First-Ever B Conference Meet an XC Victory

“I think that we can do this every race,” said junior and first-place finisher Hudson Weber.


Alex Harner

Junior Hudson Weber (pictured here at a meet on September 28th), led the Friends Varsity XC team to victory in their first-ever B conference meet on September 21st.

Jonah Rubenstein and Ben Smith

As the yellow school bus left North Charles street for Owings Mills, there was a distinct intensity inside. Because on this day, September 21, 2022, Friends School was set to run in their first-ever MIAA B Conference Cross Country Meet.

Fresh off a promotion from the C Conference, the Quakers were looking to make a statement in their first B conference meet.

The meet was held at Northwest Regional Park, the school’s home course. Friends runners were well prepared for the race in fitness and strategy.

The team has been practicing hard this season. Senior Vincent Walk said that on Monday, two days before the race, he and the team ran for 35-40 minutes on the Stony Run Trail. But even with the practice, there were many unknowns going into the meet.

The first was a largely new starting seven for Friends. Champion runners Sam Pate and Chris Davis graduated last spring, and between that and the departure of Arturo Guallar-Blasco, new runners would need to fill the roles.

Another loss for the Quakers was that of Keller Handwerk, who went down with an injury during the preseason time trial. Keller is unlikely to be back running this season, but still attends meets and practices with the team. One player stepping up for Friends was Harry Abernathy, a freshman who had been exceeding expectations in practice. 

Another uncertainty for Friends was many of the B Conference teams, including Glenelg and St Mary’s. Friends did race in the St. Paul’s invitational, but the team placed 5th overall behind B conference teams Boys Latin and Park School.

“I think it was a lot of guys’ first time coming out for Varsity, racing for Varsity,” Keller explained. “I think we’re going to get better with some more experience this week.”

The Quakers’ opponents in this race – St Mary’s and Glenelg – had placed 5th and 6th in the B Conference championship last year. Both teams also lost their top runner. One returning force for St. Mary’s was that of Will Goers, who placed 14th in the conference at Championships last year.

As the teams got ready, it was clear that Friends had the biggest team by far. St Mary’s had nine runners total for JV and Varsity. Glenelg had 15. Friends had 27. While only the top seven runners count for Varsity scoring, depth is very important in case of injuries.

Minutes before the race, the teams got to the starting line for strides. Strides are roughly a 40-yard run at 80 percent effort.

“You know, a couple strides get the heart pumping,” explained Friends senior Mason Shriver.

After the teams were fully warmed up, it was time to race.

“Runners Set. Go!” shouted one of the coaches. And the runners were off.

The course is approximately three miles, and includes two laps around the park. The first section involves a small uphill push toward the soccer and football fields, followed by a long, steady downhill.

The first, and only notable, incline of the course comes next, as runners round the far side of the fields. Next, they pass by the baseball fences and enter the second leg of the lap: a half-mile asphalt path through the woods to make it back to the start line. 

Junior Hudson Weber led the pack going down the first small hill, 4:08 into the race. Just behind Hudson was Will Goers. Shortly behind them were Asa Arnot ‘25, Noah Sheasby ‘24, and Harry. The runners disappeared from sight.

Hudson emerged from the woods at 8:28. He now had a sizeable lead on Will, who emerged about 20 seconds after him. Harry and Mason were sticking together, playing as a duo, with Glenelg runner Ian Noble not far behind.

The second lap was similar to the first. Friends runners stayed strong. 

Hudson crossed the finish line first, with a time of 18:28 – about one minute off of his time at the St. Paul’s invitational. This improvement is partially from the nature of the course; Northwest regional is notoriously quick. No doubt part of the time difference is also due to straight up improvement from Hudson.

Other than St Mary’s runners Will Goers and Nicholas Javid, Friends occupied the rest of the top seven spots overall. Friends also flexed their depth, taking the top 13 JV placements. Overall, the Quakers dominated in both the JV and Varsity scores, winning 20-37 against St Mary’s and 15-44 against Glenelg.

“I think that we can do this every race,” said first-place finisher Hudson.

Friends looks to contend for championship this year. Their next conference meet is Thursday, October 6 at AACS.