At about the two-mile mark in yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association cross-country championship meet, Matt Ciarpella of Archbishop Curley let the rest of the field know whose race it was.
"It was my race," said Ciarpella, who had been dogged by Calvert Hall's Romero Wilson and Mount St. Joseph's Chris Sisk throughout the first half of the 3.1-mile Herring Run Park course. "I won it last year, and I wasn't about to run their race. I made them run mine."
The senior finished strong to take his second straight MSA title in 16 minutes, 22.04 seconds, the fastest time since Curley's Jim Hessenauer ran a meet record 15:52 in 1984. Ciarpella's 14-second win helped Curley to an easy victory in the team standings, as it placed five runners in the top 12.
Poly's Anita Manning won the 2.1-mile race in 13:39, well ahead of Western's April Thornton, who crossed the line in 15:15. But Western took top honors among the teams, placing four girls in the top 10 and beating second-place Poly by 27 points.
Said Curley coach Gene Hoffman: "I knew I had a good team. I wanted to prove I was right."
Curley's Steve Daft placed fourth in 16:47.84; Gary Mryncza, seventh in 17:13.38; Don Oakjones, 11th in 17:24.7; and Doug Dorney, 12th in 17:30.33.
Ciarpella, who has won nearly every race he's run this season, started slowly but worked his way through the field. "It was a really fast start [for the field]," he said.