Mt. St. Joe has talent to go the distance Deep Gaels hope to end Calvert Hall's six-year run of success in MIAA

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September 20, 1998|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Calvert Hall has won or shared the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association conference title for the past six years. Mount St. Joseph hopes to end that streak this season.

The Gaels have a strong team loaded with underclassmen that will possibly be Calvert Hall's biggest challengers for the MIAA championship. The top seven runners for coach Andy Bauer's team are all underclassmen -- including four sophomores -- which should make the Gaels dangerous for the next few years.

Mount St. Joe is a deep team with 15 varsity runners, and has lots of talent, starting with sophomore Greg Zmijewski, who was eighth in the MIAAs last season. Classmate Cordis Stanfield transferred in from Milford Mill and starts at No. 2.

Juniors Dan Ramirez and Kyle Reagan plus sophomores Matt Adams and David Swimm fill out the top six positions while junior Justin Duncan also will be right there.

Calvert Hall shared the title last year with Loyola and Gilman, but St. Joe routed Gilman last week and hopes for more as the season rolls on.

"We're deep and good," said Mount St. Joe assistant coach Gene Constantine. "We may be a year away, but this is the first time we actually feel we can go out and win the championship."

Gilman will have less of a shot this season as graduation crippled the Greyhounds. They lost MIAA champion Seamus Whelton, who graduated, as well as the rest of last year's top five.

In fact, coach Jack Thompson has just six runners overall this FTC year. The Greyhounds still have some talent, but this is going to be a rebuilding year for Thompson's crew.

Junior Mike Lipman is now at No. 1 with seniors Tom Fenton and Paul Riley battling over the No. 2 spot. Junior Evan Lapinski and senior Steve Scott round out the top five.

On the girls' side, in private schools, Bryn Mawr clearly will be the best, but coach Stacey Nicholson's team should be in the midst of a tough three-way fight with champion Mount de Sales and Notre Dame Prep for this year's Association of Independent Schools title.

Mount de Sales, with new coach Kate Horman returning to guide the team she captained earlier this decade, has good talent but the Mawrtians have a good mix of seniors and underclassmen.

Junior Jen Trusty is first and has run well through the preseason. She'll be ahead of sophomore Elizabeth Cukor, senior Emily Douglas, freshmen Sarah Szczerbicki and Rachel Wasserman plus senior Diana Thaung. Junior Tess Deanehan could be the wild card of the bunch; she finished second in the AIS meet last year, but broke an ankle over the summer.

Nicholson said Deanehan is recovering and should be competing shortly, and they're hoping she gets back to 100 percent by season's end. That will give an already deep team more depth. The Mawrtians have 14 runners, including six new ones, and Nicholson is hopeful about this season.

The Poly boys finally overtook Mervo for the city's public school title last year, and coach Stan Smith's team has plenty of talent once again, led by junior Alex Scally. He took second in the city last year and won its novice race Thursday.

Junior Simon Fitzgerald, sophomore Rainer Sonderman and seniors Daniel Loizeaux plus Carl Clarke give Poly a strong top five. The Engineers also found success away from the city, taking third in the Class 2A South Region and 16th in the state meet.

"We're getting better," said Smith. "We just have to keep them focused and getting new runners [to the program]."

Mervo has had a good program for years, but the Mustangs have slipped a bit. Coach Ron Neal's team has several good runners again, with juniors Colby Smith and Dennis Wellington, sophomore Corey Clark and senior Odell Taylor.

Western will again clearly be the best girls team. Despite losing star Elizabeth Johnson to graduation, coach Jerry Molyneaux has senior Layla Acirfa, sophomore Lisa Henry and senior Tia Burley to anchor his ship.

L "I like what I have," he said. "I'd like to have some more."

Pub Date: 9/20/98

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