Manning leads Western girls to sweep

October 27, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Western coach Jerry Molyneaux does not put victories at the top of his wish list. Seeing his runners improve their times is what he likes.

Which is why freshman Lolita Manning made him a happy man yesterday.

Manning set a Herring Run Park record -- breaking the one she established just last month -- and No. 1 Western blitzed the field by taking the first seven spots and easily winning the District IX Cross Country Championships.

Manning set a course record last month with a time of 21 minutes over the 3.1-mile course. As her coach wished, she improved in this race -- clocking a 20:03.

"My goals were beating the course record and to improve in my time," said Manning. "I just felt good today."

Molyneaux agreed that Manning was impressive.

"She has talent to build on," said Molyneaux. "She's going to be JTC something, I hope, if she continues making progress."

Manning finished 51 seconds ahead of teammate and defending champion Kimya McCoy -- whose time of 20:54 also beat the old record. Following, in third through seventh places, were: Tamara Clarke (21:02), Somaree Taru (21:16), Elizabeth Johnson (21:37), Gabrielle Butler (22:04) and Crystal Richburg (23:27).

What Molyneaux liked the most was that each Western runner improved from the last time she ran the course. The Doves went out in a pack at the start and stayed that way throughout the race.

"I'm pleased with the top seven, I'm pleased with the times," said Molyneaux. "They're responding to training well."

The sweep of the top spots let Western win with 15 points. Northern captured second with 67 points, and Mervo took third with 99. This is at least the sixth straight year the Doves have won the race.

On the boys side, defending champion Mervo won for the second straight year in a style much like Western's. The Mustangs took five of the top seven spots for 22 points, easily beating second-place Carver (51).

Garfield Thompson led the way for Mervo, winning in 18:07, edging Dayvien Johnson of Carver by three seconds. Thompson went to the front right away and stayed there the entire time.

"[Early in the race] I was seeing who was going to go with me," said Thompson. "I just kept pushing it."

The other four scorers for Mervo were Antoine Collins (third, 18:27), Mike Curtis (fifth, 19:17), James Carter (sixth, 19:58) and Terry McNair (seventh, 20:00). Mervo coach Ron Neal said his team used this meet to prepare for next week's regionals at Oregon Ridge.

"We ran hard Monday, we ran hard Tuesday and usually what you do this week shows up next week," said Neal. "We did all

right [here], but I expected a little better."

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