Girls’ and boys’ cross country teams have exciting end to season; continue their domination of region


Photo by Kellie Redmond

Senior Rebecca Vasconez, junior Victoria Ketzler, junior Troy Bailey, and senior Maya Gottesman celebrate placing in the top 25 for the 2022 4A West High School Cross Country State Championships on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The cross country regular season ended with a bang and was nothing short of busy. Lots of time was cut down from almost every runner, and the varsity girls remained undefeated. The season ended with six different events including the postseason action, so the coaches were all business heading into the final stretch. What made things even more exciting was the fact that both the varsity boys’ and girls’ teams had potential to win the state championship.

To start off, the team raced in their final divisional meet of the year against Blair and Sherwood on the Sherwood home course on Oct. 11. This course looked easy going and somewhat flat, but the long stretches full of patchy grass and rocky divots were a killer for runners. Sherwood doubled the Wootton boys’ score (63-32, lower points win), and Blair was not far behind at second with 33. The girls’ showed once again how dominant they can be when fully healthy. They more than halved second place Sherwood (20-43) and completely embarrassed Blair, who finished with 74 race points. The top five boys were junior Troy Bailey (18:32), senior Tyler Sauvajot (18:35), sophomore Edward Sun (18:38), sophomore David See (19:31), and sophomore Ellis Eppard (19:42). The top five girls were junior Victoria Ketzler (20:46), freshman Charlotte Chang (20:48), senior Maya Gottesman (20:50), senior Rebecca Vasconez (20:51), and sophomore Aanya Tiwari (21:46).

The team had their second two-mile time trial on Oct. 18, but it was only for the JV runners as a precaution to keep the varsity runners healthy for the postseason. What was amazing was that all the boys and girls who ran dropped a combined one hour and 14 minutes in race times. This trial also gave indoor track hopefuls a chance to get some early racing experience ahead of their season in December. A notable time was freshman Kal Yewslew (who ended up making varsity), who ran an 11:38 and was among the only four who ran sub-12 minute races. For the girls, the top five spread was 12 seconds (Cayla Schwartz 14:06, Anika Srinivasan 14:15, Ella White 14:17, Anjali Gallacher 14:17, and Molly Eisenman 14:18).

On Oct. 22, the County Championship was nothing short of amazing. The girls finished as county champions and the boys finished fifth. The varsity boys finished with 156 points behind Springbrook, who had 144. The finishing times were sophomore Edward Sun (17:16, 23rd place), junior Troy Bailey (17:19, 24th place), senior Tyler Sauvajot (17:22, 27th place), sophomore Rendon Yerman (17:33, 36th place), senior Grant Henneberger (17:40, 46th place), freshman Luke Gabreielle (18:06, 70th place), sophomore David See (19:08, 124th), and sophomore Ellis Eppard (19:14, 129th).

The varsity girls finished first with an amazingly low score of 53 points (lower is better) and totally smoked second place Whitman, who had a whopping 103, (almost double). The finishing times were freshman Charlotte Chang (19:17, sixth), senior Maya Gottesman (19:34, ninth), junior Victoria Ketzler (19:38, 10th), senior Rebecca Vasconez (19:59, 12th), junior Meilani Rodgers (20:35, 17th), sophomore Aanya Tiwari (20:47, 24th), senior Julianne Yao (22:35, 62nd), and sophomore Annie Sun (22:39, 64th). The standout performance went to Charlotte Chang because after she finished the race, she immediately collapsed, unable to move. She later described her underlying health issues that affect her running but despite this showed unbelievable effort.

The coaches brought back a tradition known as the red vs blue race on Oct. 27 for the postseason girls and boys only. The teams were split up evenly between the 24 runners but some minor adjustments were made due to injuries to a few participants. The race was held on track and was held in a two-mile time trial format. For the boys, sophomore Edward Sun (10:29), senior Grant Henneberger (10:41), freshman Kal Yewselw (11:15), junior Nick Wang (11:32), and junior Kurtus Hsu (11:51) raced for team blue. Junior Troy Bailey (10:30), sophomore Rendon Yerman (10:41:05), freshman Luke Gabrielle (10:58), sophomore Ellis Eppard (11:27), sophomore David See (11:41), and junior Jeffery Liu (11:52) raced for team red. For the girls, junior Victoria Ketzler (11:26), Rebecca Vasconez (12:00), sophomore Aanya Tiwari (12:30), senior Leila Castro (14:17), and senior Ella White (14:21) raced for team red. Senior Maya Gottesman (11:35), sophomore Annie Sun (12:51), senior Julianne Yao (13:14), and sophomore Cayla Schwartz (14:19) raced for team blue. The blue team went on to win.

Finally, incredible performances at the Regional and State Championships followed. The girls finished third in the state and the boys finished fourth. Both the boys and girls overachieved. The boys were projected to finish 10th and the girls sixth. The regional meet was moved to its old location of the past (Watkins Mill) due to its temporary location being renovated. The course included lots of hills through the woods and even a sidewalk path near public roads. The seven girls placed first overall by a wide margin (41-87) and their finishing times were Charlotte Chang (20:38), Maya Gottesman (20:39), Victoria Ketzler (20:50), Rebecca Vasconez (21:20), Meilani Rodgers (21:46), Aanya Tiwari (22:26), and Annie Sun (23:16). The seven boys placed third behind Whitman and Churchill and their finishing times were Edward Sun (18:09), Troy Bailey (18:30), Grant Henneberger (18:31), Tyler Sauvajot (18:32), Rendon Yerman (18:48), Luke Gabrielle (19:07), and Kal Yewslew (19:56).

The state meet was located at Hereford High School as usual, same as the Bull Run course, and included open fields, twists, and some wooded areas to round out the three miles. The girls placed third behind Walter Johnson and Severna Park. Their race times were Victoria Ketzler (20:22), Maya Gottesman (20:29), Meilani Rodgers (22:04), Aanya Tiwari (22:34), Annie Sun (23:11), and Charlotte Chang (DNF, did not finish due to health complications). For the boys, they placed fourth behind Whitman, Churchill, and Severna Park and their race times were Troy Bailey (17:46), Rendon Yerman (18:05), Edward Sun (18:13), Grant Henneberger (18:15), Tyler Sauvajot (18:25), Luke Gabrielle (18:35), and Ellis Eppard (19:55).

Post race, head coach Kellie Redmond gave a heartfelt speech to the team recapping the season and was almost moved to tears. “This is a season worth celebrating and us as coaches were so glad to see so many people not in the postseason come to support the team,” Redmond said.