Milford Mill's Mike Mamo and Westminster's Stephanie Morningstar didn't wear their slickers, carry their umbrellas or even remember to bring their rubber boots to yesterday's Baltimore Metro Cross Country Invitational at Catonsville Community College.
Just their spikes were enough.
Despite a bone-chilling rain and treacherously muddy course, Mamo shattered the previous meet record by 28 seconds, winning the race in 17 minutes, 12 seconds, and Morningstar swept to a five-second win in the girls' race with 20:47.
Mamo said the rain helped him. After running most of the 3.2-mile course tied with defending champion Romero Wilson of Mount St. Joseph and Gerard Hogan of Glenelg, he broke ahead when Wilson slipped and fell on the final hill. Hogan then faded.
"I'm glad it rained," said Mamo, who has finished first in each of his four meets this season. "It slowed down [Wilson's] kick, and he wasn't able to catch up. Hogan helped me out by pushing me. If he wasn't here, I wouldn't have won."
Hogan finished three seconds behind in 17:15, but he and his brother, Edward, paced Glenelg to first in the boys' race, followed by Westminster and Severna Park.
Wilson, last year's winner in 17:51, took third in 17:26.
Said Wilson: "I wish it was dry. I was right with them until I fell. When I got up I tried to kick it, but they were just too far ahead."
Mamo's coach, Jesse Hannan, said there was nothing he could tell his runner before to the race to help him stay on his feet. He said Mamo's training and experience led him to the wet win.
Morningstar had a slightly more difficult time winning her race -- not because of her running, but rather her directions.
Ahead by several seconds going into the final straightaway, she hit the last turn too quickly and went several feet off course. Since all but a few of the trailing runners followed her lead, the judges, after some discussion, still awarded her the win.
"No one said anything," said Morningstar, who has won four of her five meets this season -- her only loss coming to Amanda White of Dulaney, who bypassed the meet in favor of today's Harford Invitational. "There were big puddles in the turns and it was really slippery down the hills. I got out fast, but I almost fell several times on the hills. Instead of falling forward, I just let myself go."
The rest of her Westminster teammates, however, weren't so lucky. The top-ranked Owls slipped and slid to a second-place finish behind Frderick, 76-104.