It’s a simple equation, really. Talent + Experience = Dominance. Sacred Heart’s Maggie Maier always has had the talent. That’s been evident since she first donned a Spartans jersey as a freshman. Now, as a sophomore, she’s starting to feel the positive effects of all the racing miles under her feet and, at least for her competition, that’s a scary thought.
“I feel like having even one year behind me gives me that much more confidence,” Maier said. “Last year, going into meets, I never really knew what to expect. Now, I’m more used to it. I recognize girls and can be like ‘oh, I know she’s good. I’ll stay with her.’ Last year, I went in not knowing and being like ‘whatever, I’ll just run the best I can.’”
Usually, her best is more than good enough. Maier won the girls CHSAA league cross-country championship Wednesday, running the always-challenging 5-kilometer Sunken Meadow State Park course in 19 minutes, 30.24 seconds, a personal best, she said. It was Maier’s second consecutive league championship.
Maier got off to a quick start and, by the mile-and-a-half mark, she was all alone.
“I just wanted to go out at my own pace and focus on my race and not who was behind me,” Maier said. “I checked my watch at the mile and it was around 5:52. That was fast for me, but I felt good, so I just wanted to go as fast as I could.”
Kellenberg won its fourth consecutive league team championship, totaling 31 points. Maureen Lewin was second in 20:07.70 and Brianna Lausev was third in 20:24.05.
St. Anthony’s boys team returned to the top of the league mountain with a dominant victory. The Friars took four of the top five places and scored 22 points, more than doubling up the field.
Mason Gatewood led the way, careful to make sure that his teammates were following along down the final straightaway. Gatewood, who is among the top runners in the state, won in 16:57.95. Matthew Payamps was second in 16:58.34 and Brendan Dearie was third in 17:04.12.
“This was an important team race for us,” Gatewood said. “That was our goal going into it, we wanted to win [the team title]. Thats’s where our focus was throughout the race.”