B-CC Boys, Walter Johnson Girls Win Class 4A West Region Titles
Rohann Asfaw, Abigail Green are top individual finishers
The Bethesda-Chevy Chase boys' cross country team.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (B-CC) senior Alex Leipold was on the edge of the boys cross country team’s seven-person varsity lineup at the start of 2016. But in Thursday’s Class 4A West Region meet, he was the Barons’ fourth finisher and his 23rd-place result was vital to B-CC’s winning the title. Leipold dropped 6.7 seconds from his time in the Oct. 22 Montgomery County championship, where the Barons finished second to Northwest.
“This season he’s slowly climbed through the ranks on our team,” B-CC coach Chad Young said. “He’s started to pace himself better. He used to go out slow and now he goes out harder. He really helped us break up the Northwest pack.”
Led by juniors Adam Nakasaka, who finished second, and Josh Fry, ninth, B-CC edged second-place Richard Montgomery (RM), 87-88. RM was led by defending state runner-up Rohann Asfaw, who won his second straight region title.
The top seven teams Thursday qualified for the season-ending state championship Nov. 12 in Baltimore County. Northwest (108 points) took third place, followed by Winston Churchill (108), Thomas S. Wootton (128), Walt Whitman (167) and Albert Einstein (173).
Walter Johnson (WJ) junior Abigail Green won her third consecutive girls’ regional race Thursday and led the Wildcats to their fourth consecutive Class 4A West Region title, 42-98, over Wootton. Whitman (100), Montgomery Blair (112), Churchill (137), Northwest (138) and RM (140) rounded out the top seven.
Aside from being led by the county’s best runner and state title contender in Green, three-time defending state champion WJ is loaded. The Wildcats’ entire lineup placed among the top 51 finishers. And all five scorers crossed the line inside the top 17. Senior Katrione Kirsch took third, and juniors Janet Scott and Sadie Keller finished 10th and 11th.
On the boys’ side, Nakasaka and Fry provide reliable strength atop B-CC’s lineup and the tightening of their second pack of runners propelled the Barons, Young said. All five of their scorers finished in the top 35.The performance gave credence to the Barons’ preseason goal of contending for their first state title since 2007.
RM’s boys moved up from sixth place at the county meet thanks to three top 12 finishes. Freshman Garrett Suhr finished fifth and junior Joachim El-Masry 12th. Nathaniel Stuckey used a late surge to finish 31st.
“Without question, Nate was the hero of [Thursday’s] race,” RM coach Davy Rogers said. “He had a huge, breakout race, and finished about 30 places ahead of where I predicted him, and it made all the difference in the world. … I tell everyone on the team, Rohann is going to do his thing, he’s going to place high and we can count on those points being low. But Nos. 2 through 5, those are the guys who are scoring. It doesn’t matter if we go first, fifth and 12th if our next guys are 60th and 70th.”
Top 10 individual finishers:
Boys: 1. Rohann Asfaw (RM); 2. Adam Nakasaka (B-CC); 3. Joshua Engels (Whitman); 4. Aaron Bratt (Whitman); 5. Garrett Suhr (RM); 6. Simeon Mussie (Einstein); 7. Nicholas Karayianis (Churchill); 8. John Riker (Wootton); 9. Josh Fry (B-CC); 10. Vicente Rudolph (Churchill).
Girls: 1. Abigail Green (WJ); 2. Julia Reicin (Churchill); 3. Katrione Kirsch (WJ); 4. Morgan Casey (Blair); 5. Josephine Brane-Wright (Blair) 6. Jessica Trzeciak (Wootton); 7. Zoe Nuechterlein (B-CC); 8. Helena Lee (Northwest); 9. Sofia Zarate (Northwest); 10. Janet Scott (WJ).