence.
Those could have been some of the things going through the minds of the members of Severna Park High girls cross country team heading into the Class 4A state championships on November 12.
After all, the Falcons faced Thomas Wootton High of Montgomery High, and had lost to the Patriots twice during the season.
It wasn’t just losses; Wootton dominated the Falcons, winning by more than 60 points both times.
“The girls were a pretty big underdog, and they just went in there and gave it a shot,” said Severna Park coach Josh Alcombright, whose girls team finished fourth last year and second in 2019. “We just tried to ignore the [outside] noise. We were fortunate enough to pull it out.”
The Falcons overcame the odds and won their first state title since 2018 on November 12 behind the performances of senior county champion Cameron Glebocki (ninth place, 20:07.43), freshman Kathryn Murphy (19th place, 21:20.22) and sophomore Rebecca Jimeno (20th place, 21:21.39).
Severna Park (100) finished ahead of Walter Johnson (117) and Hereford High in north Baltimore County (125) on the 3-mile hilly course at Hereford.
For the Severna Park boys team, it was business as usual – keeping a dynasty going as the Falcons captured their fifth straight championship.
They finished ahead of Winston Churchill (112) and Walt Whitman (113). Senior and regional champ Chris Nunn (fourth place, 17:06) and junior Taylor Jarvis (sixth place, 17:13.88) paced the Falcons.
Seniors Alex Lecouras (13th place, 17:35.77), Cody Smith (35th place, 18:05.56) and Sean Sullivan (76th, 19:00.56) and sophomores Caden Lazzor (44th, 18:24.09) and Leo Havens (67th, 18:47.72) also made up the remainder of the Severn Park team.
“Last year, our team knew they would win by 30 or 40 points,” Nunn said of a squad that had eight future Division I college runners. “Going into the season, we weren’t sure if we were going to win it. As the season went along, we were getting to be the favorite.”
The Severna Park boys have captured seven of the past nine championships, but this one might have been the most challenging yet.
“None of the boys that ran on Saturday ran in the state meet last year. The key thing on the guys side was keeping it together,” Alcombright said. “We had some adversity. A couple of weeks ago, we lost one of our top runners and we have been banged up with some injuries.”
Alcombright was especially impressed with the performance of Jarvis. He had never run cross country before the 2022 season.
“Taylor came up huge,” the coach said. “For him to come in sixth at the state meet was phenomenal. I have been head coach for 17 years and had never had a guy finish that high before that was a first-year runner.”
But the highlight of the day was the girls team. Juniors Madison Davis (25th, 21:32.05), Natalie Bowman (45th, 22:25.49) and Kaylee Jenish (46th, 22:27.30), and sophomore Sarah Kelly (27th, 21.38.13), also scored points to help Severna Park to the championship.
“They were really tough,” Alcombright said. “Some of the girls were struggling toward the end and just down. When you feel you can’t do it anymore for yourself, you do it for the other girls.”
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