Both Westminster High cross country teams will be out to defend their Central Maryland Conference cross country titles Saturday at 11 a.m. at Thomas Johnson High in Frederick.
But, with the Owls expected to run away with both the boys and girls titles, the individual championships may prove more interesting.
Westminster's girls were expected to get some competition from Frederick and Liberty, but a combination of injury, family moves and academic ineligibilities has left those two squads to battle for second.
On the boys side, South Carroll doesn't appear to have much chance of topping the Owls, but should be able to place second in the seven-team meet.
"I don't really see anyone in the conference as being able to catch us," said Westminster coach Jim Gilford. "Between now and then, we're just trying to keep everybody healthy and make sure they're ready to race."
There could be some dandy individual races, though.
On the boys side, Westminster's Scott Luers and Frederick's Tim Stahler will try to keep Thomas Johnson's Mike Day from winning on his home course.
South Carroll's Jim Clarius also could finish among the leaders.
The girls individual title chase figures to be a Frederick County affair, with Frederick's Jenny Novak and Linganore's Joanna Boettinger battling for the crown.
The high school contingent isn't the only group with a big meet planned for Saturday. Western Maryland College is playing host to its own invitational, also at 11 a.m. Saturday, on the college's golf course.
Joining the Green Terrors will be Frostburg State, Goucher, Morgan State and Gallaudet along with several community colleges.
In other sports this weekend: * The Western Maryland College volleyball team plays host to the North-South Classic starting 6 p.m. Friday night in the Gill Physical Education Center.
The Green Terrors will be joined in Pool A by Bridgewater (Va.), Moravian (Pa.), Methodist (N. C.), and Carnegie-Mellon (Pa.). Pool B has Gettysburg (Pa.), Mary Washington (Va.), York (Pa.), Dickinson (Pa.) and Gallaudet (D. C.).
Mary Washington, the No. 3 team in the NCAA Division III south region poll, is the likely favorite. Gettysburg (29-4) and Western Maryland (21-7) are among the top challengers.
* County field hockey teams head into the final week of the season, and all five county teams could earn playoff berths. South Carroll is all but qualified for the Class 3A Region I playoffs, and Liberty and North Carroll can take big steps to solidify their positions with games this week against Frederick County foes.
Resurgent Liberty, which has won five straight, plays host to Westminster tomorrow at 7 p.m., then visits Thomas Johnson at 4 p.m.
Tuesday. North Carroll, meanwhile, is on the road tomorrow for a 4 p.m.
game at Frederick.
* Soccer teams also are trying to clinch playoff berths in the final week of their season. Liberty, North Carroll and South Carroll all are battling with the three top-ranked boys teams in the Baltimore metro area -- Howard, Centennial and Oakland Mills.
But though almost everyone thinks the three Howard schools are much better than the three Carroll schools in Class 3A Region I, two Carroll schools and two Howard schools likely will make the playoff field.
Liberty looks to have the best shot, and can solidify its position with wins over Thomas Johnson (tomorrow, away, at 7 p.m.) and Westminster (Tuesday at home). South Carroll and North Carroll likely will battle North Hagerstown for a spot, and will have the advantage of playing larger CMC schools to earn more points.
Key could all but clinch a spot in the Class 1A Region II playoffs with a win tomorrow at 7 p.m. at home over Catoctin.
Girls region standings are not yet available, but four of the five teams look to be in good shape. Westminster visits North Carroll tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the biggest intra-county game.
* After a Friday night that was like Custer's last stand, county football teams will try to regroup this week. County teams lost their games by a collective score of 175-54.
Westminster and South Carroll likely saw their playoff hopes --ed, and South Carroll and Liberty probably saw their slim CMC title hopes disappear. Westminster and Linganore both are unbeaten in the league, and the Owls will continue pursuit of the CMC title when they play host to Frederick Friday at 7:30 p.m.
* If the weekend was a washout for the high school teams, it was the best in many years for the Green Terrors, who upset previously unbeaten Dickinson, 14-7. It probably was the biggest game for the team since WMC dropped a 14-10 verdict to Gettysburg in 1978, just as the Green Terrors were on the verge of becoming nationally ranked (They finished at 7-1-1 that year).
The Terrors have a difficult road game this weekend, facing Franklin & Marshall at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Lancaster, Pa. If WMC finishes the season with four straight wins, the 8-1-1 record would be the best since the 1962 squad went 8-1.