Peak performances are hard to reach — and maybe even more difficult to time.
“You have to walk right on the edge of that cliff without going over,” Williamsport cross country coach Randy Buchman said.
His boys stayed on their feet this fall, capping a fantastic season by placing second in Class 2A at the Maryland state championships last month — the best finish for a Williamsport boys team at states in 33 years.
Buchman, who had his share of disappointments at previous state meets, is The Herald-Mail’s 2011 Washington County Cross Country Coach of the Year.
“We finally got the result we thought we should get,” said Buchman, whose Wildcats achieved it in their first season as a Class 2A program. Previously they were in 1A.
“Class 2A is brutal,” he said. “It’s a whole new level of competition. If you put our times in against 1A, we would have run away with the title this year. We would have pretty much won any 1A meet over the years.”
The Williamsport boys were in a class by themselves in Washington County.
They won team titles at all three of the county’s invitationals — the Interstate Classic at Clear Spring, the Frank Keyser Invitational at Boonsboro and the Don Stoner Invitational at Smithsburg. Then they put on a show at the county championship meet, as Williamsport runners took seven of the top 10 places to convincingly win their fourth straight team title.
If it weren’t for Winters Mill, the Wildcats’ season might have been truly spectacular. Williamsport finished second to Winters Mill at four meets, including states, where the Falcons won their third straight 2A title.
“Winters Mill just had a really great team,” Buchman said. “We accomplished the most we could have. We can live with that.”
While they didn’t win any titles, his girls team, mostly comprised of sophomores and freshmen, showed promise for the future.
“They were much improved this year,” he said. “We’re making some good strides.”