By Paul McMullen
STEVENSON – Two autumns ago, Emily Craig spent her freshman year of high school in Florida and the cross country team at Maryvale Preparatory School competed in the B Conference of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland.
The two ruled the IAAM roost at Stevenson University Oct. 27, when Craig bolted to the lead at the start and built a 41-second cushion that paced Maryvale Prep’s first IAAM and A Conference championships in the sport.
Crowds cheer as Maryvale Prep junior Emily Craig crosses the finish line to earn first place at the IAAM Cross Country Varsity Championships Oct. 27. (Karen Osborne/Special to The Review)
The individual runner-up a year ago, Craig covered the 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 55.6 seconds. Teammate Isabel Pineo was 12th in the 24-school field, followed by Kendall Gray (14th), freshman Abby Gonzalez (19th) and sophomore Kaylie Homberg (21st).
The Lions’ depth paid off in the form of sophomore Julia Piet (30th) and Lily Rothman (39th), as the former displaced scoring runners from rival teams.
“All seven girls ran phenomenal,” said Maryvale Prep coach Jason Miller, a graduate of Calvert Hall. “At the midway point, we were behind De Sales, but our girls ran the last mile really well.”
Maryvale Preparatory School runner Abby Gonzalez crosses the finish line at the IAAM Cross Country Varsity Championships Oct. 27. (Karen Osborne/Special to The Review)
Maryvale Prep finished with 67 points in the overall scoring, followed by Mount de Sales with 75 and Notre Dame Preparatory with 76. The NDP Blazers had gone unbeaten in the A Conference dual meet schedule, narrowly holding off the Lions.
In 2013, Maryale Prep won the B Conference and Craig attended school in Florida. She returned to Maryvale Prep for her sophomore year, and displayed the form that had made her an age-group running phenom and highly competitive butterfly swimmer.
In addition to finishing second in the 2014 IAAM cross country championships, she was the IAAM indoor champion in the 3,200 meters.
“I like being up front,” said Craig, a parishioner of Sacred Heart in Glyndon who attended its parish school from kindergarten through grade 5.
Earlier this season, Craig won the Spiked Shoe Invitational on the Stevenson course; claimed the Gettysburg and Gunpowder Invitationals; and was third in the Bull Run at Hereford High, where Maryvale Prep was bested by Mount de Sales for the small schools’ title.
Mount de Sales freshman Samantha Facius finished third overall in the IAAMs, four seconds ahead of John Carroll junior Adria Pirozzi. Freshman Emily Wayson, sixth overall, led Notre Dame Prep. St. John’s Catholic Prep of Frederick finished second in the C Conference scoring.