Look out, Class 3A, here come the South Carroll boys.
Two days after finishing second at the tough Westminster Invitational, the Cavaliers turned in another strong performance to edge Wilde Lake for first place in yesterday's Howard County Invitational at Howard Community College.
Coach Rob Pennington's squad put five runners in the top 27 -- including winner Steve McClearn and fifth-place finisher Matt Adami -- to score 73 points. Runner-up Wilde Lake had 75.
"I wasn't even looking at them," said Centennial coach Al Dodds. "They're awfully tough."
McClearn led the way with an unusual victory. He and David Glynn of Walter Johnson High battled throughout the 3-mile course, but McClearn trailed by a few yards heading into the final 100 yards.
Glynn -- whose sister Sally was one of the state's best during her career -- misjudged the finish line and suddenly stopped with about 50 yards left. McClearn shot past him, and Glynn started up but it was too late. The South Carroll runner finished in 16 minutes, 22 seconds -- just one second ahead.
"I got lucky," said McClearn. "I feel badly for him."
Said Glynn: "I thought it was the finish line. There's a finish sign right there, and I should've seen it. Mentally it's tough, but I've got to get past it."
South Carroll, without its No. 4 runner Dan Tompkins (illness), got strong efforts from Steve Hammel (14th), Adam McCready (26th) and Robert Mead (27th).
Wilde Lake also turned in a solid effort, putting its five scoring runners from 12th through 19th. Jason Eichmiller (12th), Aaron Blum (13th), Kurt Mueller (15th), Ayaz Hasan (16th) and Joey Yahr (19th) formed a strong pack.
Centennial (83) got the win on the girls' side, topping Walter Johnson (107) as Suzy McCulloch (18: 58) led the way with a 26-second victory over Damascus' Hannah Benjamin. Kate Frande of Mount Hebron took third in 19: 36.
Sarah Ordaz (fifth), Neha Amin (14th), Melinda Long (31st) and Stacey Ausfresser (34th) rounded out the Centennial top five. The Eagles won the county and region titles last year, but Dodds likes this team.
"This is the strongest girls team I've had since I've been coaching here," said Dodds, who started in 1989. "We just have more talent, and we haven't had a No. 1 like Suzy in awhile."
Pub Date: 9/20/97