Surprises abound for runners chasing county's crowns Titles go to Hebron girls, 'cat boys, McCulloch, Zaron

Cross country

October 24, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Glenelg's Beth Santilli was inadvertently left out of the results of the Howard County Cross Country Championships that appeared in Friday's editions. Santilli placed third in 19 minutes, 23 seconds. The Sun regrets the error.

It was out with the old and in with the new during at the Howard County Cross Country Championships at Howard Community College yesterday.

Centennial tried to win its third straight girls title. Failed. Mount Hebron jumped up and bit the Eagles with a 53-58 upset victory.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Senior Beth Santilli of Glenelg tried to come back from an injury and repeat as the individual girls champion. Failed. Converted Centennial volleyball player Suzy McCulloch ran away with it in a strong 18 minutes, 39 seconds.

Atholton tried to repeat as boys champions. Failed. Wilde Lake, packed tighter than a can of sardines, placed its top five runners among the top 12 to scoot away from Atholton, 43-56.

And Mike Zaron of Atholton, second last season but who hadn't lost to a county runner this season, asserted himself as this fall's top dog with a seven-second victory in 16: 19 over teammate Nick Barresi during a race in which seven runners broke the 17-minute barrier.

First, the Mount Hebron upset: The Vikings had lost to Centennial in head-to-head competition three times this season and beaten the Eagles once when Centennial was below strength.

"It was very satisfying to see the girls run the way we knew they were capable," coach Mark Agnew said. "They showed heart and caught people at the end."

Sophomore sensation Kate Frande finished second, leading the Vikings to their second county title. Sheri Hyson (11th), Mia Molfino (12th), Sierra Charon (13th) and Jamie Hilliard (15th) finished the Vikings' scoring.

"We had some injuries earlier this season, so we thought we could improve," said assistant coach Kevin George. "We have a very deep team with no seniors, and our top five ran personal bests."

McCulloch, who swims 2 miles a day before school and works out at the gym every day following cross country practice, won easily for Centennial, by 28 seconds over Frande.

"I started slowly and Beth [Santilli] was leading until the woods," said McCulloch, running her first season of cross country. "I kept looking back on the turns, and Frande was enough to scare me."

Before yesterday, McCulloch won the Griffith, Hereford and Howard County invitationals and was second at both Georgetown and Goucher. She was also the second female finisher overall in the Columbus Chase 10K on Oct. 12.

"We'll see Mount Hebron two more times, in regionals and states," Centennial coach Al Dodds said. "It's hard to stay on top when you're the team to beat, and I commend Mount Hebron on their focus. Our girls all ran personal bests, but Mount Hebron ran better."

Wilde Lake's boys won regionals and states last season but could not win the county title a year ago, losing to Atholton. So yesterday's victory over runner-up Atholton was sweet.

"We've never won all three titles in one season," Wilde Lake coach Charlie Shoemaker said. "Now we've got a chance."

Wilde Lake has won three of the last four county titles. Its pack included Ben Coffman (fifth), Aaron Blum (seventh), Joey Yahr (eighth), Jansen McMillan ( 11th) and Jason Eichmiller (12th).

Zaron won his fifth race this season to go with three seconds and one third.

Pub Date: 10/24/97

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