With the Class 4A Maryland cross country championship finish line in plain sight—about 150 meters away—Urbana High School junior and reigning Frederick County champion Sara Jarman was running an “unbelievable race,” Hawks coach Charles Ecalono said, and closing in on the top 10 of an incredible field of athletes. Then, ranked No. 21 nationally in USA Triathlon’s junior elite series, Jarman’s body gave out.
“She went down that final hill and just collapsed at my feet,” Ecalono said. “Poor thing, she had been sick (the whole previous week). But I couldn’t (reach out to help) her because then she would be disqualified. She got up on her own, started running and then collapsed again.”
Still, Jarman, who won four of the eight races she contested this fall, would not be deterred. She again lifted herself back up and with every last ounce of energy, willed herself to finish the race. And as a testament to the quality of her performance leading up to the unfortunate setback, she still crossed the finish line in 33rd, and third for the Hawks.
Urbana ultimately finished 11th, up four spots from last year. And though the Hawks had their sights set on finishing in the top 10 or better—and the tools to do so—Jarman’s strength of character enabled them to remain within striking distance.
“She literally gave it her absolute all,” Ecalono said. “It was an unbelievable performance.”
Led by freshman sisters Karly and Emily McDonnell and senior Mary Miller, in addition to Jarman, Urbana’s top four all posted times within 90 seconds of one another. Karly McDonnell medalled by claiming 25th and was followed closely by Miller in 28th; Emily McDonnell took 53rd. Jarman, who lost about one minute, was on pace to finish inside the top 10.
The McDonnells eclipsed their times from the Bull Run Invitational run on the same course at Baltimore County’s Hereford High five weeks earlier. Karly went from 21 minutes, 17.9 seconds to 20:47.2 at states; Emily improved from 21:54.3 to 21:31.0.
“Any time you’re running 21 minutes on that course, you’re doing something right,” Ecalono said.
Freshman Addison Lauer, who battled knee injuries the entire season, was Urbana’s fifth finisher at states, rounding out the Hawks’ scoring in 101st. Ecalono praised “one of the stronger No. 5 runners around” for defeating a course on which she managed only 12 meters the last time she faced it—Ecalono pulled her almost immediately at the Bull Run Invitational due to her noticeable pain.
Urbana attacked the state meet course differently this fall, opting to run more aggressively at the start and then maintain and it worked to the Hawks’ benefit. With five of their top seven slated to return, the Hawks will be even hungrier to prove themselves next fall.
“It’s not often you can say all (your runners) did exactly what they needed to do and you finished 11th,” Ecalono said. “It’s pretty crazy. … I’m extremely proud of these girls; they truly ran as well as they could have.”