The 1998 All-Carroll County Cross Country Teams FTC

November 24, 1998|By JEFF SEIDEL

Boys

Runner of the Year

Jason Santucci, Westminster, senior: He had some questions to answer after a sub-par outdoor season, but he left no doubts with a nearly perfect cross-country campaign that helped the Owls win their third consecutive, Class 4A state championship. He lost just one race all fall, to teammate Josh Davis by a few yards, and won the Central Maryland Conference, Carroll County, region and state crowns for the second straight year. He beat some of the state's toughest competition. Santucci topped last fall's outstanding season by getting even better. He hopes to run in college next year.

Coach of the Year

Rob Pennington, South Carroll: The Cavaliers are getting respect they deserve, which happens after winning two straight Class 3A state titles. Pennington lost his top runner from last year but along with his staff, has helped build a program with talent and depth. The Cavaliers could easily go nine deep this season and )) compete with anyone they had to, something that gave Pennington lots of confidence. South Carroll actually had a better team this season because of the depth, and Pennington did a fine job of getting the runners to stick with pack running. In fact, without their No. 1 runner at the region meet, the Cavs still routed the field.

The boys team

Matt Adami, South Carroll, sophomore: He is slowly developing into one of the area's top runners. After an outstanding freshman year, he was a big reason South Carroll repeated as state champion this fall. Adami was 10th in the CMC meet, then came back to get sixth in the county, fifth in the region and 14th in the Class 3A state meet. He'll only get better.

Josh Davis, Westminster, junior: He made a stronger commitment to the sport this year and moved up. Davis was third at the county meet and fifth in the CMC race. He finished the season with a fifth in the region and a solid sixth in the Class 4A state to help the Owls to their third straight state title.

Steve Hammel, South Carroll, senior: Hammel has been a consistent, quality runner throughout his career with the Cavaliers, a runner, his coach said the team will miss dearly. He came up with a huge performance in the state meet, taking third and helping the Cavaliers to the Class 3A state title. That run followed strong efforts in the CMC (seventh), county (fifth) and region (sixth).

Bobby Mead, South Carroll, sophomore: He became the Cavaliers' No. 1 runner and, had he not been slowed by a groin pull in postseason, could have had an even better year. He was still fourth in the CMC, as well as in the county meet. But he strained the groin in gym class the day the before the region meet and wanted to go. The temperature, however, was in the upper 30s and he couldn't get loose, so Mead sat -- and he agonized until seeing his team roll to victory. Still not 100 percent at the states, he still was fifth.

Jesse O'Connell, Westminster, junior: He surprised everyone, running consistently and scoring big in the postseason races -- second in the county, sixth in the CMC, third in the region and seventh in the 4A state meet. He, Santucci and O'Donnell gave the Owls as good a 1-2-3 punch as the state had.

Kevin Pool, Westminster, sophomore: Pool ran consistently, often in the No. 4 spot, helping Westminster in a number of ways. He was ninth in the CMC, seventh in the county, 10th in the region and 16th in the state meet, contributing to another Westminster sweep.

Girls

Runner of the Year

Colleen Lawson, North Carroll, sophomore: Lawson started the fall with soccer but changed her mind and moved to running -- and became one of the Baltimore area's best. Coach Tom Davidson still shakes his head at what she did this season, considering she's still learning the sport. She ran well in a number of big races, taking second in the Westminster Invitational, third in the Spiked Shoe, and first in the Bull Run at Hereford. She then won the CMC, county, region and state meets with strong performances the whole way. Lawson routed the county and the region fields and helped the Panthers qualify for the state meet as a team for the first time in at least a decade. She then held off Catonsville's Tricia O'Connell for a four-second win at the Class 3A state meet.

Coach of the Year

Jim Shank, Westminster: This was his sixth year coaching the girls, and he did a strong job of working the talent on his deep team to come up with championships in the CMC, county and 4A East region. The region crown was a big one, as the Owls surprised eventual state champion Severna Park in Anne Arundel County. Under Shank's guidance, the Westminster girls are now among the area's best. In addition, Shank has been the driving force among Carroll coaches for the re-start of indoor track, something that should improve the county's teams and talent. Except for a few injuries, this year's Owls could have come in second in the state. As it was, they were fourth.

The team

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