When Amanda White races, the question usually is how far behind will the competition run?
Yesterday, at the first Harford County Invitational Cross Country Classic, the Dulaney junior outran her closest opponent by 1 minute, 42 seconds. In the girls seeded race, White posted her best time of the season, 17:34, on the flat but sharply turning course at Harford Community College.
Dava Rhodes of Cumberland Valley, Pa., finished second with her twin sister, Tara Rhodes, three seconds behind. The closest Maryland runner was Chris Maranto of Bryn Mawr, 10th, at 20:14.
White took the lead on the first hill and opened a wider gap with every stride. Although she is the top cross country runner in the state, White said she has no trouble finding motivation.
"Today my dad [former Baltimore Colts linebacker Stan White] kept yelling, 'There's somebody right behind you.' At the bigger meets there usually is, so I try to think there's someone right with me to make me run harder."
Dulaney coach Bob Dean likened White's self-motivation to former Dulaney star Bob Wheeler, who made the 1972 Olympic team.
"Many runners are satisfied with how they do on the local level or the state level," said Dean. "But then sometimes you get an athlete who is not satisfied with that, like Amanda. She wants to go to the national level. She has that kind of drive."
White wasn't the only runner turning in her best time. In the boys seeded race, Ibrahim Aden, a senior from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, nearly broke 15 minutes.
"It was a surprise for me, that time. This was a fast course, but it seemed long to walk it. It was faster than I thought," said Aden, who, along with White, was the top non-junior finisher at last year's Kinney nationals.
Aden finished in 15:03 with his cousin, Jama Bile, also of Fork Union, second in 15:27. Both are from Somalia, East Africa.
With his cousin racing against him, Aden said: "I don't worry about other competition. I always have good competition. He's tough."