When Severna Park's Chelsie Adams crossed the finish line in 22nd place Friday at the county cross country championships at Annapolis High, no one realized the significance.
But, when the Falcons and Meade finished in a tie for the girls title with 53 points a piece, it was Adams' finish that decided who was champion.
The rule book states that in the event of a tie the team with the highest sixth finisher is awarded the title. Adams was the highest sixth finisher among the two schools, therefore, Severna Park was awarded the title for the eighth year in a row.
Meanwhile, Broadneck's well-balanced boys team edged Old Mill and Severna Park to claim its first county title. The Bruins scored 48 points to the Patriots' 50 and the Falcons' 60.
"We've been stressing the pack all year long," Broadneck coach Gerald Kiple said on his boys team's ability to capture a title despite the fact that its best individual finish was fourth. "That's exactly what they did today."
The narrow victory by the Falcons had Severna Park coach Ed Purpura counting his blessings.
"You can't win by much more than that," he said. "We always stress that every second and every place counts and that's what decided it here today."
Also helping decide it for the Falcons were first- and second-place finishes by teammates Megan Ambrose and Fran Mackney. Ambrose finished the race on the chilly, wind-swept 3.1-mile course in 20 minutes, 16 seconds while Mackney coasted in at 20:31.
Cindy Silate, Glen Burnie's only representative in the girls field of 39 runners, finished third in the race in 20:51.
Another Gopher who stuck out among the pack of county harriers was senior Sheridan Snedden. Snedden trailed Broadneck's Rick Chambers for the first 2 miles of the race before turning on the afterburners down the stretch to capture first in 16:44 among the field of 62 runners.
"I got off course early and I found myself playing catch-up most of the race," said Snedden. "But, I think that kind of helped me because it made me run hard rather than trying to find a pace."
After the awards ceremony, Purpura stood on the hill near the finish line gripping his team's trophy with both hands.
"It feels great to have this," he said. "This feels even better then the ones before because of the way we won it. But really, I'm surprised to be holding this thing."
Boys team scores: 1. Broadneck 48; 2. Old Mill 50; 3. Severna Park 60; 4.
Annapolis 123; 5. Meade 131; 6. Chesapeake 134; 7. Arundel 175; 8.
Northeast 200; 9. North County 239.
Top 15 finishers, boys: 1. Sheridan Snedden (GB), 16:44; 2. Rick Chambers (Broad); 3. Scott Boetig (OM); 4. Eric Van Gieson (Ann); 5. Dave Wall (Broad); 6. Derek Anderson (Broad); 7. Brian Kaupa (SP); 8. Dan Cavanaugh (OM); 9. Ray Burleson (Meade); 10. Jim Jankowski (SP); 11. Shaun Black (OM); 12. Brad Boetig (OM); 13. Rich Jones (SP); 14. Jonathan Pomerance (Ann); 15. Patrick Geissel (Ann).
Girls team scores: 1. Severna Park 53; 2. Meade 53; 3. Old Mill 57; 4.
Broadneck 87; 5. Chesapeake 94.
Top 15 finishers, girls: 1. Megan Ambrose (SP), 20:16; 2. Fran Mackney (SP), 20:31; 3. Cindy Silate (GB), 20:51; 4. Marisa Sanders (OM), 21:02; 5.
Amy Bell (Meade), 21:07; 6. Pam Williams (OM), 21:25; 7. Brandi Johnson (Broad) 21:28; 8. Jeanne Rimar (Broad), 21:29; 9. Mandy Wingate (Meade), 21:37; 10. Debbie Moffit (Meade), 21:46; 11. Laura Rocha (Meade), 21:55; 12. Janine MacMillan (Ches), 22:01; 13. Karen Jacobson (OM), 22:15; 14.
Chrissy Bridgman (Ches), 22:22; 15. Tanya Hecox (NC), 22:29.