Brittany Lang won the Class 2A state title in cross country last year as a freshman. Her sophomore season has been much more frustrating.
Limited by a troublesome hip/leg injury, she had tried to run in two races but wasn't 100 percent. The Oakland Mills sophomore finally was able to cut loose Tuesday at the school's Scorpion Crawl event and looked like her old self, scoring an easy victory.
Lang was first hurt about three years ago, and the injury has flared up from time to time, worsening especially after last year's state meet. Pain pain shoots up and down her right leg, but doctors can't determine its origin.
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That's why Lang has been forced to rest more and run just three or four times a week in practice this season. She's doing strength work and physical therapy regularly, and tried to run at partial speed in two races before improving lately.
Feeling better, Lang decided to go all out in this one, winning in 19 minutes, 23.15 seconds and easily beating Abigail Starks of Marriotts Ridge (20.28.70).
"I love being out there. It feels so good," Lang said. "I was very nervous. I was kind of scared of how the pain was going to be [afterward]."
Her leg felt fine after the race, and how it responds in the next day or two could be key. Only time will tell.
Top-ranked River Hill won the team title for the girls, finishing with 61 points. Marriotts Ridge also had 61, but a tiebreaker clinched the victory for River Hill. Anna Latzko (sixth) led the Hawks.
Connor Holley won the boys' individual title for Oakland Mills, and the Scorpions (37) edged out Winters Mill by one point for the team crown.
Holley outdueled teammate Tom Brumbaugh for first place, pulling away in the final half-mile to win in 16:55.13. Brumbaugh took second (17:02.09), just ahead of Mount Hebron's Ryan Huyett (17:02.74).
"[The win] boosts your confidence a bit," Holley said. "I was going into it thinking I'd be third or fourth."
Mount Hebron (80 points) finished in third as the Vikings, like some other schools, held out some runners. The team is in the midst of a three-race, eight-day span.
Oakland Mills coach Phil Lang said he liked how hard his team ran.
"It's a big confidence booster," said Lang, Brittany's father. "Hopefully, our kids will walk around for a few days feeling good about themselves."
(at Oakland Mills)
Team scores (top 5): 1. Oakland Mills, 37; 2. Winters Mill, 38; 3. Mount Hebron, 80; 4. River Hill, 91; 5. Marriotts Ridge, 93.
Individual results (top 10): 1. Holley (OAK), 16:55.13; 2. Brumbaugh (OAK), 17:02.09; 3. Huyett (MH), 17:02.74; 4. Hopkins (WM), 17:13.17; 5. Drohat (MH), 17:38.13; 6. Obcamp (WM), 17:40.62; 7. Dunn (WM), 17:54.02; 8. Holderman (OAK), 17:55.67; 9. Joy (WM), 17:56.04; 10. Kohn (OAK), 17:57.41.
Team scores (top 5): 1. River Hill, 61 (wins by tiebreaker); 2. Marriotts Ridge, 61; 3. Mount Hebron, 68; 4. Winters Mill, 76; 5. Oakland Mills, 82.
Individual results: 1. Lang (OAK), 19:23.15; 2. Stars (MR), 20:28.70; 3. Zohorsky (MH), 20:39.66; 4. Snyder (OAK), 20:50.31; 5. Hartman (WM), 20:58.21; 6. Latzko (RH), 21:04.10; 7. Gore (WM), 21:10.14; 8. Virden (MR), 21:27.17; 9. Dermer (FRA), 21:28.05; 10. Merrill (MR), 21:30.83.