Centennial boys win first 3A title since '80 Cross country

November 14, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

Centennial cross country coach Al Dodds said he had little doubt that his top three runners would be near the front in yesterday's state cross country championships at Hereford High School.

But it was the Eagles' fourth and fifth runners who made all the difference, helping Centennial capture the Class 3A boys title for the first time since 1980.

"I'm always pretty sure that my top three are going to be right there, but it sort of hinges on the four and five runners," said Dodds. "I figured we'd finish anywhere from first to third depending on how they performed, and they really came through today."

Kevin Hill led the Eagles, finishing fourth in 16 minutes, 11 seconds, and was followed by teammates Bobby VanAllen (seventh), Steve Olenick (17th), Eric Myers (21st) and Tom Mazcko (33rd).

Centennial won with 79 points, beating out C. Milton Wright (95) and defending champion Walt Whitman (100).

Dodds said he expected C. Milton Wright to present a stiffer challenge, but that the ability of his team to pass Mustang runners in the final mile of the three-mile course, coupled with a disappointing 11th-place finish by their top runner, Brian Harris, made the difference.

"We knew we had to pick off as many C. Milton Wright guys as possible," said Hill, who caught the Mustangs' Steve Donahue on the final straightaway. "I didn't feel very good, but I saw him and I had to do it for the team."

The Centennial girls also had a solid race, finishing third (92 points), behind Linganore (70) and Walter Johnson (90). Kari Meyer led the Eagles' effort with a seventh-place finish, but was no challenge for Sally Glynn of Walter Johnson. Glynn's winning time of 17:24 shattered Dulaney graduate Amanda White's two-year-old course record by 16 seconds.

For other county schools, though, the news wasn't as good.

Greg Curtis of Oakland Mills, who had hoped to challenge for the title after finishing fifth last year, got off to a slow start and came in third in the 2A race, 40 seconds behind winner Jamie Davies of Catonsville.

After getting off to a poor start, Curtis found himself well back in the pack at the half-mile mark. But the junior saved his best for the second half of the race, passing at least a dozen runners between the one- and two-mile marks.

By the time he emerged from the woods, Curtis had moved up to fourth, but he was too far back to catch Davies, who won the race in 15:52.

"I got out kind of slow, much slower than I wanted," said Curtis, who finished in 16:32. "Davies just got out so well. He won that race in the first mile."

Curtis, along with teammates Steve Petro (13th) and Eric Larsen (17th), helped Oakland Mills to a second-place finish, five points behind champion Allegany.

For coach Steve Carnahan it was a bit of a disappointment after the Scorpions won the Class 2A title last year.

"It appeared as though everyone ran a solid race, but no one ran a spectacular race," said Carnahan. "To win in this kind of a

meet, you need a couple kids to come up with spectacular performances."

Atholton, led by Mike Strickland (12th), captured fifth place.

Another disappointment for Howard County came in the Class 2A girls race, where defending champion Alicia Adams of Glenelg lost to Catonsville's Bridget Olp by 16 seconds after running neck-and-neck with her through most of the race.

Faisal Smith of Wilde Lake placed sixth in the Class 1A boys race, helping the Wildecats to a sixth-place finish overall.

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