Thursday, July 12, 2012

The 1999 & 2000 State Cross Country Championships

Out here in the fields
I fought for my meals
I get my back into my living
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven

Don't cry
Don't raise your eye
It's only teenage wasteland

Sally, take my hand
Travel south crossland
Put out the fire
And don't look past my shoulder

The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let's get together
Before we get much older

Teenage wasteland
It's only teenage wasteland

-The Who 

A friend of mine, Kevin Graves, who ran for Good Counsel high school posted this 1999 photo above on my facebook page.  Can you find me? The picture is the 1999-All County Cross Country Team for Montgomery County.  As I looked at this, I immediately remembered what a great season it was.  It was my junior year, the year I needed to step up and fill in the big shoes of Chris Graber who had graduated and went on to run for Duke University.  Graber was a tremendous runner and was easily one of the top runners not only in Montgomery County, but in the State, as well as the Metro Area.  I remember during my sophomore year when he was 3rd place in Reston's Footsteps Invitational behind the dominant runner Alan Webb(who would go on to become one of the nation's top runners in cross country and break records on the track).  Meanwhile, during the same race, I was back in 60something place.  Yes I did have a lot of work to do.  The 1998 season was a series of ups and downs, with Chris Dwyer(#2 runner) not running as well as he had the previous year, and Graber in a league of his own.  I was floating around as the #3 guy, and tried my best to keep up, but I was not at that level yet.

The 1998 MD State Cross Country Championships:

Sophomore year.

This was my second state meet, and Graber's last.  My first year I had placed 61st as a freshman.  As a sophomore I was hoping for top 30.  Graber of course was shooting to win.  Dwyer was also hoping for a solid finish...
Graber put himself into 3rd place for most of the race-against the defending champ Jason Santucci, and the Whitman runners on his heels.  The state championship course was a tough one, and there was what was called "the dip," a mountainous climb up and down TWICE during the race(among other hills).  Graber was in 3rd place when suddenly he collapsed at the top of "the dip."  Chris unfortunately got dehydrated and thus ran until exhaustion, causing him to collapse right before the end.  He dropped about quarter of a mile from the finish.

Meanwhile, Dwyer was having a tough day, stomach cramps causing him to drop way back.  I remember passing him during the race and thinking "this is not a good sign."  I wasn't running that great either, though I still managed a top 50 finish, coming in 49th.  That put me as QO's number one runner.  As I crossed that finish line, I realized that I now had to take the reigns and get the team back on track for next year.  We would lose Dwyer, Graber, and a few others.  There would be a lot of work to do.  Heck, it wasn't even certain we would make states next year!  I told myself I would not allow it to happen.  I was the new leader of the QO Cross Country Team.  I also told myself that I would get myself into the top 15 at states.  I set the goal and kept my eyes on it.

The Dip


The summer of 99' I trained my ass off.  I ran up every hill I could find.  Luckily, I had a training partner: Chris Shank.  Perhaps I didn't realize it then, but he was the best thing for my running back then.  Chris was competitive-just like me(I'm sure you're realizing by now that there were lots of Chris' on our varsity team...I think we had as much as 5 on varsity one year....known as the QO Chris team....everyone cheered by our last names....except my nickname was "Puffer").  Chris Shank wanted that top spot.  So he too, trained hard.  We would stupidly race workouts.  I always needed to be ahead of him.  It was like Maverick vs Iceman....but we were on the same team.  We would argue a lot.  It was counterproductive at times.  But now I miss it.
 The season started off slowly for me and our team actually was looking pretty solid.  Chris beat me in our first race back at the Fort Detrick Invite.  He ended up 9th place and I was 10th.  After that, he never beat me again.  His determination to get back on top motivated me even more, and our team followed.  As the season progressed, we got better and better, and I became familiar with the other top runners in the county, climbing my way up.  I placed 13th in the county and 11th in the region, with our team placing high enough to earn a trip to the state championship.  But I still didn't have that breakthrough race I was waiting for.  Not yet anyway.  I wanted to make states a good race.

Teamwork:  Me shaking Matt Grunseth's hand after a dual meet with Whitman.  I had happily won the race on QO's home turf.  Matt was key competitor to our team and was our 6th varsity runner.

The 1999 MD State Cross Country Championships:

By the time states rolled around I had become a good runner, but I still had much to prove.  There was no better race to do it than states.  I started out in the top 30, but worked my way up during the race.  I remember passing runners left and right, while Sean Pelkey, my coach was going nuts telling me where I needed to be.  I battled it out with Whitman's Paul Tufaro below, knowing I needed to beat him to earn top 15. 

I barely edged out Tufaro, finishing 14th in the state and running the race of my life.  Our team placed 10th.

Cross Country
1999 State Championships
At Hereford High School
4A Results

    Name                    YR School                  Finals    
1   Hershberger, Marcus     11 Gaithersburg           16:28.94
2   O'Connell, Jesse        12 Westminster            16:33.17
3   Davis, Josh             12 Westminster            16:34.94
4   Hayes, Stephen          11 Winston Churchill      16:36.66
5   Marvel, Justin          11 Severna Park           16:38.77
6   Gaske, Mike             11 Wootton                16:46.04
7   Pool, Kevin             11 Westminster            16:47.24
8   Gilbert, Tristan        12 Westminster            16:49.74
9   Albertine, James        12 Walt Whitman           16:58.34
10  Seymour, Matt           12 Magruder               17:01.01
11  Pickett, David          11 Meade                  17:06.81
12  Sheff, Adam             12 Winston Churchill      17:08.04
13  Still, Jacob            12 C Milton Wright        17:09.40
14  Sloane, Christopher     11 Quince Orchard         17:15.41
15  Peterson, Mike          12 C Milton Wright        17:16.71
16  Tufaro, Paul            12 Walt Whitman           17:19.17
17  Mathrani, Vik           12 Winston Churchill      17:20.75
18  Rice, Alexis            11 Woodlawn               17:21.45
19  Thomas, David           12 Meade                  17:26.77
20  Hart, Andrew            12 Perry Hall             17:28.90
In 2000, my senior year, we placed 7th in the state as a team, and I placed 12th individually.  
Chris Shank placed 30th and had a solid race as well.

Chris Shank and I after 2000 Cross Country States.

Cross Country
2000 State Championships
At Hereford High School
4A Results

Boys 3 Mile Run CC
    Name                    Year  School                    Pace   Finals
  1 Hershberger, Marcus      12   Gaithersburg              5:28  16:26.02
  2 Bailey, Pat              10   C. Milton Wright          5:30  16:31.37
  3 Gaske, Mike              12   Wootton                   5:31  16:34.85
  4 Pool, Kevin              12   Westminster               5:31  16:36.66
  5 Duffy, Billy             11   Dulaney                   5:34  16:44.69
  6 Knox, Will               11   Dulaney                   5:38  16:54.00
  7 Rice, Alexis             12   Woodlawn                  5:39  16:57.28
  8 Anderson, Aaron          12   Gaithersburg              5:41  17:03.17
  9 Reuwer, Aaron            12   Dulaney                   5:43  17:10.06
 10 Ali, Maksudul            11   Gaithersburg              5:43  17:10.35
 11 Weller, Stephen          12   Broadneck                 5:44  17:12.31
 12 Sloane, Christopher      12   Quince Orchard            5:44  17:13.85
 13 Blass, Jeff              12   Arundel                   5:45  17:15.04
 14 Koehler, Scott           11   Broadneck                 5:45  17:15.54
 15 Sobeck, Kyle             11   Walt Whitman              5:46  17:21.35
 16 Strawbridge, Shawn       12   Severna Park              5:47  17:23.02
 17 Slowikowski, Jesse       10   C. Milton Wright          5:48  17:25.06
 18 Bernstein, Daniel        12   Walt Whitman              5:48  17:26.82
 19 Hayes, Stephen           12   Winston Churchill         5:49  17:29.07
 20 Koj, Hubert              12   Watkins Mill              5:49  17:30.60
 21 Ramdial, Peter           10   Bowie                     5:50  17:31.73
 22 Smith, Aaron             11   C. Milton Wright          5:50  17:32.23
 23 Coughlin, Ryan           11   Severna Park              5:50  17:33.35
 24 Serio, Phil              11   Westminster               5:50  17:33.53
 25 Schmidt, Craig           12   Broadneck                 5:53  17:40.01
 26 Adams, Daniel            12   Magruder                  5:53  17:41.90
 27 Rafoth, Jason            12   Arundel                   5:54  17:43.24
 28 Pauley, Eric             10   Gaithersburg              5:54  17:43.66
 29 Sparkman, Jason          12   Broadneck                 5:55  17:47.06
 30 Shank, Christopher       12   Quince Orchard            5:56  17:49.19


  1. Yay for retro posts! I sure was sad I never made it top 15 at state. I think I got 17th senior year. Are you going to do a next installment for senior year?

  2. Very cool Chris, this is Adam Banig. Not sure if you remember me but, I was a senior when you were a freshman and we usually finished around each other in races.