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Harrell avoids all soggy obstacles to obtain goal

November 14, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

PARKTON, Md. -- There's nothing runners can do to avoid the hills at the Maryland State Cross Country Championships on Hereford's grueling 3-mile course.

There wasn't much they could do about all the mud on Saturday either.

"All the girls were moving all over the place, trying to avoid the mud," North Hagerstown senior Alison Harrell said. "It was like an obstacle course."

Harrell didn't let it prevent her from achieving her goal in the Class 2A girls race. She finished 14th in 22:03 -- the top time of the day by a Washington County girl and a medal-winning effort.

"I'm really happy with it," she said. "My goal today was to place in the top 15. I just barely made it."

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Harrell was in 15th place at both the 1- and 2-mile markers, and then held her own down the stretch.

"At the state meet, it's so hard to pass people in the woods because it's really tight," she said. "You just have to go out hard and try to stay there."

Sarah Zielinski took a different approach in the Class 1A girls race. The Boonsboro freshman was in 45th place at 1 mile, 22nd place at 2 miles and a county-best 13th at the finish. Her time was 23:04.

"Everybody starts out so fast because it's the last race, but I knew they would die off," Zielinski said. "Since it was the last race, I just wanted to give it all I had."

The county's other Class 1A medal winners (top-25 finishers) were all from Smithsburg. Lauren Johnson was 14th in 23:07, Stephanie Breen was 18th in 23:21 and Suzanne Reed was 25th in 23:41.

The Leopards finished second in the team standings with 102 points. Bohemia Manor took the top three overall places and five of the top nine to easily win the title with 22 points.

"Bohemia Manor was just unreal, even better than I expected," Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver said. "They brought their 'A' game and no one was going to be anywhere close.

"It was a fight for second today, and the girls probably ran their best race of the year. They did everything they had to do. We'll take it."

The North girls, the two-time reigning county champs, finished third in Class 2A. Century easily won with 39 points, while Bel Air held off North 91-107 for second.

It was the Hubs' best finish since Lindsay Zerance, their current coach, was a senior on the team in 2001. They were third that year also.

"We wanted to win today. Of course, everyone wants to win," Zerance said. "We went out there and gave it our all, and third place is great. It's such an accomplishment."

Amanda Martin also earned a medal for North, placing 23rd in 22:47, while Alexis Eichelberger was 26th (22:56), Christine Brugh was 28th (22:59) and Emily Simmons was 34th (23:19).

Maryland State Championships

at Hereford High School (3 miles)

Winners and Washington County finishers

Class 1A girls

Teams: 1. Bohemia Manor 22; 2. Smithsburg 102.

Runners: 1. Jennifer Cleary (BM) 20:46; 13. Sarah Zielinski (Boonsboro) 23:04; 14. Lauren Johnson (Sm) 23:07; 18. Stephanie Breen (Sm) 23:21; 25. Suzanne Reed (Sm) 23:41; 31. Lyndsie Delosier (Sm) 24:00; 32. Taylor Cline (Sm) 24:05; 36. Braden Grosh (Sm) 25:09; 39. Taylor Reid (Clear Spring) 25:18; 40. Abbie Bauer (Sm) 25:25.

Class 2A girls

Teams: 1. Century 39; 3. North Hagerstown 107.

Runners: 1. Maura Linde (Ce) 20:07; 14. Alison Harrell (NH) 22:03; 23. Amanda Martin (NH) 22:47; 26. Alexis Eichelberger (NH) 22:56; 28. Christine Brugh (NH) 22:59; 34. Emily Simmons (NH) 23:19; 73. Ashley Seiler (NH) 25:10; 81. Sarai Suarez (NH) 25:25.

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