The boys' cross country team at Perry Hall High is just like the foliage. It isn't noticed until late October.
When some other area powers are burning themselves out in September, the Gators are patiently preparing for the championship season. That portion commenced yesterday with the Baltimore County meet at Oregon Ridge Park, where Perry Hall began a charge it hopes continues through the state championships Nov. 9.
Perry Hall had 43 points to runner-up Loch Raven's 69, as the Gators won the county title for the sixth straight year. That ties the record for team dominance at the 45-year-old county meet, as Towson ruled from 1949-54.
Frank Insinga is the Perry Hall coach, but Gerry Martin built the program and is still very much involved as a volunteer assistant coach. Martin was The Evening Sun Coach of the Year in 1987, when the Gators won the state Class 4A championship, and he has his boys primed for another run at that honor.
"We train through all of our meets, including this one, aiming for the states," Martin said. "Quince Orchard, Westminster, Severna Park and Old Mill all are factors, and we hope to be right there."
Perry Hall won the large-schools section at the Georgetown Prep Invitational last Saturday. Senior Chris Nance was fourth in that race in 16 minutes, 56 seconds, while county favorite Mike Mamo, the lean junior from Milford Mill, was 10th in the seeded race in 16:53.
That narrow margin caused Mamo to lose sleep this week, but yesterday he spent the second mile dueling Hereford senior Kevin Caster. Mamo finally took the lead for good at about 2.1 miles, and defended his title in 16:03. Nance came on to catch Caster, 16:14 to 16:15. Perry Hall juniors went 7-8-9, with Chris Drumgoole, Aaron Roof and Gary Gerard solidifying another championship.
The 11th-place time in the boys' race was 17:10, one way to judge the awesome performance of Dulaney junior Amanda White among the girls. Her time was 17:06 over the three-mile course, and Perry Hall's Tisha Botteon was second in 19:34.
It was White's eighth course record in as many outings this fall, and the consistency of her efforts add up to the best campaign ever by a Maryland schoolgirl. Her final goal this season is the Kinney National Championships Nov. 30.
White's teammates have been injury-prone, and coach Bob Dean finally got Dulaney together yesterday. They needed every body they could muster to hold off Class 2A power Loch Raven, which was edged out by the Lions, 43-45. Loch Raven's Mary Vance (junior), Kathy Hebb (sophomore) and Colleen Brooks (freshman) went 3-5-6, and Dulaney got a big lift from sophomore Dishina Davis, who placed fourth.