Davis can't beat Santucci, but joins him atop Bull Run Owls' training partners finish 1-2 in invitational

Cross country

September 27, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Every day since school began, Josh Davis has been training with Westminster teammate and No. 1 runner Jason Santucci. Yesterday, Davis proved that he has been a quick learner.

Bettering last year's finish by 11 spots, Davis finished one second behind Santucci's time of 16: 45 as they captured the top two spots at the Bull Run Invitational at Hereford High School.

And with teammate Jesse O'Connell finishing 10th in 17: 36, they helped the two-time defending Class 4A state cross country champion Owls hold off Gaithersburg, 60-75, and snare the boys seeded title.

For Davis, the meet was simply a case of "following my mentor," the junior said. "But it makes it difficult [to win] when the guy wins everything."

Said Santucci, who finished second last year: "I'm just trying to teach him how to win."

With the win, Santucci continues to scorch area running contests. Springboarding off a spring semester when he won the county, Central Maryland Conference, region and state titles and also was picked as the All-Metro team's Runner of the Year, the senior has yet to lose a meet this season.

Santucci said he enjoys competing in the races such as Hereford that draw schools from as far away as New Jersey and Virginia.

"It's a tough race, but I knew that all of the good runners from around the state and even outside were coming," Santucci said. "I knew that I wanted to place in the top 10."

Although Santucci led for most the race, Davis had to pass eight other runners with 1 1/2 miles to go.

"I said to myself, 'Am I going to give up or get my act together?'" he said. "I told myself, 'I gotta get [Santucci].' "

One of the runners Davis passed was Shawn Day of Gov. Thomas Johnson, who was third with a time of 16: 57. Day, who finished second to Santucci and two places ahead of Davis at the Peter Gerghty Invitational at St. Mary's two weeks ago, said the two are a formidable 1-2 punch.

"They're pretty good," Day said, adding that he will meet them again at the Central Maryland Conference Championships on Oct. 24. "I'm looking forward to running with them again."

In the girls' competition, Heather McHugh, a sophomore at C. Milton Wright, finished 38 seconds behind Josianne Lauber of Oxford (Pa.). Lauber won in 19: 49.

McHugh's performance was somewhat surprising, considering she played halfback on the Mustangs junior-varsity girls soccer team last fall.

"I just wanted to get in shape for lacrosse next spring," McHugh said. "I usually just run for fun."

Randy Buzzell of Middletown, who finished third (20: 36), said her strategy was simple.

"Run fast all the way," she said, nursing an ice pack on her left hip. "I was just going to try to run hard and fearless and see how things worked out."

Four-time defending Class 4A state champion Dulaney edged North Penn, 79-85, for the girls seeded title.

"I told the girls that every point mattered," said Dulaney coach Chad Boyle, whose squad improved from their disappointing fourth-place finish last year. "I knew that North Penn and C. Milton Wright would be competitive. I'm just real proud of them today."

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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