With their individual cross country titles at Annapolis High yesterday, two seniors, Old Mill's Scott Boetig and Severna Park's Fran Mackney ended two years of frustrating finishes.
Mackney, who finishedin 19 minutes, 54 seconds to lead the Falcons' girls to their ninth straight county title, got an imposing challenge from Broadneck's Jeanne Rimar, who trailed her from just 15 yards over most of the 3.1-mile course.
Boetig, however, broke away from the pack just before the 2-mile mark and crossed the line in 16:41 -- a personal best -- and three seconds faster than last year's champion, Glen Burnie's Sheridan Snedden.
Rimar had hoped to trap Mackney in the last 50 yards or so, butMackney began to surge about 75 yards from the finish.
She kickedher legs in chopping steps and pumped her arms high around her cheekbones, crossing the finish line seven seconds before Rimar and 37 seconds faster than in her runner-up finish to teammate Meg Ambrose a year ago.
"I could feel her behind me the whole time. I'd thought that I lost her and I'd look back and she'd still be there," said Mackney, one of five Falcons in the top 14.
Teammates Brianna Weidman (sixth), Cindy Symancyk (ninth), Jessica Schlegel (13th) and Kerri Hiden Felter (14th) were the others as Severna Park (36) easily beat second-place Old Mill (73).
Rimar and Old Mill's Marisa Sanders (20:42, third) and Meade's Amy Bell ( 21:16, fourth), surprised Glen Burnie's fifth-place Cindy Silate (21:32), who was third a year ago. Sanders, Bell and Rimar were fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively, last year.
The Falcons' boys placed five runners in the top 12 for 40 points to easily outdistance second-place Meade (62), but their top runner, Jarrett Hon, was 12 seconds behind Boetig.
"I thought if I could stay with him, I could out-kick him just before the end," said Hon, who was within 10 yards of Boetig over the first mile. "We went pretty fast through the woods, but there was a downhill portion that gave him a boost. I tried to hang on, but I couldn't."
That's whereBoetig made his move.
"I'm surprised at my time because I had a really slow start, but I thought it was a good race overall," said Boetig, who was third last year in 16:59. He later defeated Snedden for the Class 4A Region IV title. "I didn't feel much stronger, but this is a lot better than I've ever run. Last year, (Broadneck's Rick Chambers) sneaked up on me."
And this year, Meade's boys sneaked up onthe Patriots (65), placing five runners in the top 19, led by their top finisher, fifth-place Carl Little. The Patriots' usually run strong as a pack, but after sixth-place Brad Boetig, their next three runners were 16th, 17th and 22nd.
"I think our boys and Severna Park probably run strongest as a pack than anyone else in the county," said Meade coach John Dockstader.
Severna Park's second-best finisher, seventh-place Brian Kaupa, actually was in fourth behind Broadneck's Tim Collins (third, 17:15) and in front of Annapolis' Eric Van Gieson (fourth), Little, and Brad Boetig.
But Kaupa tripped and fell about 10 yards before the finish and the three runners passed him before he got up and leaped across the line.
"I can't say enough abouthis guts for getting up the first time and getting across the line,"said Severna Park coach Ed Purpura. "If he hadn't collapsed, we would have really romped here."
The Falcons' girls needed a tie-breaker to defeat Meade last year and the boys were third behind Broadneck and Old Mill.
"We've been waiting a year for this," Purpura said. "So I was real happy with the way we dominated."
Team results: Severna Park (40 points), Meade (42), Old Mill (65), Broadneck (112), Arundel (142), Annapolis (147), Chesapeake (162), Northeast (223), North County (255).
Individual results: 1. Scott Boetig, Old Mill (16:41); 2. Jarrett Hon, Severna Park; 3. Tim Collins, Broadneck; 4. Eric Van Gieson, Annapolis; 5. Carl Little, Meade; 6. Brad Boetig, Old Mill; 7. Brian Kaupa, Severna Park; 8. Jeremy Kokalis, SevernaPark; 9. Colby Schmidt, Meade; 10. Geoff Warren, Arundel; 11. James Jankows
ki, Severna Park; 12. Richard Jones, Severna Park; 13. Paul Langenstein, Chesapeake; 14. James Nosal, Meade; 15. Mike Walker, Meade.
Team results: Severna Park (36), Old Mill (73), Chesapeake (81), Broadneck (85), Meade (110), North County (133).
Individual results: 1. Fran Mackney, Severna Park (19:54); 2. Jeanne Rimar, Broadneck; 3. Marisa Sanders, Old Mill; 4. Amy Bell, Meade; 5. Cindy Silate, Glen Burnie; 6. Brianna Weidman, Severna Park; 7. Rebecca Divitt, Glen Burnie; 8. Tanya Hecox, North County; 9. Cindy Symancyk, Severna Park; 10. Jessica Davis, Old Mill; 11. Leanne Carnes, Broadneck; 12. Mary Luckhart, Chesapeake; 13. Jessica Schlegel, Severna Park; 14. Kerri Hiden Felter, Severna Park; 15. Sarah Tate, SP.