In two weeks, Fallston's Jenny Howard and Centennial's Pat Rodrigues will attempt to become three-time, state cross country champions, but first, there is the matter of their county cross country championship meets this week.
Friday, Howard will be at Harford Glen trying to win her third straight county title in the Harford County Championships. Thursday, Rodrigues will be going for his third straight county title in the Howard County title meet at Howard Community College.
At the Howard County meet, Oakland Mills' boys team will be trying for its seventh straight county title. In two weeks, the team will try for its seventh straight state title.
The Baltimore County championships are Thursday at Hereford. Friday, in addition to the Harford County championships, the Anne Arundel County championships are at Annapolis and the Carroll County championships are at Western Maryland College.
Here is a preview of each of the county championship meets:
Anne Arundel County
If last weekend's Anne Arundel County Invitational meet was any indication of how county runners will fare in Friday's Anne Arundel County Championships, Old Mill's contingent should be getting excited about the upcoming event.
The Patriots, who swept Saturday's meet at the 3.1-mile course at Annapolis High School, are hoping their return to Annapolis on Friday (4 p.m.) will prove just as rewarding.
Coach Gary Bater will be looking for junior Scott Boetig and senior Dan Cavanaugh to pace his boys team and will be looking for sophomore Mirisa Sanders and senior Pam Williams to lead his girls.
Severna Park, defending county champions in both the girls and boys divisions, also will be well-represented at the race. Megan Ambrose, whose second-place finish in last week's race was the best of any county runner, and Fran Meckeny will lead the Falcons. Leading the way for the Falcons in the boys competition are B.K. Kaupa, Jeremy Kokalis and Matt Parvis.
Gerald Kiple's Broadneck team should challenge Old Mill and Severna Park for the boys title. Look for the Bruins' Tom Wall to challenge for the top male honors.
Perry Hall's boys team will try to win its fifth straight county title, and Loch Raven's Brian Horn will be trying for his second straight individual title in the Baltimore County Cross Country Championships on Thursday (3 p.m.) at Hereford.
Perry Hall can move within one championship of the county record with a victory Friday. Towson holds the record with six straight county championships in the 1950s.
Perry Hall senior Ryan McCluskey will lead his team and should offer Horn, a senior, his stiffest competition.
Horn likes the Hereford course. He turned in the fastest time of any Baltimore County runner (16:10) at the Hereford Invitational earlier this month.
Loch Raven and Horn will offer Perry Hall its toughest competition for the team championship.
Milford Mill sophomore Mike Mamo also will be a factor in the battle for the individual title. He beat Horn in the Spiked Shoe Invitational at Johns Hopkins last month.
There is little speculation about the individual winner of the girls race. Dulaney sophomore Amanda White is a heavy favorite, although defending champ Lauren Moross, a Towson sophomore, will be running.
Friday, White showed she is in excellent condition by turning in an 18:03 clocking in the Southwestern Invitational at Lansdowne.
Catonsville senior Alex Clark could push White.
Dulaney is favored to win the county title in the team competition. Loch Raven and Catonsville are the other teams to watch. Last year, Dulaney and Loch Raven tied for second behind Towson.
Fresh off a sweep of the team titles in the Central Maryland Conference championships Saturday, Westminster will try to defend its Carroll County Cross Country titles Friday (3 p.m.) at Western Maryland College.
Westminster took five of the top nine spots while easily winning the CMC title, which included four of Carroll's five high schools. Scott Luers, who is the favorite to win the county crown, was the top CMC boys individual finisher.
The most interesting portion of the boys race should be the battle for second. South Carroll was second in the CMC meet, and Class 1A Francis Scott Key was second in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League meet 10 days ago. South Carroll had finished ahead of Key in a four-team meet early in the season, but Key later finished six points ahead of South Carroll in the Westminster Invitational.
Among those challenging Luers for the individual crown should be teammates Dion Stanton and Mark Stanton, South Carroll's Jim Clarius and Dave Hammel and Key's Jason Wilhide.