McCoach gets most out of youth 1992 ALL-BALTIMORE COUNTY/CITY CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS Boys Coach of Year

November 16, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Instilling confidence in young runners was the major goal of Calvert Hall cross country coach Jim McCoach when he took over the program four years ago.

"They [Calvert Hall] had just won the championship the year before, so the program was entering a transition," said McCoach, 49, whose team captured this year's Maryland Scholastic Association crown, earning him The Baltimore Sun's Baltimore County/City Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year honors.

"We had the numbers, but we came down from the top form of the previous season. It was time to work hard, to climb back up the ladder."

With three underclassmen among his top five runners, McCoach found himself in a similar position this year -- albeit with several returnees from a squad that placed fourth in the MSA a year ago.

Yet their relative youth was tempered by McCoach's years of experience -- 18 seasons at Dundalk and stints at Sparrows Point and Dulaney.

Among this year's highlights were the Cardinals' unbeaten dual-meet campaign against MSA opponents and a runner-up finish against then-No. 1-ranked C. Milton Wright in the Anne Arundel County Invitational.

The meet, which included seven-time Baltimore County champion Perry Hall, had to be decided by a tiebreaker.

The Cardinals' best performance of the year, however, was followed a week later by their worst -- a seventh-place finish in the Harford County Invitational behind C. Milton Wright, Perry Hall and league-rival Curley.

"That was a mistake and I took all of the blame for their performance there," said McCoach. "My kids were flat, and I thought they'd be, but we had come so close to beating C. Milton Wright a week earlier, that I went, like a dummy. What I felt in my gut would happen, did. And I apologized to the kids for not thinking more of them."

Pack running was the emphasis for this year's team, which was ranked as high as No. 2 in the Baltimore Sun poll.

Kyle Martin, a junior, and sophomore Jonathan Detrich were the Nos. 1 and 2 runners throughout the season. But on any given day, the next best runner could have been Kyle's twin brother Kurt, sophomore Dave Maxwell, or seniors Rick Stewart, Kevin Savarese or Tony Anderson, McCoach said.

"How good they were depended on how hard they worked. And I had a group of young kids who turned out to be tough as nails," said McCoach.

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