1997 All-Carroll County cross country teams

November 18, 1997|By JEFF SEIDEL


Runner of the Year

Jason Santucci, Westminster, Jr.: Santucci certainly knows how to make a first impression. After moving here during the summer, Santucci landed on the defending Class 4A state champion, became its top runner and swept the postseason races. Santucci grew stronger as the season went on and won the Central Maryland Conference, county, region and state titles, as the Owls won their second straight Class 4A state championship. He beat one of the area's best runners, Greg Vincent of Dulaney, by 17 seconds at the state meet. Santucci will be back next year and should spark the team in its drive for a third straight state title.

Coach of the Year

Rob Pennington, South Carroll: When South Carroll edged Wilde Lake to win the Howard County Invitational in September, one coach said he hadn't even considered the Cavaliers a threat, but now he would. Good idea -- because South Carroll went on to win the region and state titles. Pennington had said during the preseason that he thought his team could fight for the Class 3A state title this season, and it turned out he was right. Despite having only one senior (Steve McClearn) among its top runners, South Carroll outfought Linganore to take the Class 3A West Region crown and then the state title. Pennington, assistant Dale Hooper and volunteer Ed Adami got the team to peak at the right time and run as a pack in the right races. Pennington also had to help the team overcome the tremendous amount of publicity that the followed after Jill Krebs was disqualified in mid-October for .. violating the athletic dress code. But the Cavaliers came up huge in the big races.

The team

Matt Adami, South Carroll, Fr.: He turned out to be one of the better freshmen in Carroll County in recent years. Adami quickly moved into the No. 2 spot behind McClearn and became a solid, consistent runner who helped the Cavaliers do well in all meets. He finished fifth in the county, sixth in the region and 11th at the state meet -- the second-highest finish for a freshman in any of the classes. Pennington said Adami could become one of the state's top runners by the time he's through at South Carroll.

Ross Bair, Westminster, Sr.: This was another solid season for Bair, who took sixth in the county, ninth in the region and 19th in the state meet, as the Owls swept all three en route to their state title. He has been a strong and consistent runner for Westminster throughout his varsity career and will be missed after this year.

Josh Davis, Westminster, So.: He continued to improve and became one of the top runners in the state. Davis finished fourth in the county, third in the region and closed with a strong sixth-place effort at the state meet under miserable conditions. Davis pushed Greg Fisher during the season, finishing five seconds behind him in the region and eight seconds in back at the state meet. Davis and Santucci will lead the Owls next fall.

Greg Fisher, Westminster, Sr.: After being picked as last year's Runner of the Year and leading the Owls to a Class 4A state title, Fisher had to watch Santucci come in and take over as No. 1 runner. Instead of pouting, Fisher handled what could have been a sticky situation with grace and style, offering to help Santucci adjust to his new team, and the pair became friends. Fisher finished second in the county and region and third in the state. "He didn't let any of this I'm No. 1-No. 2 stuff bother him. He was the glue," said Westminster girls coach Jim Shank.

Steve McClearn, South Carroll, Sr.: He was the leader of the Class 3A state champions. McClearn focused all season on personally making up for his disappointing performance in last year's state meet. He got his wish, finishing a strong third in the state meet, 20 seconds behind winner David Glynn of Walter Johnson (whom he beat once). McClearn also took third in the county and second in the region and was a team leader -- something that coach Rob Pennington said was vital with the Cavaliers having so many young runners.

Mike Pizza, Francis Scott Key, Sr.: Pizza turned in a solid performance in his first year running cross country. He finished eighth in the county, seventh in the region meet and 15th at the state. Pizza ran in both the No. 1 and No. 2 spots during the season after running well last spring in track and field. He's a hard worker who should do well again in track this season.


Runner of the Year

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