Loaded Falcons packing powerful punch 4 All-County picks return for defending champ girls

Cross country preview

September 06, 1998|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Forget what the Chinese calendar says, in cross country circles, 1998 is the Year of the Falcons, as in Severna Park.

Yes, Severna Park is that loaded.

Last season, the Falcons landed five female runners in the top seven at the county meet in a record-setting finish that gave Severna Park its 13th girls title in 15 years.

Four of five All-County performers are back and ready to improve on last year's state performance, a lofty goal considering the Falcons finished second to Dulaney in last fall's Class 4A state meet.

South River doesn't have the depth to make a serious run at the Falcons, or for that matter, some of the county's other Class 4A powers, but against the rest of the state's Class 2A schools, the Seahawks have shown that they can more than hold their own.

South River's boys haven't lost a region meet in seven years, and Seahawks coach Chris Bayless says, "I don't see them losing this year."

A closer look at county teams:

Class 4A

Annapolis: Senior co-captain Ben Morris, second at last year's county championship meet, is hoping this summer's high-altitude training in Colorado will pay off for himself and his teammates.

The Panthers girls were hit hard by graduation and county champ Misha Bilyeau's move to Belgium. Setting the pace for the young girls team will be Sinead Gordon, Erin Masterson, Anne Handel and Caroline Nichols.

"I think our boys have a good shot," said coach Tom Neiles. "On paper, we look good."

Arundel: The Wildcats boys won the county title last fall but lost their stars to graduation, as well as longtime coach Ralph Luce. First-year coach Chris Shelby is eager to continue the record of success Luce established at the Gambrills school.

"Trying to get athletes convinced to follow the change of guard is tough sometimes, but the students all hold high expectations of themselves and have shown that they are willing to put in the work," said Shelby, who starred for Old Mill and the University of Maryland.

The boys team returns two All-County performers, Todd Warner and Chris Dyer. Leading the girls will be Amanda Rahorn, Angela Huegel and Mindy Thompson.

Chesapeake: Senior Adam Bange, an All-County selection last fall, returns, and if he stays healthy should compete for the county's top individual honors.

The numbers are down on the girls side, but veteran coach John Maguire is looking for good things from Courtney Jones.

Glen Burnie: Senior Katie Sloan, who earned All-Metro honors last fall in her first season, is looking to improve on last year's performance, which included a first-five finish at the state meet. Sloan showed her commitment to the sport by attending camps this summer in Vermont and the U.S. Naval Academy.

"I expect Katie to take all the marbles this year," said Glen Burnie Tony Benicewicz.

The boys, whom Benicewicz calls "the best I've had in a long time," are led by four-year runner Mike Henshaw and underclassmen Pat Gerrard, Brian Bonn and Tom Lester.

Meade: Coach John Dockstader is rebuilding and will count on juniors Quinton Roberts and Matt Lewis to lead his boys and sophomore Jessica Webster to set the pace for his thin, inexperienced girls.

North County: The Knights also are rebuilding. Running in a tight pack on the boys side are David Radford, Steve Jacobs, Sachin Singh, Jason Hacker and Adam Wisniewski. The young girls team will be led by sophomores Kesley Scheitlin and Kristen Dunnock and freshman Jenna Trevillian.

Old Mill: Victor Thillet, possibly the state's best distance runner, is playing soccer, so Old Mill coach Gary Bater, who has a knack for getting the most out of his talent, will have to rely on another junior, Tim Cook, to set the pace. Cook was fourth in the county indoors at 3,200 meters but missed the outdoor season because of a leg injury.

Freshman Jennifer Hickey and sophomore Alice Nickel will pace a small girls team.

Severna Park: The Falcons lost only one runner from a girls team that captured its 13th straight region title last fall. Back and aiming for a state championship banner are All-County runners Becky Chwan, Bonnie Sowa, Jaime Chase and Melissa Wallace.

"I'm excited about the amount of talent we have back," said coach Ed Purpura.

Severna Park's boys, second in last fall's county meet and third at regions, are led by seniors Matt Ostrye and Sam Krehnbrink.

Class 3A

Broadneck: Longtime coach Jerry Kiple is gone, but the Bruins have several talented runners on both sides. First-year coach Dana Dobbs, who took over Broadneck's indoor and outdoor track programs last year, will rely on All-County senior Mike Rolland to lead a boys team that was third in the county and region and 11th at states last season.

Class 2A

Northeast: The young, unproven Eagles won't contend for team titles, but coach Tom Clowes is hoping to get some production from seniors Roger Barr and Zach Greeno, juniors Mark Fowler and Amanda McIntyre and sophomore Mike Adams.

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