Bilyeu races to a moving county win Arundel, Falcons take team titles

Baxter top boy

Cross country

October 24, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Most of the juniors competing in yesterday's Anne Arundel County Cross Country Championships at Annapolis weren't feeling the same sense of urgency as Annapolis 11th-grader Misha Bilyeu.

After all, even if they came up short, there was always next year.

Not for Bilyeu. With her military family moving to Belgium in January, Bilyeu knew this was her last shot at a county title.

She refused to let it slip away.

The future Brussels resident ran what she called "the best race of my life," edging Broadneck nemesis Amanda Schmidt by one second over the 3.2-mile course.

"I wanted this so bad, I've been thinking about it constantly the last two days," said Bilyeu, who won the race in 20 minutes, 36 seconds. "I knew this was my last chance so I kept telling myself, 'Give it all you got, right now.'"

Arundel senior Ben Baxter won the boys race with a four-second cushion over defending champ John Thomas of Meade. His championship performance helped the Wildcats win their second straight county championship and fourth in five years.

"The team was psyched up for this race, and they ran a smart race," said Arundel veteran coach Ralph Luce. "Ben [Baxter] understood that once he went out front, it had to be for keeps, and it was."

Second-ranked Severna Park literally ran away with the girls team title, courtesy of a 3-4-5-6-7 finish.

"I didn't think anyone could run with us for the team title. We were just trying to get as many girls up in the top 10 as possible," said Falcons coach Ed Purpura. "The more people we can get up top, the better off we'll be at states, and that's our ultimate goal."

Bonnie Sowa led the pack of Falcons across the finish line and was third, followed by teammates Becky Chwan, Melissa Wallace, Jamie Chase and Jenna Nugent.

Arundel made winning its second straight county boys title look easy at it placed five runners in the top 20 and finished with 41 points.

After crossing the finish line with one hand raised, Baxter cheered on teammates Todd Warner (third), Chris Dyer (sixth), Aaron Kazer (11th) and Mike Gardner (20th).

"The individual win is nice, but the team victory is the one I really care about," said Baxter, who turned in a winning time of 17: 08. "We have a lot of seniors, and we really wanted the team championship."

Said Warner: "This whole year I haven't been running well, so this race I just tried to keep up with Ben Morris [of Annapolis]." "I closed my eyes and took the threshold of pain."

Morris, who was pushing the pace early, held on for fourth place.

Matt Ostyre led Severna Park (62) to a second-place finish by placing fifth and fellow-Falcon Chris Robey checked in at ninth.

Mike Rolland's seventh-place effort helped Broadneck (84) finish third and Brad Wisniewski's gutsy performance enabled the North County senior to sneak into the top 10.

Pub Date: 10/24/97

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