WESTMINISTER — WESTMINSTER -- En route to an unbeaten cross country season in 1989, Fallston's Jenny Howard lamented the lack of any local competition. Howard won the Westminster Invitational as expected yesterday, but a worthy challenger surfaced in Dulaney sophomore Amanda White.
Howard covered the 5,000-meter course on the Western Maryland College campus in 18 minutes, 45 seconds, and White, in 19:09, also bettered the previous course record. White might not have Howard's running credentials -- who in the area does? -- but her fitness level is top drawer.
The only question mark concerning White is her availability. A swimmer more than half her life, she has qualified for next year's senior nationals in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. She trains year-round with Murray Stephens' North Baltimore Aquatic Club. The demands of that sport keep White in the pool and off the roads, but despite other runs this summer, she won the women's division of one road race and placed second in another.
"Give Murray [Stephens] credit for the condition she's in," Dulaney coach Bob Dean said. "Amanda practices with us every day, but she's performing like this with what would be a light workload for someone who was only running. Besides, I don't want to overwhelm her."
In her first high school race, White won a section of the Pallotti Invitational last Saturday. She's long and lean, and competition is in her genes: Her father Stan played a little linebacker for the Baltimore Colts in the 1970s.
While White had a successful debut at Pallotti, Howard steered off course in the seeded section there and settled for a fourth-place finish, ending a win streak that dated back to 1988. She was eager to start another.
"I was leading at about 2 miles at Pallotti, and the biggest disappointment was that I was probably running one of the best races I've ever had," Howard said. "I've gotten over it. It won't happen again."
There was a major surprise in the girls team standings, where Glenelg won and jumped from No. 7 to No. 1 in The Evening Sun rankings. Kristina Adams and Katie Terry, seniors who have been varsity mainstays since they were freshmen, finished fifth and eighth for coach Roger Volrath. He anticipates a season-long duel with neighborhood rival Atholton, yesterday's runner-up and last week's No. 1 in the rankings.
After Glenelg (79) and Atholton (108), there was a Class 4A pileup consisting of Dulaney (117), Westminster (also 117, fourth on a tie-breaker) and Frederick (121).
On the boys side, Oakland Mills put on another intimidating show, scoring a ridiculously low 40 points in a 19-team field. The Scorpions' No. 6 runner was in before anyone else's No. 2, and team leader Joe Drissel placed second to Centennial's Pat Rodrigues, who matched Howard's meet and course records.
Rodrigues wasn't impressed with his performance until informed that his time of 16:08 bettered the course record 16:19 Randallstown's Jeff Campbell posted in 1987. Rodrigues was slowed by injuries much of last year, but summer vacation -- highlighted by a week at a running camp in Utah -- was a strengthening experience.
Glenelg junior Gerard Hogan was third in 16:24, two seconds behind Drissel and ahead of C. Milton Wright's Jeff Hankins (16:40) and Westminster's Scott Luers (16:46), last year's winner. The host Owls were second with 89 points, followed by C. Milton Wright (140), Centennial (162) and Atholton (164).
Cross country rankings
BOYS TOP 10 1. Oakland Mills
5. Loch Raven
6. C.M. Wright
7. Calvert Hall
8. Severna Park
GIRLS TOP 10 1. Glenelg
6. Severna Park
9. Old Mill