Bel Air girls capture 1st title in 17 years Wright boys in upset

Mustangs' new faces edge favored 'Cats by 1

Cross country

October 17, 1997|By Bill Blewett | Bill Blewett,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Bel Air won the girls team title -- its first in 17 years -- in the Harford County Cross Country Championships yesterday in Bel Air. But the favored Bel Air boys team lost by one point to a squad of newcomers from C. Milton Wright.

Wright runners extended their string of individual titles as Kelly Coogan won the girls race in record time and Jeff Tolson won the boys race.

Coogan, a senior who is undefeated this season, went to the front of the pack and set a swift, even pace, building her lead to almost 400 yards. She completed the 3.1 miles in 18: 45 to break the course record by 30 seconds.

"She wanted the course record so badly," said Wright girls coach Barbara Johnson. "She ran a more even pace this time, and she just shattered it." Coogan's previous best on the course was 19: 33.

Bel Air's Megan Openhym, Meredith Eyler, and Tara Rossi took second, third and fourth, respectively, behind Coogan. Megan Yonych was 13th and Hillary Kahoe 17th to give coach Jim Otte's Bobcats the win with 36 points.

Fallston, led by Leanne Haslbeck in fifth, took the runner-up trophy with 45 points. Wright was third at 70.

Boys race

Tolson, a senior in his first year of cross country, gave Wright its ninth straight boys individual title. He led from the start and drew away from his pursuers over the last mile to finish in 17: 39.

"I can finally say I'm glad I quit football after this," said Tolson, a varsity wide receiver last fall.

The Bel Air boys, who appeared headed for victory at mid-race, placed three runners in the top five: Christian Honig second, Brad Stone fourth, and Kris Traut fifth.

But the Mustangs eked out an unexpected victory as Peter Berglind, a Swedish exchange student, finished third; Jose Pedraza, a freshman who joined the team a month ago, placed ninth; and Jacob Still, a first-year runner as a sophomore, was 11th.

Joe Updegrove, the only returnee among Wright's top five, finished 12th to complete the Wright scoring and give coach Bob Johnson his 10th team title in 11 years.

Wright scored 36 points, and Bel Air 37. Fallston, paced by Nick Sayers in sixth, took third with 84.

Pub Date: 10/17/97

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