Pat Rodrigues of Centennial and Jenny Howard of Fallston raced to their third state titles in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Cross Country Championships yesterday at Hereford.
A steady, wind-blown rain produced conditions that one officia described as the worst in 30 years. Scores of runners fell on the course, and at least 15 were treated for hypothermia.
"Those are some of the worst conditions I've run in," sai Rodrigues, who won the boys 3A race in 16 minutes, 53 seconds. "I couldn't keep a consistent stride. I almost fell. I just wanted to win and not get hurt."
Rodrigues competed in the final race of the day. By that time there were only mud and a cold wind to contend with. The rain had ceased. Rain poured throughout Howard's race, the first of the day, to produce conditions so bad that officials considered postponement.
Howard fell three times, including one long slide on the fina downhill. She crossed the finish line, covered with mud, 200 meters ahead of the second-place runner.
Howard, who set course records in all but three of her races thi season, was expected to make a run at the Hereford girls record of 18:25 (three miles). She finished in 19:40.
She became the second girl to win three straight cross countr titles; Rodrigues was the third boy.
Dulaney's Amanda White, a sophomore, produced the mos impressive finish of the meet. White, who came within one second of the Hereford course record in winning the Baltimore County meet, won the girls 4A race by more than two minutes. Running in the rain-free afternoon session, she clocked 18:43, the fastest girls time of the meet by almost a minute.
The biggest upset of the competition came in the 3A tea scoring. Oakland Mills, favored to win an unprecedented seventh straight boys title, finished second, three points behind Richard Montgomery High School. Oakland Mills' Jeff Drissell led a 3-4-5 finish, but the next two Scorpions runners came across the line 34th and 35th.
In the boys 2A race, Loch Raven senior Brian Horn won in 17:1 and led his teammates, all underclassmen, to the team title. The Raiders took places 1, 5, 8, 19, and 26 to beat Glenelg, 50-82.
In girls 2A, Glenelg placed four runners in the top 15 to wi handily with 49 points. Kristina Adams paced Glenelg with a second-place finish in 20:24. Her younger sister, Alicia, a freshman, was fourth.
Amanda Cox out-kicked Stacey Servia of C. Milton Wright in th final 100 yards to win the girls 3A race and lead Centennial to a narrow victory over Liberty. With three runners in the top eight, Centennial scored 65 points, Liberty 68.