Westminster again has leg up on Key, Liberty Girls cross country

September 13, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

The stage has been set for another exciting battle between always powerful Westminster and top challenger Francis Scott Key for the Carroll County girls cross country championship.

Like last season, the Eagles will be out to dethrone the five-time defending champion Owls with a lot of individual talent.

Westminster had too much talent and depth for Key last season and the story might be the same this year.

Owls coach Dale Fogelsanger said of the Eagles' bid to unseat Westminster: "It's a good goal for them, but we're as strong as last year and should win."

Francis Scott Key will have to win without long-time coach Jim Bullock, the All-Metro Girls Coach of the Year last season.

Bullock, who built the Eagles from a one-girl team in 1988 to a third-place team in the state 1A meet last season, has resigned.

Bullock told Key athletic director Gary Watson that he wanted to spend more time watching his daughter, Joy, run for the Westminster cross country team and his older daughter, Bonnie, run cross country for Mary Washington College.

Bullock has been replaced by Rich Salkin, who directed the Eagles' boys track team to the state 1A championship last spring.

Liberty, South Carroll and North Carroll will be out to close the gap on Westminster and Key.

Francis Scott Key

Without Bullock as coach, it will be interesting to see how the Eagles react.

There has been one major change in the team, with senior Shannon Hugg taking the No. 1 spot away from much-heralded sophomore Ali Jones.

Hugg outran Jones last Wednesday in a dual meet against Liberty that was won, 18-40, by the Eagles.

Jones was super as a freshman last season, earning Runner of the Year honors in the county. Jones began her whirlwind freshman season by beating Hugg at the Frank Keyser Invitational in Boonsboro Sept. 26 and claiming the top spot on the team from Hugg.

Hugg vowed to get that No. 1 position back, and she did four days ago.

Salkin said he isn't "going to complain" about the luxury of having two runners with the abilities of Hugg and Jones. But the coach said: "Ali and Shannon are going to run against other teams, not each other."

Sophomore Kim Hugg, Shannon's sister, is set at the No. 3 position, and will be followed by juniors Mary Winter and Christine Harner in the expected top five for the Eagles. Jenny Suidikas and Kristy Mirfin also are being counted on to help the Key cause.

Liberty

Senior Jen Myers, a first-team All-Carroll County selection last season, is back for the Lions and healthy after an injury-marred junior year.

Myers overcame shin splints and ankle problems last season to earn a first-team berth. She enters her fourth season for the Lions.

Freshman Reagan Hughes looks as if she will be the No. 2 runner for Liberty and has the potential, according to coach Dan Jones, to be as good as Myers.

Jones is hopeful Liberty can gain some respect with the Westminsters and Francis Scott Keys now that his program is getting more girls out for the team.

There were 12 runners who came out this season, an improvement over past years.

Expected to run third this season is junior Carie Beam, who is in her third season, and senior Katie Sweemer is set at No. 4 in her fourth year on the team.

North Carroll

Carrie Cook and Carrie Deal, both juniors, are dueling for the Panthers' No. 1 spot in their third season on the team.

Second-year coach Sarah Osborn said that Cook has the slight edge now, but Deal is a runner who never gives up.

"We're going to be improved over last year," said Osborn. "But I don't know if that will mean we can move up in the county standings."

Running third for North Carroll will be junior Kathy Harmon, with senior Jen Williams fourth and freshman Courtney Mattingly fifth.

South Carroll

Only nine girls came out for cross country at South Carroll this season, making it tough for the Cavaliers to make a run at anybody this season.

But co-coaches Rob Pennington and Dale Hooper still are recruiting.

Senior Karen Hammel, an All-County honorable mention last season, finds herself in a tight battle with freshman Carrie Braum for the No. 1 position.

Braum was running ahead of Hammel early in practice, but Hooper said it was "still too close to call."

Completing the top five will be seniors Heather Young and Molly Cage and sophomore Stephanie Linton.

Westminster

As usual, the numbers are imposing for the Owls, who had 35 runners out and are favored to win a sixth straight title.

Fogelsanger talks of a top 10 while most other coaches are scratching for a top five.

Fogelsanger said his top-seven runners are 'closer in times" than last season.

Junior Brooke Hammel has taken away the No. 1 spot from senior Joy Bullock in the early going. Bullock was No. 1 last season in all but one race.

Fogelsanger believes Bullock should be helped mentally this season by the presence of her father, Jim, at a lot of meets.

Senior Emily Jones has been a major surprise for Westminster this season, vaulting from 17th in the time trials last year to third this season.

Also, three freshmen have earned top-10 positions for the Owls. Anna Perrine is running sixth, Laurin Wise is ninth and Jennifer Hunt is 10th.

The other top-10 runners are junior Becky Reigert at No. 4, senior Leah Rock at No. 5, junior Courtney Gorsuch at No. 7 and Adrienne McGuire at No. 8.

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