C.M. Wright has talent to run past field again Harris will lead the way for Mustangs 1993 HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY PREVIEW

September 19, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

Bigger, faster, stronger and perhaps better. That's the outlook for this year's C. Milton Wright boys cross country team, which doesn't exactly bode well for the rest of the teams in the county.

Last year, the Mustangs placed five runners among the first six in totaling 19 points in the county championships, then went on to win their regional and finish second in state Class 3A.

Senior Brian Harris, whose only 1992 loss was in the state meet, and who was the All-Metro Boys Runner of the Year, is the top veteran. He will be joined by senior Steve Donahue, third in last year's county race, and junior Chris Parkinson, among the holdovers.

Others include senior Ryan Lesh, junior Jason Evans and sophomore Dave Warnick. One newcomer is freshman Eric Benjamin, who has a good running background.

Bel Air coach Alan Dean, returns two seniors from last year's county runner-up entry who were also on the school's regional championship team two years ago. Mike Anderson, a regional champion at 800 meters on the track last spring, and Jeff Kuch will provide the leadership, and Dean expects to back them up with some solid newcomers.

At Aberdeen, coach Leroy Jones has three returnees -- juniors Chad Bratten and Julian Olivares and sophomore Jeff Gerring -- plus freshmen Dan Moeller and Andrew Wilson.

James Fortier, one of three Edgewood senior veterans, is his team's top runner, backed by classmates Matt Brock and Phillip Woodbury. Additional support is expected for coach Don Todaro's squad from junior Willie Parrish and sophomore Kevin Reich, with the remainder mostly untested freshmen.

First-year coach Donnie Mickey's Fallston team won its opening meet with North Harford, Havre de Grace, and Harford Tech, with a group dominated by underclassmen. They included juniors Ben Bohl and Jason Sayers (who were 1-2 in the meet) and Todd Weller, and sophomore Mike Martinek.

Senior Larry Belcher, a state meet qualifier last year, is the top runner at Harford Tech, where coach Bill Verity has another holdover in sophomore Mike Knefel, and a solid newcomer in sophomore David Grant. The chief problem is getting the fourth and fifth runners closer to the pack than the current gap of three or four minutes.

Alan Hitchins, a senior who finished sixth in his region and 11th in the state meet last year, has made some major improvement in the off-season, according to coach Alex Spooner, and once again will be his team's top runner. Senior Dennis Bolen and junior Michael Hitchings return, along with John Hawkins, who ran two years ago, then missed last season with a back injury.

Freshman Rodney Bolen has been a pleasant surprise with his strong early-season work and is expected to be among the first five. Two first-year candidates are junior Mike Querns and sophomore Jody Hochstein.

With 13 candidates, John Carroll coach Bernie Mullin has nearly doubled the number of a year ago and includes holdovers Joe Thompson and Larry Noto, who are both steady seniors, plus junior Brian Basener, the team's top runner the last two years.

Complementing this group is sophomore newcomer Lee Donelson, plus freshmen Joey Peterson, Tony Leiter, Mike Williams and Chris Boyle.

At Joppatowne, coach Greg Thompson expects to put out a team that has a strong first five of holdovers from last year's state Class 1A championship team, including senior defending individual 1A state champion Bob Simmons, senior Keith Phillips and junior Jay Lawhorne. Other holdovers expected to help fill the gaps are juniors Ramy Wahba and Darren Swift, and sophomore Steve Morgan.

The Mariners defeated Edgewood and Bel Air in the opening meet, a different beginning from a year ago, when the team started slowly. This year, Thompson sees harder training as the difference, as the team looks to be competitive in the county race.

North Harford will send out an experienced team, with several runners in their third varsity seasons. Included are seniors Dan Marcum and Bryan Hagan, and junior Russ Sliger.

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