Like in Virginia, youth dominated in Maryland, where 10 of the top 15 boys and 12 of the top 15 girls at the Montgomery County Championships were underclassmen.
Aaron Bratt, Sophomore, Walt Whitman
John Riker, Sophomore, T.S. Wootton
A pair of sophomores that both wound up in the top five among their class at the state 4A meet, Whitman’s Aaron Bratt matched strides with Wootton’s John Riker at the DCXC Invitational and separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the third mile, with Bratt getting a narrow lean over Riker. Riker got a larger edge, four seconds, at the Montgomery County Championships, before Bratt, along with teammate Josh Engels, put some distance on Riker at the 4A West regional. Though Riker had the edge at the state meet at 11th to Bratt’s 26th with a 13-second margin between the two, the 17 seconds Bratt finished ahead of Riker was worth 48 places, 77th to 125th, at the Nike Cross Southeast meet. If all of that is confusing, suffice it to say they’ll be in for two more years great races between the two, who are the fastest in their class in Montgomery County.
Nandini Satsangi, sophomore, Poolesville
After a second place finish at the state 3A meet in 2015, Nandini Satsangi maintained a strong sophomore season, with repeat second place finish in her class race at the DCXC Invitational and a third place finish at the Montgomery County Championships. Though she slipped to eighth at the state meet, she rebounded with a 29th place finish at the Foot Locker Northeast meet.
Joshua Engels, junior, Walt Whitman
Josh Engels finished 12th at the state 4A meet after finishing 10th at the Montgomery County Championships.
Yasmine Kass, junior, Paint Branch
With a runner-up finish at the Montgomery County Championships, Yasmine Kass matched her former teammate Bethlehem Taye’s spot a year before. She won the 4A North regional and finished ninth at the state meet before going 27th at Nike Cross Southeast.
Andrew Lent, senior, Poolesville
Along with junior Ryan Lockett, senior Andrew Lent gave Poolesville a strong top two that drove them to a fourth place finish at the state 3A meet, which was also Lent’s individual finish position. He was Maryland’s second finisher at the Foot Locker Northeast regional, finishing 28th.
Heather Delaplaine, junior, Damascus
Heather Delaplaine’s junior season was an exercise in consistency, with sixth place finishes in both the Montgomery County Championships at state 3A meet.
Simeon Mussie, junior, Albert Einstein
Simeon Mussie added depth to the Montgomery County junior class, finishing fourth at the county meet and eighth at the state 4A meet.
Morgan Casey, junior, Montgomery Blair
Josephine Brane-Wright, junior, Montgomery Blair
The Montgomery Blair pair of Morgan Casey and Josephine Brane-Wright powered the Blazers to an eighth place finish in the 4A state meet, along with a fourth place finish at the Montgomery County Championships. Casey finished just ahead of Brane-Wright in 14th.
Adam Nakasaka, Junior, Bethesda-Chevy Chase
Adam Nakasaka wasn’t thinking about waiting for anyone’s turn as he gunned for Rohann Asfaw in basically every race. Though he faded down the stretch at the county championships and saw Ryan Lockett pass him for second, his courage paid off at the 4A state meet, which he finished second with a lead of a little over one-third of a second ahead of third place.
Katrione Kirsch, senior, Walter Johnson
For four years, Walter Johnson’s girls have been winning state cross country championships, and Katrione Kirsch has been around for all of them. This year, she finished second in the senior race at the DCXC Invitational, eighth at the Montgomery County Championships and then seventh at the state meet.
Jason Scott, senior, Wheaton
Jason Scott’s highlight came with an eighth place finish at the Montgomery County Championships, a few weeks before he took third at the 3A South regional on his way to a 14th place finish at the state meet.
Jessica Trzeciak, sophomore, T.S. Wootton
T.S. Wootton’s second place finish at the state meet followed Jessica Trzeciak’s sixth place overall finish, in which she cleared all but two of the 11 people who had beaten her at the Montgomery County Championships. She had finished sixth in the sophomore race at the DCXC Invitational.