Oakland Mills, Glenelg Cross Victorious Paths

October 28, 1990|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff writer

Oakland Mills easily chalked up its seventh straight county cross country championship Thursday at Howard Community College. The Scorpions scored a record-low 26 points to runner-up Centennial's 67.

And Glenelg won the girls title by nine points over Atholton, 34-43, ending a five-year reign by the Raiders.

Pat Rodrigues of Centennial won his third straight boys title, pulling away at the mile mark and beating his nearest competitor, Joe Drissel of Oakland Mills, by 19 seconds. Rodrigues, a senior, set a course record of 15 minutes, 59 seconds, beating his previous course mark of 16:01.

Glenelg senior Kristina Adams pulled away from a pack of seven runners in the second mile and cruised to the girls title in 19:26. She defeated runner-up Alicia Adams, her freshman sister, by 25 seconds.

Girls Kristina Adams was one of several favorites, but not many people expected her to win so convincingly.

"I was worried about the Atholton runners," Adams said.

This was the senior's fourth attempt at a title, with her previous best a third-place finish last year.

"I didn't expect the race to string out the way it did," said Alicia Brown, a freshman from Oakland Mills who finished third. "I thought there'd be a pack at the finish."

But Adams pulled away to about a 15-yard lead early in the second mile, and continued to increase it the rest of the race.

"At the mile mark, I realized the pace was too slow because I wanted to break 20 minutes," Adams said. "I felt real good going into the second mile."

Her sister, Alicia, (19:51) was the only runner who hung with her.

Alicia also moved out in front of the pack in the second mile, eventually beating Brown (20:07) by 16 seconds.

"My sister scared me to death," said Kristina Adams, who broke the 20-minute mark for the first time.

Kristina was happy that Glenelg -- which last won a county title in 1984 -- was able to break Atholton's stranglehold on the county title.

"We all were so psyched for this," she said. "Because of our bright red uniforms we call ourselves the killer tomatoes from the movie 'The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.' " The movie is about huge tomatoes that roll over people. And that's what the Glenelg girls had hoped to do to Atholton Thursday.

Adams had won all of her dual meets this year, as well as the Howard County Invitational. She finished fifth in the Westminster Invitational, where Glenelg also defeated Atholton.

The Gladiators did not run in several other big invitationals, preferring to key themselves toward the county and state races. That strategy seemed to pay off.

"I think it must have worked," Adams said. "I was a little worried that we haven't run much. No big meets since Westminster (Sept. 28). But our whole team had a good attitude and was ready to go."

Alicia Adams said her finish surprised her, even though she's been running second or third in most of her meets this year.

"I couldn't believe we were so far ahead of the Atholton girls," she said.

Atholton, which participated in several of the top invitationals this fall, including Georgetown Prep last Saturday, took fourth and fifth places with Tara Getschman (20:17) and Laurie Atherholt (20:25).

Glenelg's Katie Terry, a fourth-year runner, like teammates Kristina Adams and Tina Rankin, took sixth place in 20:29.

The top six runners all beat last year's winning time of 20:32.

"Last year I finished higher (fourth place) with a slower time," Terry said.

Defending champion Amanda Cox (20:37) of Centennial ran only five seconds slower than last year, but dropped down to seventh place, still well ahead of her teammate, Amanda Walburn (20:55).

Two more Atholton runners took ninth and 10th places. Ana DoCouto (21:30) and Vonda Jones (21:33) gave the Raiders four of the top 10.

But the Raiders' fifth runner, Wendy Majkowski (22:11)), finished only 15th, behind three Glenelg runners -- Kelly Pelovitz (21:58), Becky Mitchell (21:59) and Rankin (22:02). Meg Gralia (21:44) of Centennial finished 11th.

"Our win wasn't a big surprise coming off Westminster," said Steve Ruckert, part of a two-man Glenelg coaching team that has been together through nine years and three county titles. Ruckert is an accomplished runner and triathlete.

Roger Volrath, the better-known half of that coaching team, was pleased.

"I feel better now," Volrath said about finally ending Atholton's county title streak.

Glenelg finished second to Atholton in the county, region and state last year, and the two will go head-to-head in Class 2A again in regions and states.

Centennial finished a strong third with 59 points, and five of the top 18 places. Mary Augustin (22:13) finished 16th and Ha Lam (22:23) was 18th.

Mount Hebron took fourth place with 115 points and Oakland Mills was fifth with 125. Hammond, Howard and Wilde Lake did not field complete teams.

Boys Runners like Centennial's Pat Rodrigues, who don't come along often, make life tough for runners like Oakland Mills' Joe Drissel. The duo finished one-two for the second straight year.

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