As the Glenelg boys cross country team accepted its state Class 2A championship plaque Saturday, members of the girls team yelled, "Hey Glenelg, how do you feel?"
Gerard Hogan, who also won the individual title, grinned and yelled back, "Really good."
That's how all county cross country fans should feel after Howard's group performance at the state championships at Western Maryland College Saturday.
All 10 Howard teams that qualified placed in the top 10 in their various meets, and eight had top five finishes.
Three of the top four teams in the Class 2A boys race were from Howard:Glenelg, runner-up Oakland Mills, and fourth-place Mount Hebron.
For the past several years, Howard has dominated the Class 2A and 3A meets. Since 1986, county teams have captured 11 state titles and finished second 10 times.
"Each of the schools in the county works off the other ones," said Glenelg coach Roger Volrath, whose team won its first state boys title (the girls won last year) after finishing second in 1987 and 1990. "That strengthens the whole program."
Hogan, a senior, and his brother, Edward, a junior, finished one-two in the state meet. Howard County runners took five of the top 10, nine ofthe top 17, and 15 of the top 42 individual places in the Class 2A race.
Glenelg has been the top-ranked team in The Sun poll all yearand earlier won the Westminster Invitational, handily beating several larger 4A schools, including state champion Westminster. On Saturday, Glenelg had to be content with merely picking on schools its own size.
With all five scoring runners finishing in the top 14, the Gladiators scored 35 points to 81 for runner-up Oakland Mills.
"Theyall ran the way they were capable of running," Volrath said. "That'sbasically what we wanted them to do. They did a nice job."
The last time Volrath visited Western Maryland for a state championship, his boys track team won the state title only to have it taken away several minutes later because a scoring error was discovered. It would have taken an error of monumental proportions to reverse the verdict Saturday.
Oakland Mills coach Steve Carnahan, who coached the Scorpions to six consecutive state titles in the 1980s, played bridesmaid for the second straight year, but he wasn't complaining. He lost his entire squad to graduation last year, so this year's team consisted ofseven new runners up from junior varsity.
"It's just unbelievable," he said. "I'm really thrilled that seven JV kids stepped in and did that kind of job for us."
He'll lose his top four this year, buthe can reload with runners from a junior varsity team that won the county B meet with a perfect score earlier this year.
Leading the way for the Scorpions was Tim Brenza, who finished just one second behind the younger Hogan.
Gerard Hogan, meanwhile, was savoring a victory on the same course where he had a disappointing race in September. Hogan slipped and fell in the Westminster Invitational, but he held no malice about the three-mile course.
"I like this course; it'sa fast course," said Hogan of the hilly layout over the college's golf course.
Glenelg sophomore Alicia Adams also had the best countygirls performance of the day, taking second -- albeit a distant second -- in the girls 2A race. Michelle Barrett of Allegany easily won the race in 18 minutes, 39 seconds and Adams was second in 19:22.
"She did the same thing at regionals," said Adams, of Barrett's big margin of victory. "But I was happy with my time."
Mount Hebron, ledby the fifth-place finish of freshman Amanda Fleck, placed third in the team chase and Glenelg was fifth.
In the 3A boys race, Atholton took third as junior Bryan Townsend finished fourth in 16:12. Centennial, paced by junior Mark James and his 12th-place showing, finished fifth.
Centennial also placed fifth in the girls 3A race, and Atholton was close behind in sixth. Sophomore Gail Hodges led the Raiders with a 14th-place finish and Centennial's Amanda Cox was 19th in aclass dominated by Montgomery County.
Walt Whitman of Montgomery,which dropped from 4A for this school year, won boys and girls team titles (the boys were recently ranked 21st in the country).