After having their best season in recent history by winning the county championship, the cross country team will need their upperclassmen to step up after losing four key seniors in their championship victory.
Colin Sybing, Cliff Tilley and Jacob Rushkoff, three of the top 10 finishers in last year’s county championship, have graduated and the team is looking to rebound this year. The squad lost another top 10 finisher in Grace Dellapa, who graduated as well. Senior Ben Shapiro, junior Mitchell Fanger and sophomore John Riker will need to lead the team this year if they want to be successful.
The coaches are Kelly Redmond, science teacher Jacob Buxton and tech teacher Matthew Davis. The boys’ captains this year are seniors Ben Shapiro, Omar Nuñez and Connor Lawrence, and the girls’ captains are seniors Gwen Klein, Katie Snyder and Juliet Carpenter.
So far this season, the team has had time trials and a two-mile scrimmage against Bethesda Chevy Chase. Sophomore John Riker has won both of these events with the fastest time (11:10.34 and 18:06) , and looks to be a consistent first-place finisher this season.On the girls’ side, four sophomore runners stand out: Erin Chelf, Adna Trakic, Jessica Trzeciak and Madeline Grainger.
“We have 15 [girls] who could make our top team,” Davis said.
Freshmen need to place high if the team wants to qualify for the state championships. “I believe that our team is very strong this year and we have freshman who have potential,” junior Jason Peng said.
“We may not place as high early in the season as we did last year but by the end of the season we could grow to be better than last season,” Davis said.
Riker is one of seven runners in the state of Maryland to get a spot on the all-Maryland preseason team. While the other six members on the team are juniors and seniors, Riker is the only sophomore. “The cross country team is as motivated as ever, everyone is working hard, and we can’t wait to repeat as county champs,” Junior Jason Eisen said.
The team had a Track and Trail Invitational on Sep. 10 and followed that up with a Landon home meet on Sep. 14, where they will face off against BCC again. Both meets were too late to be covered in this issue.