Crowd of teams to chase for titles Wilde Lake boys, girls aim to defend state crowns

Cross country preview

September 07, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

State champion Wilde Lake will battle defending county champ Atholton and up-and-coming River Hill for the boys county cross country title.

Girls state champion Wilde Lake, two-time defending county champion Centennial and county runner-up Mount Hebron return most or all of their starting teams and expect to duel for the county title. But the girls division is filled with quality teams, including Glenelg and River Hill.

Atholton

The defending county boys champions are led by returning All-County seniors Mike Zaron (second county, third region, sixth state) and Nick Barresi (fourth county, first region, seventh state).

Add seniors Luke Kim (16th county) and Joe Lamonte (19th county, 30th state) and junior Ed Lopez (29th county), and second-year coach Pat Saunderson has a formidable lineup with which to defend the Raiders' county title and try to improve upon last season's third-place Class 2A state finish.

"We're not as deep as last year, but hope to be there with Wilde Lake and River Hill at the top," Saunderson said.

Senior Wendy Sare (21st county) is the top returning runner on the girls team that includes senior Leanne Kearns (36th county) and sophomore Nicole McMorrin (46th county). Junior Becky Peterson is also one of the team's better runners.

Centennial

The boys graduated All-Metro Howard County Runner of the Year Jeff Olenick (first county, first state) and Eric Myers (second county, 10th states), so the Eagles have big shoes to fill.

Senior Erik Forni (11th county) leads a team that must depend upon pack running this season. Included in that pack will be senior Aaron Spencer (18th county), junior Mike Renzi (30th county) and seasoned freshman Sayer French, whose older brother, Mike, was a onetime standout at Centennial.

The girls team, shooting for its third straight county title, returns its top five runners and adds potential standout Susie McCullogh, a former volleyball player who was Centennial's best distance runner during outdoor track season.

Top returnees include three All-County performers, senior Sarah Ordaz (fourth county, second region, 14th state), junior Neha Amin (fifth county, first region, 29th state) and senior Melinda Long (eighth county, fourth region, sixth state). The Eagles finished eighth in state Class 3A meet but drop to Class 2A this season.

Chapelgate

First-year coach Jeremy Alder thinks his boys team, a complete team for the first season, can be good in one or two years as it competes in the MIAA B Division.

Freshman Matt Bryan is the fastest runner and another freshman, Josh Lindauere, brings a great attitude.

Two returning runners are sophomore Steve Guilford and junior Aiden Kachemov.

The girls team is also young and features freshman Kelly Moore and sophomore returnee Kristin Zang. Lori Avolio is another promising freshman.

Glenelg

Coach Roger Volrath's boys team graduated seven seniors after finishing sixth in the county. Sophomore Brian Selmer (23rd county) and senior Bryan Stepp (52nd county) are returnees. The team will consist mainly of freshmen and sophomores.

Boosted by the return of county champion and County Runner of the Year Beth Santilli, a senior who ran for River Hill last season but for Glenelg her first two seasons, the girls team looks solid and experienced.

Santilli, who won four state gold medals during indoor track, but missed the outdoor states with a foot injury (stress fracture) finished first in the regional and third in the state and won two invitationals.

She is joined by seniors Elizabeth Dodmead (20th county) and Joanna Bissell (15th county) and juniors Kirsten Hogan (35th county), Jessica Nicola ( 40th county) and captain Blair Heinke.

Glenelg Country

The Dragons won the boys MIAA B Conference championship with an 8-0 record and coach Tery Cassidy said he expects his team to win it again.

Top runner Jon Bullock, a junior, has finished fourth in the WISCC championships two straight seasons. Senior Eric Greenberg is running strong. Mike Shipper is a senior returnee. Senior Chris Shematek and freshman Hunter Eden round out the top five.

This is the school's first full girls team and two returnees, junior Laura Kolosvary and senior Kate Cox, should lead the way. Katherine Cape is an experienced runner who transferred from Pallotti. And three freshmen, Mia Kelly, Maria Pecklo and Amy Grear, show promise as runners.

Hammond

Larry Roberts, coaching his 21st season of cross country at Hammond, said that Steve Rivas (33rd county) is his best sophomore prospect in many years and should finish among the top five or 10 in the county.

Senior Josh Law (45th county) and junior Sam Katz won't be far behind Rivas, Roberts said.

Roberts has his largest girls team ever at 13. The seniors are Gina Holmes (50th county), Gena Sommers, Kristy Loisel (58th county) and Ericka Kaufman.

"We're enthusiastic and well-prepared with summer running, so we should be stronger," Roberts said.

Howard

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