At the start of the boys 2A race on Saturday, most eyes were on Elkton's Luke Arbuckle. The Cecil County runner has become one of the best runners in the state this season with his fast times and his ease in taking control of races. Glenelg's Robby Creese was in his first year of running cross country and while he has shown that he is more than capable of running with the leaders, most observers thought that Arbuckle would be the pacesetter.
As the gun went off, it was Creese who took the lead as they rounded the tree at the end of the long starting straightaway. Arbuckle sat on Creese's shoulder. As they came back out of the woods heading to the mile marker, Creese was still in the lead and Arbuckle had a grimace on his face.
By the time the runners had started down the dip for the first time, Creese had taken a commanding lead over the Elkton runner and the pack was gaining on Arbuckle.
As they came off the second dip, Creese was still in the lead, but beginning to show signs of struggling. Bel Air's Tyler Muse had moved up through the pack and gained significantly as the runners came up the hill towards the finish.
Creese had to kick the last 100 meters to hold off Muse in 17:30 - 17:32. Creese's teammate Austin Clark was third in 17:35.
Arbuckle faded to 19th place and was not able to talk after the race.
His coach Jeff Roberts said later, "He just had one of those bad days. We all have them, this one was just not at a good time."
Winters Mill, who came in as one of the co-favorites for the team title, held off Glenelg by a 68-90 score with Eric Tringali and Tom Carpenter in fifth and seventh place.
Maura Linde of Century who is usually the front runner from the early gun, decided to sit back and let the rest of the pack lead for a change.
"With the mud and the conditions, I just wanted to take it easy", said Linde. "I wanted to wait until we got through the dip the first time, until I started to move."
And move she did - Linde opened up a large gap on second place Gloria Roberts of Douglass-PG through the soccer field and the maze and exited the second dip with a substantial lead.
Linde won by 40 seconds over Roberts in 20:07 and by more than a minute over third place Samantha McElroy of Liberty. Fourth place went to surprising freshman Samantha Bingaman of South Carroll.
Century won the team title by a wide margin over Bel Air 39-91 and had Kristen McGovern (6th, 21:27), Allie Dearie (8th, 21:38), Rachel Larkin (13th, 21:59) and Katie Todd (15th, 22:10) rounding out the scoring.
Linde gave a lot of credit to her coach Kristen Hadden.
"She is just so much fun", said Linde. "She knows how to inspire us and makes the workouts challenging and exciting."
Hadden has always been one of the most animated coaches on the field, yelling and screaming for each one of her runners with the same amount of excitement.
Bel Air was led by Caitie Ellenby and Amanda English in 10th and 11th place. Hannah Stambaugh who was returning from a stress fracture finished 22nd in 22:45.