C-SD’s Condon wins state championship

Submitted to The Dorchester Banner Lady Viking Sarah Condon is lifted on the shoulders of her father and coaches after winning the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s Cross Country Region 1A Championships on Saturday.

Submitted to The Dorchester Banner
Lady Viking Sarah Condon is lifted on the shoulders of her father and coaches after winning the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s Cross Country Region 1A Championships on Saturday.

HEREFORD – Some people can run, and that’s fine.

But Sarah Condon can race.

The Cambridge-South Dorchester High School junior is the 2018 Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s Cross Country Region 1A state champion, after her 20:52.82 finish on the grueling Hereford High School course. Sarah was about 9 seconds – pretty convincing, in this sport – ahead of second-place finisher Samantha Agostini from Boonsboro.

“Just an amazing day,” C-SD Head Coach Sean Reincke wrote in a post online. “Needless to say, I was a little emotional. Gotta love watching school history being made! Sarah Condon is the first women’s individual state cross country champion in school history.”

The girls’ team finished fourth overall, a significant achievement in a race with 15 teams and 112 athletes.

Tested at the ‘Dip’
No one was more surprised than Sarah herself. She expected to do well, but to win?

“I was going to be happy with the top 10,” she said on Sunday.

Not that she lacks confidence. On the contrary, Sarah is an experienced competitor, having attended cross country and track and field practices since she was a small child, with her mother Angie, who is one of C-SD’s coaches.

But it’s the real deal at States, and it takes place on a challenging – let’s just say it, painful – course. Hereford has its share of western shore hills, but it’s the dreaded “Dip” that puts runners to the test.

As if running three miles as fast as they can isn’t tough enough, the Dip is a long slope down and a steep climb back up, separating the men from the boys, and the women from the girls.

It takes guts to charge up that hill, and in this race, plenty of athletes empty theirs, the course is so punishing. So it takes courage, not only conditioning, to win a cross country race agains the best in the state, and Sarah’s test came halfway through. “Going up the Dip, the three girls who were running with me, passed me,” she said.

For many runners, that’s the end of it, it’s just too hard. But Sarah doesn’t just run, she keeps her head through the pain, and she races.

‘I can do this’
When she spotted one of the leaders walking a couple steps, she sensed weakness in her opponent, stepped on the gas, and passed her, thinking, “I can do this.”

Coaches Sean Reincke, Lois Narr, Angie Condon and John Shaw were watching as best they could, hurrying from one spot to another as they shouted instructions and encouragement. “We were prepared for Top 10,” Coach Condon said. “We didn’t realize until the last 400 yards” that Sarah could take the whole thing.

After leading most of the first mile, she had to fight it out the remaining distance. Then, within the final quarter mile, and in second place, Sarah dug deep and passed the last runner in her way, cruising over the finish line into the arms of a wildly celebrating Coach Reincke.

“I definitely couldn’t have done it without the coaches and team,” Sarah said. Remembering Coach Reincke, she added, “Without him cheering and screaming, I probably would have accepted second.”

Boonsboro High School won the team championship, with 44 points. The Lady Vikings were fourth, with 143. Other members of the team were Carrie Price, 18th; freshman Anna Hyde, 44th; Alison Ridgely, 50th; Alexandra Schwarz, 52nd; Samilia Bryden-Clarke, 60th; and Sarah Lewis, 85th.

The Lady Vikings won the state’s team title in 2013.

C-SD boys get sixth
On the boys’ side, the Vikings earned sixth place, with 189 points. Boonsboro won, with 49 points. There were 19 boys’ teams, with a total of 140 athletes racing.

Connor McCroy was the fastest C-SD man of the day, finishing 12th in 17:55.20. He was followed by teammates Bryce Jones, 30th; freshman John Condon, 40th; Sam Slacum, 52nd; Tristan Rubadue, 71st, Faizan Ahmed, 74th; and Zachary Ridgely, 81st.

North Dorchester High School did not qualify a boys’ or girls’ team, but Adam Ray made the cut at Regionals to compete as an individual. He finished 64th at the championship, in 20:02.62.

“Not too shabby for a freshman!” Eagles’ Head Coach Amanda Robinson wrote online. “Great ending to a great season.”

For complete results, visit www.md.milesplit.com.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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