The team, comprised of rookie and veteran runners alike, enters Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg on Oct. 27. It’s the county championships and this school’s highly acclaimed cross country team is looking to win big. However, the competition is fierce with 21 other local high schools all vying for a victory. They aren’t phased; they know they’re the best one out of the group. Besides, none of the other teams have released anything comparable to the Wootton XC original, hit songs in “Roundtown” and “Oh We Rollin,” found exclusively on YouTube.
Prior to the event, members of the cross country team experienced the all-too-familiar nerves that come with almost every competition they participate in. This school’s XC team has competed in six meets before counties and felt the euphoria of success in races against Richard Montgomery, Walt Whitman and Bethesda-Chevy Chase, asserting themselves as one of the top running units in the county. However, unlike these less significant meets, the county championships is a highly anticipated race as every high school in the county is ready to do battle on the course to see who will come out with the win. It’s clear that counties is a particularly stressful event but runners at this school had high hopes for their races. “The girls [team] expected to win but we won’t know until we actually race,” senior Maddie Grainger said.
Others, including the well-known XC unit known as “The Bum Squad,” have directed their fears for the event toward uncontrollable factors. “I’m not as excited for the cold, freezing weather but I think we will persevere,” senior and Bum Squad member Nick Gracyalny said.
In an unfortunate turn of events, the cross country team did not perform in alignment with their quality. Schools like Northwood and Churchill pulled shock wins with their higher placement over Wootton, and Whitman enacted their revenge for their embarrassing home loss against this school, taking first place in the girls 5,000 meters A race. Still, the team placed in the top three in every event, placing third in the girls 5,000 meters A race, second in the boys 5,000 meters A and B races and being granted a dub in the girls 5,000 meters B race. Their dream of first place domination did not come to fruition.
Despite these results, the team is not phased by the losses and are content with the effort they put in. “I think we did wonderful and I’m really proud of my entire team,” senior Tai Metzger said.
The team has collectively opted to focus on upcoming races like the Maryland State Championship on Nov. 10 and the Under Armour Maryland Meet of Champions on Nov 17. “We have more races this season and my team and I are looking forward to those competitions,” senior Dimagi Kottage said. “Our effort at counties was strong and we’re going to keep it up the rest of the season.”