Wilde Lake reaches top with sweep at states Centennial's Olenick wins 3A boys championship

Cross country

November 10, 1996|By Bill Blewett | Bill Blewett,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The fortunes of Wilde Lake's cross country teams completed a remarkable ascent yesterday at the state championship meet in Hereford.

The Wildecat harriers, who had never won a state team title, won two of them, capturing both the boys and girls crowns in Class 2A.

In doing so, coach Charles Shoemaker's squads accounted for two-thirds of Howard County's state titles in the meet. Centennial's Jeff Olenick won the individual championship in the boys 3A race.

Not since Earl Lauer's teams at Atholton did so in 1989, has a Howard County school won both the boys and girls championships in the same year.

The Wildecat boys, with 78 points, won with a comfortable 17-point margin over Middletown. The girls team easily beat runner-up Catonsville, 77-104.

Shoemaker, who coordinates the alternative learning program and teaches a class in music at Wilde Lake, began coaching cross country five years ago. Just three years ago, his girls team was unable to field a complete five-runner squad. Fortunes have improved since then, however.

In 1994, his boys team finished second in the state meet. The girls team qualified for the state meet for the first time last fall.

"It has been a pleasure and an honor coaching them," said Shoemaker. "They have worked very hard."

Freshman Ashley Etue paced the girls team, finishing 10th in 22 minutes, 2 seconds. Close behind her were Kelly Zimmerman (11th), Laura Cometa (14th), Marissa Schwartz (22nd), and Kelly Goodwin (31st).

"The girls just really peaked at the right time," said Shoemaker. "This was the best race we put together all year." The girls were fifth in the county meet but captured their first-ever regional title a week later. The boys team, third in the county meet, also peaked at the right time.

Ben Coffman led the Wildecat boys by placing fourth in 17: 21. Aaron Blum (9th), Kurt Mueller (17th), Jason Eichmiller (26th) and Joey Yahr (28th) completed the scoring.

Many of the meet's 890 runners found footing tricky after heavy overnight rains.

Olenick, a 5-foot-7, 115-pound senior, almost fell victim to the mud in the Class 3A race. At the start, he sprinted to the front of the pack of 130 runners, but a half mile into the race, he slipped on a muddy patch.

"I went down to my knees and grabbed a pole," he said. "But I really didn't lose much from that."

Olenick regained the lead but didn't clinch the victory until he climbed a steep hill with a half mile to go.

"I knew if I pushed it up that hill hard I would win," he said. "I'm strong on hills. Any course with hills is a plus with me."

Olenick, who came into the meet expecting to finish in the top five, pulled away to increase his lead to nine seconds over Linagnore's Jonathan Hayes and clock 16: 52.

In the Class 2A boys race, Atholton placed two runners in the top 10. Mike Zaron placed sixth in 17: 22, and Nick Baressi seventh in 17: 32. Joe Lamonte was 30th as the Raiders scored 113 points to take third. Nathan Hornburg of Oakland Mills placed 18th.

In Class 2A girls, Glenelg was fourth as Meggan Brown placed 17th in 22: 39 and Joanna Bissell 19th in 22: 41. Oakland Mills was sixth as Lauren Drake ran 12th in 22: 19 and Dawn Strait 18th in 22: 40.

River Hill made its debut in the state meet an auspicious one, placing third in both the boys and girls Class 1A races. Beth Santilli was third in the girls race at 21: 05. The Hawks' Kelli Bloch was 12th in 22: 12 and Anju Sidhu 18th in 23: 01. River Hill's Zach Heidepriem took third in the 1A boys race in 17: 38, as Mike Prada placed sixth in 17: 58 and Steve Chu, 16th in 18: 42.

In Class 3A, Mia Molfino of Mount Hebron placed ninth in 21: 07 to pace the Vikings to 10th place. Sarah Ordaz, 14th in 21: 29, was the leader of the Centennial girls who placed eighth.

Pub Date: 11/10/96

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