County runners-up achieve revenge in region title meet Atholton girls miss states for first time since 1978

Class 2A cross country

October 31, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Howard County runner-up Centennial won the much-awaited rematch with girls county champ Mount Hebron at the Class 2A South region championships yesterday.

Running on their home course, the Eagles outscored the Vikings, 34-40, and Centennial's Suzy McCulloch, the county champion, again ran a strong race, winning in 18: 50, a full minute ahead of her nearest competitor, Mount Hebron's Kate Frande (19: 50).

"Centennial's Sarah Ordaz caught Stacey Mallare [of River Hill], and a Fairmont Heights girl caught our pack of four," Mount Hebron girls coach Mark Agnew said. "We just didn't get enough places at the end. But we're looking forward to seeing Centennial at states."

County runner-up Atholton won the boys championship, 30-44, led by individual champion Nick Barresi (16: 43), who edged teammate and county champion Mike Zaron by two seconds.

Centennial's boys finished second, and River Hill was third. All three teams qualified for states, as did McDonough, Mount Hebron and Howard.

Qualifying girls teams included Centennial, Mount Hebron, River Hill, Fairmont Heights and McDonough. Atholton's girls missed for the first time since 1978, when state competition began.

"We ran our best race of the year," Atholton boys coach Pat Saunderson said. "Our No. 5 man, Steve Miller, broke [a] toe playing flag football Tuesday, but Ed Lopez [14th overall], who has been running seventh for us all season, stepped up to be our No. 5 man with a great effort and inspired the rest of the team."

Barresi traded finishes with county champ Zaron yesterday mainly because Barresi likes a hilly course.

"My strength is hills because I run an even pace. I won regionals here last year, and thought I could win again today." It was the first time this season that Barresi defeated Zaron.

River Hill's Mike Prada (16: 47) and Zach Heidepriem (16: 56) ran as a four-man pack for most of the race.

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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