1997 All-Howard County cross country teams

November 18, 1997|By RICK BELZ


Co-Runner of the Year

Mike Zaron, Atholton, Sr.: Zaron won the county championship (16 minutes, 19 seconds) and with a strong finishing kick shattered by 13 seconds the St. Paul's Invitational course record set by former Milford Mill great Mike Mamo. He also recorded three second-place finishes and one third-place finish at other invitationals. Zaron finished second at the Class 2A regionals (16: 45) and sixth in the state meet (17: 44). A year ago, Zaron finished second in the county (16: 37), third in the region and sixth in the state (17: 22). This is his second All-County selection.

Co-Runner of the Year

Nick Barresi, Atholton, Sr.: Not much distance separated him and Zaron. Barresi finished second at the county meet (16: 26) and finally defeated Zaron by winning the Class 2A South Region meet (16: 43). At the state meet, he also topped Zaron with a third-place finish (17: 19) and had the fastest time of the day among county runners. "The two runners go back a long ways together and have a great friendship," Atholton coach Pat Saunderson said. "They dominated all season and were interchangeable. I assumed if one didn't get the job done, the other would. They are about as strong as any two guys Atholton has had. Neither would have been as good without the other. Nick pushed Mike all season." This is Barresi's second All-County selection.

Coach of the Year

Charles Shoemaker, Wilde Lake: The Wildecats slightly surprised Atholton to capture the county title, then won the Class 3A East Region title before finishing third behind South Carroll and Linganore in close competition at the state meet. A year ago, Wilde Lake won the 2A title, but it moved up to 3A this season. Shoemaker, a sixth-year coach, continues to run one of the area's premier programs. This is his fourth straight county boys Coach of the Year award. Last season, he was All-Metro girls Coach of the Year. And in 1994 he was All-Metro boys Coach of the Year.

The team

Ben Coffman, Wilde Lake, Jr.: He led his team to the county title with a fifth-place finish (16: 50) and to the Class 3A East regional title with a second-place finish (16: 64). At states, his 17: 34 was good for fifth place in Class 3A and second among county runners. This is his second All-County selection. He was also second-team All-Metro last season.

Zach Heidepriem, River Hill, Jr,: A fourth-place county finish (16: 47) left him 28 seconds behind the leader. A fourth-place Class 2A South Region finish (16: 56) left him 13 seconds behind the winner. He slipped to 16th (18: 12) at the state meet. This is his second All-County selection.

Jansen McMillan, Wilde Lake, Sr.: He came on strong at the end of the season to finish eighth at the Class 3A state meet (17: 40) with the fourth-best overall time among county runners. He finished third at the regional meet (17: 10) and 11th at the county meet (17: 08). McMillan was the most improved among the All-County picks. A year ago, he didn't even run in the varsity county meet.

Mike Prada, River Hill, Jr.: He finished third at the county meet (16: 35) for the second straight season -- this time, 16 seconds behind the winner. He was also third at the Class 2A South regionals (16: 47). He finished 36 seconds off the pace at the state meet, finishing fourth (17: 34). With the top two county finishers graduating, he appears to be a prime contender for the county title next season. This is his second All-County selection.

Aaron Spencer, Centennial, Sr.: After finishing 18th at the county meet in 1996, he improved to sixth (16: 55) this season. As Centennial's top runner, he finished seventh at the Class 2A South Region meet (17: 53) and 13th at the state meet (18: 05).


Runner of the Year

Suzy McCulloch, Centennial, Sr.: A year ago, she played for Centennial's state championship volleyball team. This season, she dominated girls cross country by winning the county championship (18: 39) and regional championship (18: 50). She finished second by two seconds at the state meet (19: 38), failing to win only because she hesitated going around cones near the finish; still, her time was the third-fastest overall. She won the Griffith, Hereford and Howard County invitationals and finished second at Goucher and second in the competitive seeded division at Georgetown. Her training included a two-mile swim every morning and daily weightlifting after practice. Competing in this year's Columbus Day 10K did not detract from her cross country performances. And she finished second among women in the Columbus Chase. "The longer the race, the better," she said. Her goal is to compete in triathlons and next year's Marine Corps Marathon.

Coach of the Year

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