Severna Park eager to reassert its supremacy Last season's losses to Arundel stung Falcons

Cross country preview

September 07, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

To say that Arundel's sweep of the titles at last year's Anne Arundel County Championships didn't sit well with the members of Severna Park's cross country team is an understatement.

The Falcons were fuming, and still are -- especially Severna Park's girls team, which has hat-head from having worn the county crown 11 of last 13 years.

"It was a dark day that day when Arundel took the two county championships away, and we've been working hard to get it back," said Severna Park coach Ed Purpura. "The kids have had a real empty feeling ever since it was taken away from us. We've been looking forward to battle with them ever since last November."

Severna Park will run into Arundel later this month at the Hereford Bull Run, but the date circled on the Falcons' calendars Oct. 23, when the county's 11 public school teams square off at Annapolis High.

"Severna Park won the boys and girls last year, and we won both the year before," said Purpura. "We have improved a lot and are looking forward to seeing who is the best this year."

Here's a school-by-school look at the teams:

* Severna Park: Five girls return from a team that won its 11th region title last season.

The Falcons' boys team has six of its top seven harriers back. Seniors Chris Robey and Matt Ostrye and junior Bill Norris and Ed Heinlein give the Falcons a formidable boys pack and holdovers Bonnie Sowa, Becky Chwan, Kelly Nugent and Mary Taitt have are all healthy and anxious to show their progress.

* Arundel: Coach Ralph Luce was proud to announce "everyone is back" on his county and region champion boys team. More important is the fact that eight of the 12 returnees have run the mile in less than five minutes.

Seniors Ben Baxter, Ryan Morse and Greg Oberson and juniors Aaron Kazer, Todd Warner and Chris Dyer round out the Wildcats' top six boys, and Luce says he has five others who can fill the No. 7 spot.

The Wildcats lost county Runner of the Year Jen Ng to graduation and another of its top girls to an automobile accident but return four proven runners: junior Angela Huegel and sophomores Amanda Rahorn, Mindy Thompson and Sheene Washington.

* Meade: Last year's boys county Runner of the Year, senior John Thomas, returns and will try for his second county title. Pushing Thomas will be teammates Ray Bryson, Tom Hughes, '' Matt Lewis, Quinton Roberts, Tim Sherman and Dave Thomas, John's younger brother.

Meade's girls team is thin in numbers and experience.

* Broadneck: The boys team may still be a year away from making a serious run at the county title. The Bruins' top seven runners are all juniors. Leading Broadneck's Class of 1999 is Mike Rolland, a member of the Bruins' county and region champion 3,200-meter relay team, Brant Carnwath and Jermaine Tai.

"Arundel and Severna Park are the powers on the boys side, but I think we can run with them," said Broadneck coach Jerry Kiple. "It should be interesting year."

Kiple isn't as optimistic about his girls team's chances but has high individual hopes for seniors Amanda Schmidt, Meredith Alig, Erin Smith and Farrah Hall.

* South River: The boys are seeking their fourth straight Class 2A East region title; the Seahawks girls are going for their second straight region crown. Junior Mike Moraz and sophomore Zandi Marinzel will lead each of their respective boys and girls team. Moraz will get some help from Richard Howard, a transfer from St. Mary's, and veteran Nick Jones and Meredith Hennen and Emily Gwinn will help the Seahawks in their quest to repeat as region champs.

* Annapolis: The boys team has no seniors, and Panthers' coach Tom Neiles will rely on underclassmen Carlos Luceno, Ben Morris, Martin Dandy and Ville Vaino, a native of Finland. The Panthers' female contingent is led by junior Misha Bilyeu and seniors Kerry Miller, Jen Svara and Christine Mowrey.

* Glen Burnie: This girls team has one of the county's better one-two punches with senior Kristy Klima, county champ as a sophomore, and Katie Sloan in the lineup.

* Old Mill: Senior Jeremy Keil is the top returning boy and is being challenged by teammates Ryan Boetig and Jason Crimi. The Patriots girls team, if you can call it that, has just four runners. Setting the pace for that squad will be senior Meg Margolis.

* Chesapeake: The numbers are down on coach John Maguire's girls team, which is led by seniors Lisa McLain and Kristina Sturm.

Chesapeake's boys team is deeper than ever. Its front-runners include junior Adam Bange and seniors Shawn Walbeck and Steve Zichos.

* North County: Brad Wisniewski will set the boys' pace, and sprinters Jessica Pratt and Sarah Zaruba will represent the Knights in the girls races.

* Northeast: The program grew from just five runners last year to 22 this season, giving coach Tom Clowes reason to believe his team will "surprise some people."

* Archbishop Spalding: The girls team is the most promising of the county's three private school cross country programs. The Cavaliers, who compete in the increasingly competitive Association of Independent Schools, are paced by junior Catherine Wood, who finished 18th at last year's AIS championship meet, and sophomore Grace Wetzel.

Spalding's boys team, which, like St. Mary's and Severn, competes in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference, is hoping to make some strides in only its second season of cross country.

Brad Swift, a junior transfer from Arundel, will lead the Cavs' young boys team along with Brian Merkl and Tim Brown.

* St. Mary's: Diane Elliott says she has a "strong and supportive team." Among her hopefuls are Bob West, Chris Sabbatini, Ray Fallas, Keely Corboy, Alessandra Salatti and Lexie Elliott.

Pub Date: 9/07/97

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