Freshmen set fast pace for Centennial Cross country

October 14, 1992|By Tom Worgo | Tom Worgo,Contributing Writer

Prior to the girls cross country race at Atholton High School yesterday, Centennial freshman standout Kari Meyer watched and listened to Mount Hebron coach Earl Lauer give one of his star runners advice.

Lauer told sophomore Amanda Fleck to beat the two Eagles' freshmen -- Meyer and Heather Tanner.

As it turned out, the freshmen finished first and second, just ahead of Fleck.

The eavesdropping by Meyer, she said, gave Tanner and her extra motivation.

"Her coach was telling Amanda to beat the two freshman," said Meyer, who ran the 2.9-mile course in 20 minutes, 34 seconds. "We just wanted to beat her. We wanted to show their coach we could do it."

Tanner finished in 20:36, and Fleck posted a 20:41.

Centennial coach Al Dobbs has seen it many times with the Eagles -- dominant freshmen who struggle later on in their high school career. But these two are different, he said, and they may be around for a while.

"I have seen a lot of young runners that start out like gang busters as freshman and sophomores," Dobbs said. "But I think they are going to have great careers. I really didn't expect them to finish first and second. They seem to be getting better and better every meet. They seem to be gaining more confidence."

In the meet, Centennial defeated Atholton, 18-40, and Mount Hebron, 24-33.

Lauer, whose girls team lost to Mount Hebron, 22-34, said the re

sults would have been different if star runner Dana Strickland had been able to compete. Strickland sat out because of a sprained ankle.

"One runner makes a difference when you are talking about a number one," Lauer said of Strickland, who won the Arundel Invitational Oct. 2 by more than a minute. "It was not worth taking a risk for a person who has a chance to win a county championship."

In the boys' division, Atholton's Bryan Townsend captured first place in 16:14 despite an ailing back.

For most of the race, Centennial's Bobby Van Allen and Mark James were close enough to overtake Townsend but he ended with a strong kick.

The Centennial boys defeated both opponents, trouncing Mount Hebron, 18-43, and Atholton, 20-42. Atholton defeated the Vikings, 23-34.

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