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  • The Falcon boys won the program's fourth overall title and first since 2014.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    The Falcon boys won the program's fourth overall title and first since 2014.
  • Severna Park's girls were the runners-up to Walter Johnson in a very strong showing at the 4A state meet on November 11.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Severna Park's girls were the runners-up to Walter Johnson in a very strong showing at the 4A state meet on November 11. "We just wanted to be on that podium, and we did our best, and we did it all for each other," said Severna Park's Kamryn Eveleth.

Severna Park Boys Win Cross Country State Championship; Falcon Girls Place Second In Outstanding All-Around Day

Colin Murphy
View Bio
November 17, 2017

This article will appear with additional exclusive photos in the December issue of the Severna Park Voice.

It had been two full years since the Severna Park boys cross country team won a Maryland 4A title; the program won three consecutive state championships from 2012 to 2014 but fell narrowly to rival Dulaney High School in each of the last two seasons.

The 4A crown is back in the hands of the Falcons after the state championship meet on November 11, at which Severna Park placed five runners in the first 18 on the grueling course at Hereford High School to finish with a team score of 40 and an emphatic victory over runner-up Dulaney (77).

Severna Park’s Garrison Clark finished second overall in 15:57.73, while Jonah Lane (fifth), Samuel Martin (eighth), Nicholas Plummer (10th) and Sean Engelfried (18th) powered the Falcons to their title-winning score. Alexander Chaisson (29th) and Hugh O’Connor (30th) ran strong races in the field of 173 runners, showing the unrivaled depth the Falcons have employed to remarkable success this season.

“The plan was just to go out and race, to trust in our coaches’ training, and to do it together,” said Clark, who fronted the Falcons’ winning efforts. “I’m proud to be here, to be with my teammates, because without them I couldn’t be here.”

Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s Adam Nakasaka was the 4A individual winner in 15:50.63. Spencer Tate finished 12th as Broadneck’s top runner.

The boys’ title was complemented nicely by an outstanding race from the Severna Park girls, who rebounded from a disappointing performance at the county championships, in which they came in second to Broadneck, to place second overall at states a week after winning the 4A East region championship meet. The Falcons’ Kamryn Eveleth finished third overall in 18:57.30 behind Annapolis’ Anna Coffin, who was runner-up to race-winner Abigail Green of Walter Johnson (18:17.40), and the Falcons compiled a team score of 98 to finish second behind Walter Johnson and ahead of county rivals South River (fourth with 148) and Broadneck (fifth, 192). The Falcons’ Catie Cambon (10th), Kelsie O’Neill (23rd), Brenna Mullaney (33rd) and Cameron Zaniker (39th) contributed to Severna Park’s score, and Cara Vandemeulebroecke (41st) and Riley Leeds (108th) rounded out the Falcons’ excellent day in the 148-runner field.

Olivia Janke was Broadneck’s top finisher, taking ninth overall.

Eveleth said she was proud of how her team upped its performance after the disappointment at counties.

“I’m really proud of my team,” she said. “I know that we all worked really hard, and we wanted this win. It was a disappointment at counties, we lost by three points. We went out there for regions, tried our hardest and got it. Today, we just wanted to be on that podium, and we did our best, and we did it all for each other.”

Head coach Josh Alcombright, who coaches the teams with Elmer McPhail, Justin Marvel, Jane Herschelman and Brian Szydlik, said the teams achieved their goals.

“We were looking for both teams to be on the podium,” he said. “We were expecting the boys to win and the girls to be in a close battle for first, and that’s what happened, so I can’t complain.”

He noted the years-long rivalry with Dulaney has benefitted both schools as they have vied with each other for state crowns over the last six years. The teams took a photo together after receiving their plaques and medals as the top two 4A teams.

“[The rivalry] has been great for Maryland in general, and it’s kept us on our toes,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this day for 365 days, because I felt like last year, I didn’t do a great job as coach, and we gave one away. State championships aren’t easy to get. I was determined and the boys were determined to correct our mistakes from last year.”

Alcombright also noted the sizable fan representation at the state meet—Severna Park had by far the largest contingent of family members, friends and supporters at the state meet, occupying nearly a quarter of the gym for the awards ceremony—and said it’s indicative of just how much impact the program has on the people who come through it.

“The biggest thing I’m proud of is the amount of people that are here,” he said. “Parents, former athletes, people from the school. That makes me feel really good about the kind of program we’re building. It’s not just about winning and losing, it’s about building a family. Everybody’s a link in the chain.”

The boys reflected on the season-long quest to reclaim the state championship, saying the team had a vision in place and a plan to execute.  

 “Our coaches were saying, ‘Championships aren’t won in November,” said Lane, a senior. “We’ve been coming to practice every day since the summer, making sure we’re staying consistent, staying healthy and just being there for each other.”

Said Plummer, also a senior, “It’s just special to be able to do something like this. I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve been learning about the team and what it really takes, and I’ve learned a lot. Looking back on the four years, it’s just special.”

Engelfried, a senior, said the recipe for success came down to the team’s ethic.

“It’s just hard work,” he said. “Every day at practice, we show it. Everybody on the team works hard, and we’re one team. We wanted to get back to this, and that’s what happened…It’s great to do it with these guys. I’ve been running with these guys for three, four years, so it’s something special.”

Fellow senior O’Connor said the team redoubled its focus entering this season.

“This year we’ve just really been focusing on the little things, sleeping right and eating right, and we were really running as a team this year. We came together really well during the summer, and we really got a close group of guys,” he said.

“We’re so happy that we can be the team to bring it back to Severna Park.”

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