1998 All-Howard County Cross Country Teams

November 24, 1998|By RICK BELZ

Boys

Coach of the Year

Earl Lauer, River Hill: The Hawks tied the record for fewest points (27) in winning the Howard County meet and set the record for fewest points (28) in winning their first Class 2A state championship.

They stunned South Carroll by winning the Howard County Invitational early in the season.

Then they defeated three nationally ranked teams with a second-place finish in the seeded division at the Georgetown Invitational.

They also won the William & Mary Invitational B race in Williamsburg. Lauer, a 28-year veteran who coached 25 years at Atholton before moving to River Hill, called this falls' team his greatest. It was his fifth state championship team and 10th county titlist.

Runner of the Year

Zach Heidepriem, River Hill, senior: In a highly competitive season in which no one runner dominated from start to finish, Heidepriem peaked for the Howard County championships.

He won that title (16: 14) at Howard Community College with a strong finishing kick and a lean at the wire in one of the most exciting championship races ever. And then he came back a week later with another solid victory at the Class 2A South regional (16: 58) at Centennial.

His attempt at the triple crown fizzled, when he faded to eighth in the state meet. But Heidepriem also won two quad meets. He's a repeat All-County choice.

The team

Ben Coffman, Wilde Lake, senior: He's a two-time All-County selection whose best race was at the Class 3A East region championships, where he finished first (16: 34).

Coffman was sixth at the Howard County championship (16: 28). He finished 41st at the state championship. He's a repeat All-County selection who was second-team All-Metro runner last season.

Steve Chu, River Hill, junior: He ran his best race at the Class 2A South region championships, where he finished third (17: 09).

Chu was an integral member of the Hawks' powerful No. 2-ranked team with a seventh place at the county championships (16: 45) and an 11th place at the state meet (17: 46).

Jon Goldsmith, Glenelg, sophomore: Goldsmith finished 40th at the county meet a year ago. This year he nearly won it, losing to Zach Heidepriem by a lean.

His second-place finish (16: 14) was clocked in the same time as the winner. He stumbled a little in the Class 1A South region championship, finishing second (17: 32) to teammate Brian Selmer. But he wrapped up the season with a third-place (17: 39) effort at the state meet.

He also won invitationals at Brunswick and St. Paul's.

Eddie Lopez, Atholton, senior: Lopez surprised a lot of people with fifth-place finish (16: 23) in the strong Howard County championship fifth-place finish and followed that up with fourth (17: 10) in the Class 2A South region.

He was 15th at the state meet (17: 52).

Mike Prada, River Hill, senior: He was on track to be Runner of the Year until he sprained an ankle a few days before the county championships. Prada won the Interstate and William & Mary Invitationals and was second at the Howard County Invitational.

He ran a gutsy third (16: 18) at the county meet, was fifth at regionals (17: 12) and came back for fourth place at states (17: 15). He was All-County last season, as well as second-team All-Metro.

Mike Styczynski, River Hill, junior: One of the most improved runners this season, Styczynski was consistent with fourth place at the Howard County championships (16: 23), second in the Class 2A South region meet (17: 03) and fifth place at the state meet (17: 17). He also finished fourth at William & Mary and third at the Howard County Invitational.

Girls

Coach of the Year

Roger Volrath, Glenelg: The Gladiators were lightly regarded when the season began but overcame injuries and youth, soaring to a third-place county finish, winning the Class 1A South region title, and finishing second in the Class 1A state meet.

None of his girl runners made the All-County team, although Beth Heinke provided outstanding senior leadership and finished 10th the county and state meets and Alice Marsh finished eighth at counties and seventh at states.

Volrath has been working his fall magic at Glenelg for 26 years, winning three state championships and four county championships.

Runner of the Year

Lee McDuff, River Hill, sophomore: Her first season of cross country was bittersweet. On one hand, she easily won the Howard County championship (18: 49) by 26 seconds. On the other hand, she had to drop out of the state championship with a mile to go -- and a 40-yard lead.

She also did not finish at Georgetown. But she won the Interstate, the Spiked Shoe, Howard County and William & Mary Invitationals, as well as the Class 2A South region championship (19: 38) and two quad meets by wide margins.

She helped her team upset Mount Hebron for the county title. McDuff, a former soccer player running cross country for the first time, was clearly in a class by herself among county runners.

The team

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