Crowd of contenders takes aim at county titles Redistricting heightens the level of competition

Cross country preview

September 08, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Two-time defending county cross country champion Wilde Lake aims to make it three straight boys titles.

Last season's county runner-up Centennial, however, has a team that might return the title to the Eagles who last won it in 1993.

Then there's Atholton, Glenelg, Howard and River Hill, all of which have enough talent to challenge those two.

The race is too close to call.

The girls championship promises to be equally competitive and unpredictable.

Defending county champion Centennial seems to face its stiffest challenge from first-year school River Hill.

In a streak of nearly unprecedented optimism, however, coaches at Glenelg, Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills also tout their teams as legitimate contenders for the title.


Three former soccer players, juniors Nick Barresi, Joe Lamonti and Mike Zaron join seniors Jeff Bailey (33rd county) and Alex Buell (26th county) for an unproven but talented team.

Atholton athletic director Pat Saunderson replaces longtime cross country coach Earl Lauer, who moved to River Hill, and Saunderson has 25 on varsity.

Atholton, which drops from Class 3A to 2A this season, finished third in the county, but graduated top runner Zach Tropf (fourth county).

The Raider girls team graduated last season's Howard County Runner of the Year, Dana Strickland, and lost its second best runner, Kelli Bloch, to River Hill.

The top runners are junior Wendy Sare and senior Amanda Lipscomb (24th county).


The Class 3A Eagles finished second in the county and third in the state, and return seniors Jeff Olenick (seventh county, 17: 00), Eric Myers (19th county) and Steve Gluck (27th county), and junior Erik Forni.

Olenick, an all-county selection, finished second in the Class 3A East Region and ninth in the state.

Coach All Dodds has a squad of 34 boys.

The girls team won the county title and also finished third in the state, losing by three points.

Top runner Kari Meyer (third county) has graduated. All-County junior Sarah Ordaz (fourth county), All-County sophomore Neha Amin (sixth county) and junior Rebecca Kulak (14th county) return, however.


Coach Roger Volrath has a small group of 12 boys, of whom the top three are running in a pack. They include senior Chris Selmer (14th county), freshman Brian Selmer (Chris' brother) and junior John Shoffeitt, who switched from football to running.

"We also have four seniors, and we need for at least two of them to step up," Volrath said.

The girls team has only nine runners. But Volrath is optimistic and sees good things happening for what remains an experienced team led by sophomore Kirsten Hogan (16th county) and senior Meggan Brown (19th county). Sophomores Jessica Nicola (26th county) and Blair Heinke (35th county), and junior Elizabeth Dodmead (25th county) complete the top five.

Glenelg finished third in the county last season, and third in the state Class 2A championships.

Glenelg Country

The Dragons won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Division championship last season and return three of their top five runners.

Glenelg, which finished second in the regular-season league standings, lost top runner, Zach Heidepriem, to River Hill.

But sophomore Jon Bullock, who finished fourth in the Washington Independent Schools Cross Country Conference championships, returns along with junior Michael Shippen and senior Kevin Marshall.


The Class 2A Bears finished last at the county championships a year ago, but hope to gain some respect in the boys division with a team of 21 runners.

"I think we have a chance to get into the top half," coach Larry Roberts said.

Senior John Wallace (25th county) is expected to lead the way.

Senior Richard Goodier (49th county) and senior Dan Serpico are other returnees. They will be joined by junior Josh Law, and sophomores Joe Stevens and Matt Pfeifer.

The girls team of 11 runners is led by senior Kim Loisel. Sophomore Amanda Harrison and first-year junior Gina Holmes show promise for the young squad.


The Lions have a new coach, Ed Nawrocki, who replaces Martin Goode.

They return All-County senior Jeff Miner (sixth county) and junior Eric Nawrocki (28th county), the coach's son.

Senior Kapil Bhanot has "made great strides" the new coach said.

The boys finished fourth at the county championships last season, and a stunning fourth at the Class 3A state meet, just four points behind Centennial. The team drops to Class 2A this season because redistricting lowered the school's student population.

The girls lost top runner Cori Doseff (10th county) to Long Reach, but return junior Claire Cannon (49th county) and seniors Chau Lam (34th county) and Karen Hill.

Long Reach

Dale Harriman, a former assistant coach at Centennial and head coach at Poly, is Class 1A Long Reach's first cross country coach. The math teacher has 11 boys and five girls to work with.

The top boys are sophomores Jacob Jennifer and Keith Loudermilk and junior Dean Harris.

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