They're running after Old Mill, Severna Park Teams ready to challenge defending boys, girls champs Cross country

September 13, 1993|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Old Mill cross country coach Gary Bater likes his team's chances this fall, but he expects more schools to be in contention for titles when the 11 Anne Arundel County teams meet for the championship Oct. 29 at Annapolis High.

"Most of the teams' numbers are up, so I think there will be more competitive teams in the county than there have been for years," said Bater. "There are at least five teams that will be really strong, so it should be exciting."

Here's a look at what they have and what they're hoping to do:

Annapolis Panthers

The Panthers girls have junior Kristen Nicolini, the defending county and region titlist.

Nicolini will be pushed by sophomores Becky Morris and Susan deWolff and freshmen Darla Stafford and Alison Ross. Rounding out the Panthers' squad are sophomores Jessie Rhines and Emily Sachs.

"We should be strong," said coach Ken Goncz. "The key for us is that the other girls run strongly. I can count on Kristen, but you need five people to score in cross country."

And what about Nicolini's chances this season?

"Kristen has got to be a favorite to win the county and even the states," said Goncz. "Unless, of course, there's someone out there that I don't know about."

Sophomore Ian Ross will lead the male contingent, but on his heels will be junior Mike Paszkiewicz and senior Josh Letourneau. Not far behind is a pair of freshmen, Mike Krug and Jack O'Brien.

"We're a real young team, so I'm more interested in how we improve individually at the beginning of the season, and I'm not too worried about meet performance," said coach Brian Funk. "I'd like to see us improve as a team and move on from there. If we can do that, by the end of the season, I think we may surprise some people."

Arundel Wildcats

Senior Geoff Warren is poised to defend his county and region titles, but it's the Wildcats' depth that has coach Ralph Luce eager to reach the postseason.

"Basically, we're a solid team, and our top 14 runners are all pretty seasoned," said Luce, whose boys team took fourth at states last season. "I have at least 10 guys who can run in my top seven, so I'm pretty happy about the year."

Warren's running mates this season will include junior Kevin Raymond, a transfer from Meade, as well as holdovers, seniors Rob Sutton and Jason Birch and juniors Tony Steele, Blair Morse and Tim Kelly. Sophomore Mike Rogers is a newcomer.

As for the girls squad, all Luce will say is that one exists.

"We have a team," Luce said. "The school is fielding a team."

Broadneck Bruins

Coach Gerald Kiple hopes his teams benefit from the move down to Class 3A.

The boys finished fourth in the county last season, and Broadneck is fielding its largest girls squad, with 18 members.

Junior Mike Bangert, seniors Jere Hartman, Pete Ormsby and Newton Kershner and sophomores Dave Schilling and Jon Carnes ran last year, and Kiple will rely on that group to help the Bruins keep pace in a new region that includes Howard County 3A powers Mount Hebron and Centennial.

Senior Becky Holmes and juniors Kim Nelson and Nicole Weisberger, along with senior Robin Leventry, junior Mary Williams and sophomore Coleen Rossiter, are expected to lead the girls team.

"We got a young group of girls that we can work with," said Kiple, who will be assisted by his son, Reese. "I think they'll do well this year, but they'll be around for a while."

Chesapeake Cougars

Coach John Maguire had 35 runners come out for his boys and girls teams, but what excites him the most is the number of seniors who are back for their final season.

The boys team, which finished third in the region last season, is bulging with seniors, including Brian Miller,Shawn Stallings, Tom Warren and Tom Latta. Rounding out the squad is returning junior Ryan Stevens, who Maguire says is "leading the pack."

"I have a nice team this year," said Maguire. "I think they are a county contender."

Seniors Molly Bean and Lynn Johns will lead a girls team that Maguire describes as "coming of age." Sophomore Stephanie Stevens, Ryan's sister, and juniors Casey Dribitko and Kim Johnson have shown promise.

"I think they'll be in the thick of things," said Maguire. "We're far superior to last year."

Glen Burnie Gophers

For the first time in school history, the Gophers will field a girls team, and second-year coach Tony Benicewicz is confident that the squad will do more than show up.

"The girls team is going to be a solid team," said Benicewicz. "It's coming together very nicely, and they should be competitive."

Junior Becky McDivitt returns for the Gophers after finishing fourth in the county and 18th at states last season. She'll be joined by juniors Missy Hennessy and Kathy Monahan and sophomores Ann Kollar and Heidi Schneider.

The boys team has one of the county's premier sprinters, senior Chuck Grubb, as well as three-year veterans Jeremy Munro and Kevin Sutton.

Meade Mustangs

Coach John Dockstader will work with what he describes as "a whole new crew" this season.

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