For Westminster's Holford, wins are virtually automatic Francis Scott Key is only team to crash Westminster's party 1992 ALL-CARROLL COUNTY CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS Boys Runner of the Year

November 16, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Jim Holford has made life a little easier for Westminster cross country coach Jim Gilford the past two seasons.

All Gilford does is push a button each week and Holford goes out and wins almost all the big meets.

"He's like a computer," said Gilford. "He goes into meets as the defending champion with everybody shooting for him and simply beats them all again."

Holford is the first runner to win two straight Central Maryland Conference and two straight Carroll County championships.

That is why he's the runaway winner of The Baltimore Sun's 1992 Carroll County Boys cross country Runner of the Year honor.

After winning the county championship two weeks ago, he walked to a tree near the course and talked quietly with a couple of teammates.

Holford talked about being a "little concerned" when he heard the crowd cheering for teammate Chris Zendgraft, who was making a charge.

"You'll never hear Jim say much," said Gilford. "There are a few times when he'll cut up with his teammates. But that never comes on a race day. It happens when we're all running together during practice or when I have the season-ending lasagna party at my house. Then sometimes it might be hard to shut him up."

Holford found out last summer that he couldn't even enter a road race without being expected to win.

Holford, under strict orders from Gilford to use the race as a workout, paced himself to a leisurely fifth-place finish.

That was fun.

L What happened afterward was a little unsettling for Holford.

Gilford said Holford overheard people saying, "I thought he was so great, but he didn't look that good to me."

The coach said he had advised his top runner not to enter the race.

"I told him road races are for old people," said Gilford. "But he wanted to go, and I told him to take it easy."

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