County Cross Country

Urbana cross-country runners, from left, Mary Miller, Sara Jarman and Karly McDonnell round a turn in the final portion of the county championship race Thursday at Thomas Johnson High School. Jarman won the race with McDonnell second and Miller third, paving the way for the Hawks’ team title.

This wasn’t the first time that the Urbana trio of Sara Jarman, Karly McDonnell and Mary Miller formed a lead pack in a cross-country meet.

As the races wind down, McDonnell said, Jarman usually finds “that extra gear.”

Jarman has participated in triathlons since she was 9, and Hawks coach CJ Ecalono sees that sport as providing an arena where athletes learn to find that all-important extra gear.

“You can coach that a little bit, but at the same time, it’s a lot of heart and guts,” Ecalono said of Jarman, who pulled away from McDonnell and Miller to win the girls title at the Frederick County championships Thursday at Thomas Johnson. “I think it’s just how strong and tough she is being a triathlete.

“She’s used to those long endurance races when you’re dead and you have to find that extra gear within.”

In the county meet, Jarman found it with about 600 meters left in the 5,000-meter race, finishing with a time of 18 minutes, 53.05 seconds.

“I’m a really good last-mile runner,” Jarman said. “My last mile, I always try to pick it up.”

McDonnell took second (19:00.13), and Miller was third (19:03.25) as the Hawks decisively won the team title with 36 points. Oakdale finished a distant second (60), followed by Middletown (70), Linganore (122) and Brunswick (146).

The healthy competition within their own team, Ecalono said, can account for why the Hawks did so well Thursday. During recent training, the Urbana coach has stressed “running selfishly” during certain drills.

“We did 400-meter repeats — six of them on Monday,” Ecalono said. “Not the [kind of] work you would do three days before counties. We did it anyway and told them to run smart. Every 400, there was a different leader.”

The Hawks figure to be a formidable group for years to come considering McDonnell, her sister, Emily, and Addison Lauer are all freshmen. Emily McDonnell placed seventh (19:20.63), and Lauer was 23rd (20:51.81).

“They are ridiculously good,” Jarman said of the McDonnell twins. “They are so important to this team because we’ve always had a problem with a pack.

“Oakdale, they’ve always been really good because they have a close pack. [The McDonnells] have been really good for us to make our one through four pack. ... There really is no competition like teammate competition.”

The Bears’ Hayley Ross (19:08.19) placed fourth, and Linganore’s Khelsa Connolly took fifth (19:13.13).

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