Experience or potential?
In selecting the female Runners of the Year on its 19th annual jTC All-Metro cross country team, The Evening Sun chose both. For the first time, the award is shared, as Fallston senior Jenny Howard and Dulaney sophomore Amanda White are co-Runners of the Year.
The two did meet this season, with Howard, a three-time state champion, scoring a 24-second victory over White at the Westminster Invitational. That was the second race of White's young running career, and her championship season made it impossible to separate the two.
At the Baltimore County championships, White became the second-fastest girl ever on the famed Hereford course. Two weeks later, at the state championships, she wowed the few hearty spectators who braved horrible weather. She rewarded them with an aggressive effort (18:43) that many say would have gone below 18 minutes under the right conditions.
The Howard-White debate is not over yet. Both will be in New York Nov. 24, at a regional race leading up to the Kinney national championships.
Centennial's Pat Rodrigues will be there, too. Injuries slowed him last year, but this time he was the undisputed king among area boys, taking the Runner of the Year award from 1989 winner Matt Ciarpella of Archbishop Curley.
Rodrigues won his third state title, and he came very close to becoming the first person ever to win four straight. As a freshman, he was the state 2A runner-up by only eight seconds.
Howard County also produced one of the Coaches of the Year, Roger Volrath of Glenelg.
Glenelg, the area's No. 1 girls team, peaked beautifully for Volrath, but he is quick to credit co-coach Steve Ruckert, one of the region's premier masters runners, and senior captain Katie Terry. The night before the state meet, she had the team over to load up on pasta and watch "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," a cult film that gave red-clad Glenelg another nickname besides Gladiators.
Curley's Gene Hoffman is the boys Coach of the Year, and he lamented not having one more shot at Oakland Mills, which remains No. 1 despite being upset by Richard Montgomery in the state 3A race.
"The state meet was an aberration," Oakland Mills coach Steve Carnahan said. "We beat Archbishop Curley at Georgetown Prep, and we were better than they were at the Hereford Invitational. The fact remains, we didn't lose to anyone in the area."