(Nov. 9, 2018) Stephen Decatur runners competed in the 3A East Region cross country meet last Thursday at Centennial High School in Ellicott City, and that was where their season ended as no athletes advanced to the state championship.

“Regionals went OK. Overall, I think we ran about average,” Decatur Coach Jody Stigler said. “It probably wasn’t our best race of the year … The competition and course was difficult, but we have grown accustomed to that over the past few years competing in that region.”

The Decatur girls’ team came in fifth place overall. Leading the Lady Seahawks was sophomore Mary Mergott. She crossed the finish line 17th overall (22:07.90).

Rounding out the top-five Decatur runners were senior Kailey Andrews (19th, 22:12.20), junior Mikayla Denault (28th, 23:03.90) and seniors Dori Krasner (30th, 23:33.34) and Erica Hicks (33rd, 23:58.38).

“I thought the girls started out just a little bit too slow and then they started catching people,” Stigler said. “If they would have started a little faster, they may have had a good chance to qualify.”

Decatur’s boys’ team finished eighth overall. Scoring points for the Seahawks were junior Sam Rakowski (39th, 19:02.04), senior Chad Fischer (41st, 19:10.37), freshman Tristan Dutton (45th, 19:24.83) and juniors Shamar Baines (48th, 19:42.04) and Austin Cheynet (49th, 19:46.04).

Stigler said he thought the season went well overall.

“There was definitely a big improvement for all runners between the start and the end of the season,” he said.

Decatur won several meets during the regular season. During the 16-school Bayside Conference championship, the Decatur girls’ squad finished third overall and the boys’ team placed fourth.

Runners who finished in the top 15 in each race earned All-Conference honors. Krasner, Rakowski, Mergott and Andrews took home awards.

Only a handful of athletes will be graduating, so Stigler thinks the program will be strong next year.

“Our boys team is pretty young and we are only graduating one of our top-eight runners. If the boys work hard between now and next fall, I think they could potentially have a pretty strong team next year,” Stigler said. “The girls will graduate three of the top-seven runners, so they will have more and larger shoes to fill. We do still have some pieces, but I think they will have some question marks going into next year and how well we will do will be determined by how hard we work this offseason, and get some new runners up to speed.”

Stigler expects a fair amount of cross country athletes to participate in indoor track this winter, which kicks off Nov. 15.

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