Using my cross country crystal ball, I’ve predicted what will happen in Montgomery County in the months to come during cross country season. The following selections were on my 2017 Montgomery County cross country predictions on Mocorunning.com. This projection covers my picks for top twenty individual boys and top ten boys’ teams and is a projection of the county championship meet in October at Bohrer Park. To see the results of Mocorunning’s fan poll, here’s the article. Go Wootton Patriots!!!
1) Ryan Lockett (Sr), Poolesville
Lockett followed a strong junior XC season with an otherworldly track season that included two county titles (1600 and 3200).
2) Adam Nakasaka (Sr), Bethesda Chevy-Chase
The favorite to win this year’s 4A title, Nakasaka will stay with Lockett until end.
3) John Riker (Jr), Thomas S. Wootton
“Don’t believe me, just watch.” -Bruno Mars
4) Simeon Mussie (Sr), Albert Einstein
Consistent placer at counties and states and had strong track season.
5) Aaron Bratt (Jr), Walt Whitman
6) Josh Engels (Sr), Walt Whitman
Bratt and Engels finish as the top duo in the county by going 6-7.
7) Obsaa Feda (Jr), Northwood
Feda leads a dangerous Northwood squad that could place in top five.
8) Josh Fry (Sr), B-CC
Fry will be the second guy in for the county favorites, the Barons.
9) Garrett Suhr (So), Richard Montgomery
Coming back from injury will be an uphill battle, but if healthy Suhr is poised for improvement.
10) Joachim El-Masry (Sr), Richard Montgomery
The second Rocket in the top ten, El-Masry finishes career with three straight top ten finishes.
11) Mark Unger (Jr), Richard Montgomery
Will fill Rohann’s shoes with near top-ten finish in first cross country season.
12) Eldad Mulugeta (Jr), Northwood
Mulugeta is a sleeper candidate to finish in top ten in first full cross country season.
13) Chase Osborne (Sr), Northwest
The Jags will take a step back in the standings after last year’s title, but Osborne will finish top 15.
14) Peter Antonetti (Sr), Gaithersburg
On his home course, Antonetti secures his first top-15 finish.
15) Chris Thoms (Sr), Quince Orchard
Coming off a fourth place finish in the 3200 at states, Thoms has the highest ceiling of any runner in the teens.
16) Nick Karayianis (So), Winston Churchill
Karayianis enters his sophomore season as the leader of a new-look Churchill squad.
17) Joe Pohoryles (Jr), Thomas S. Wootton
“Poho” enjoys a breakout season and emerges as one of county’s elite juniors.
18) Zachary Worthman (Jr), Clarksburg
Worthman, the runner up in the spring’s Devil Run, takes the his first top twenty spot.
19) Moti Heda (Sr), Springbrook
Heda builds off last year’s top twenty finish with another strong effort in his senior year
20) Mitchell Fanger (Jr), Thomas S. Wootton
Fanger gives Wootton a 1-2-3 punch in the top twenty with a strong senior race.
1) Thomas S. Wootton Patriots
Wootton took a step back after a county championship in 2015, but should be a strong contender. No team in the county has more depth, and their junior class is second to none.
2) Bethesda Chevy-Chase Barons
B-CC will boast one of the best senior duos in the state in Nakasaka and Fry and the team, one of the most consistent in the state, enters the season as the favorite to win the county.
3) Richard Montgomery Rockets
The Rockets are certainly the team to watch in the county. They have a trio of stellar athletes who could all place in the top five, but injury concerns and depth issues could keep RM from fulfilling their potential.
4) Northwood Gladiators
My boldest prediction is a fourth place finish from the Gladiators, a fourteen place bump from last year’s finish. They’ll ride a talented junior class and underrated underclassmen.
5) Walt Whitman Vikings
The Vikes pack a strong 1-2 punch in Bratt-Engels, but they’ll need to develop depth to crack the top five.
6) Einstein Titans
Einstein follows up last year’s surprising fourth place finish with a sixth place in 2017.
7) Northwest Jaguars
Last year’s county champs graduated most of their varsity but should still put up a strong showing in October.
8) Quince Orchard Cougars
They’re a safe bet to place in the top seven as one of the biggest running programs and will return key members of their varsity.
9) Winston Churchill Bulldogs
Churchill’s Big Three of Goldsmith, Halverson and Rudolph have graduated, so it will be up to sophomore Nick Karayianis to carry the team.
10) Paint Branch Panthers
The Panthers didn’t have a top-30 runner at last year’s county meet but had enough depth to place seventh. Most of those runners will return for this year’s team.