BRUNSWICK — Caroline Gregory set the bar high for herself in the spring when she made such a strong first impression on the local cross-country scene. Based on her performance just five months later at the Brunswick Invitational to open the fall season, the sophomore remains firmly on the path to establishing herself.

Gregory, a sophomore at Frederick High, bested a girls field of 134 on a sunny Saturday morning, finishing in 19 minutes, 47 seconds to beat runner-up Lauren Beatty of James Wood by 13 seconds.

The News-Post’s runner of the year last school year, Gregory got off to a strong start in a season that, unlike the shortened spring campaign, is scheduled to end with the traditional championship races on the county, regional and state levels.

“I had some pressure since I did so well last year, but I feel ready for the latter parts of the season,” said Gregory, who paced her team to a third-place finish in the overall standings of a meet that was also split into small-school and large-school results.

She led from the gun and handled the course’s challenging hills, pulling away for a stepping-stone victory.

“Mile 2 was the deciding factor in the race, whether I was going to go or stay with the pack,” she said. “I listened to my coach and went.”

Gregory had the top individual finish among a slew of Frederick County competitors. Eight of the county’s 10 public school girls teams participated, with Linganore leading the way among the locals, finishing second overall in both meets to James Wood (Virginia).

The Lancers girls, outpointed 62-87 in the final standings, were paced by the four-five finish of senior standouts Caroline Pirrone (20:11.93) and Mikayla Moxley (20:35.85). Linganore’s Meredith Moyer placed 23rd.

Gregory was followed closely by yet another talented Frederick newcomer, freshman Julianna Brawner, who placed sixth.

Brunswick’s Reilly Teague took 12th overall, followed by Middletown’s Erin McQuitty in 13th. Thomas Johnson’s Erin Reeder was 15th, while Hailey Hallenberg (18th) and Caylin Walker (19th) led Oakdale. Tuscarora’s Aylene Hernandez placed 25th.

Meanwhile, the Linganore boys — who put three runners in the top 16 — took second with 92 points behind the Colonels (51). Jack Sears (eighth), Cole Williamson (10th) and Kyle Walker (16th) led the Lancers.

The county’s top boys individual finisher was Oakdale’s Abishek Mudireddy in fourth (16:53.48), about 26 seconds behind champion Ethan Aidam of Oakland Mills.

Middletown’s Baron Ropp took fifth (17:02.92).

Oakdale’s Reed Fliegel was 14th. Brunswick’s Ray Gibson was 22nd. TJ’s James Partlow took 25th, while Frederick’s Gavin Legge was his team’s top finisher in 27th.

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