As usual, Severna Park is the one Depth offsets youth for defending champions

Cross country preview

September 08, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Severna Park's dominance of cross country in Anne Arundel reached the pinnacle last fall when the Falcons swept all four team titles at the county championships.

The Falcons are poised to repeat the feat and few opposing coaches doubt their ability.

"We have a young team this year," said Severna Park coach Ed Purpura, who was named The Sun's All-Metro Coach of the Year after leading his girls team to its 10th consecutive county crown. "But we have good depth and that always gives you a shot."

Showing the way for the Falcons' young, deep and talented girls team are seniors Anne Crespo and Kim Chwan, sophomores Becky Chwan and Bonnie Sowa and freshman Mary Taitt. Severna Park's boys team was hit hard by graduation but the presence of sophomore Sam Krehnbrink, junior Chris Robey and senior Chris Heron should soften the blow.

Arundel's boys and girls squads are both much improved over last season. The Wildcats boys contingent, which finished second in the county last year, are led by Todd Warner, Ben Baxter, Ryan Morse, Aaron Kazer and Michael Galant-Gardner.

Jennifer Ng, whom Arundel coach Ralph Luce predicts will be county champ, will lead the girls along with Valeria McDowell, Heather Bartsch, Sarah DeBoer and Jessica Jackoski.

"I assume Severna Park is the best in the county but maybe we'll beat them," said Luce.

Annapolis' girls team poses the biggest threat to Severna Park. Back for Panthers are Misha Bilyeu and Alison Ross.

The Annapolis boys are without Ian Ross, last year's county Runner of the Year, and will have to make do with Carlos Luceno, Martin Dandy and Dave Manning.

The county's most decorated runner last season, Kristy Klima, returns for Glen Burnie and Gophers coach Tony Benicewicz says he expects her to "clean house" again this season.

Klima, an All-Metro performer and the county's female Runner of the Year as sophomore last season, will lead a small group of rookies this fall, while Steve Livingston, a senior, will set the pace for Glen Burnie's boys.

All-County performer Jon Mikeska is back for Old Mill and is the early favorite to win the boys county title. Mikeska should be pushed by teammates Ian Turmelle and Michael Rafferty.

Sarah Ouslander and Jamie Pabak return for the Pats girls team and are joined by newcomer Mindy Hope.

"We picked up close to 25 new runners and most are young and new to the sport, but they have been working together," said Old Mill coach Gary Bater.

Broadneck coach Jerry Kiple had the largest turnout he's had in his 10 years at the helm for the Bruins but, unfortunately, most of the 61 runners are extremely young and inexperienced. A few that aren't are Tim Dugan, Ben Helbig, Amanda Schmidt, Carolyn Kosicki, Erin Smith, Meredith Alig and Danielle Delancy.

"I'm excited about this team," said Kiple. "My girls and boys can be there at the end. By October and November, we'll be ready."

South River's boys should excel at the Class 2A level with Jeremy Schropp, Eric Arnold and Mike Moraz leading the pack. The Seahawks girls team is young and will rely on underclassmen Zandi Marinzel and Erin Fisher and senior Sarah Wood.

Jason Pardoe, Brad Wisniewski, Eric Larson and Sachin Singh will set the pace for North County's boys contingent, while sprinters Jessica Pratt and Sarah Zaruba lead the girls.

"On the boys side, there's no telling what can happen if we put it all together," said Knights coach Ed Harte.

For the first time in five years, Chesapeake will try to get through a cross country season without a Stevens on the roster. With Stephanie Stevens running for the Naval Academy and brother Ryan competing for UMBC, the Cougars will turn to All-County performer Justin Wooldridge for leadership.

Meade's boys team returns All-County selection John Thomas, who finished seventh last year at the county meet. Mustangs coach John Dockstader welcomes the return of Tom Hughes, Ray Bryson and Aaryn Baltutis and has convinced wrestlers Ace Cusidio and Ray Pumphry to run for his team this fall.

Meade's girls team returns seniors Harmony Wiltfong, Bryn Tweedy, Tara Jones and they are joined by newcomers Taylor Holgrem, Tai Burton and Tetra Lewis.

For the first time in a few years, Northeast will field a cross country team. Coach Tom Clowes is turning to juniors Paul Kelm and Jed Lurz to lead the boys and is looking to freshman Amanda McIntyre and Jana Pechacek, a transfer from Linganore, to pace the Eagles girls team.

St. Mary's girls team, which has been tagging along with the Association of Independent Schools the past two years, is finally a member of the AIS. Leading the Saints in their inaugural season in the league are juniors Keely Corboy and Audra Oliver and freshman Mary Pat Meeney.

The Saints boys team, which won its first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title last year, returns seniors Jonathan Olmstead and Ed Ruitberg and junior Rich Howard.

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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