1998 All-Metro cross country teams

November 28, 1998

Boys Runner of Year

Jason Santucci, Westminster, Sr.: Santucci, also the Runner of the Year last fall, had some questions to answer after a subpar outdoor season, but he left no doubts with a nearly perfect cross country campaign that helped the Owls win their third consecutive state championship. He become more of a team leader this year and helped the Owls off the field as well. Santucci lost just one race all season, to teammate Josh Davis by just a few yards. Santucci then won the Central Maryland Conference, Carroll County, region and state crowns for the second straight year. He took on and beat the best throughout his two years at Westminster.

Boys Coach of Year

Earl Lauer, River Hill: After 25 years at Atholton, Lauer has built a powerhouse at River Hill in only three years. This year, River Hill turned in a particularly stunning performance in the postseason en route to the Class 2A state title. The Howard County team had amazing scores of 24, 17 and 28 while winning the county, region and state crowns. The score of 28 set a record for the state meet. River Hill moves up to Class 3A next year, where it will clash with two-time defending state champion South Carroll, something coaches already are talking about.

First team at a glance

Josh Davis, Westminster, Jr.: He made a stronger commitment to the sport this year and it showed in his performance. Davis showed consistency with a third-place finish at the Carroll County meet after taking fifth in the CMC race. He then concluded the season with a fifth-place finish in the region and a solid sixth in the state meet to help the Owls win a third straight state title.

Zach Heidepriem, River Hill, Sr.: He took the Howard County championship with a thrilling finish, making up over 10 yards in the final 100. Heidepriem then went on to win the region before taking eighth in the state meet. He was a big reason River Hill rolled to the state title.

Chris Knott, Loyola, Sr.: Knott won the Maryland Interscholastic Association championship with a strong race and went undefeated in dual meets this season. He also won the Knights Invite and took second this past weekend at the Jesuit Championships in New York against a tough field. Knott had finished second in the MIAA race last fall.

Bobby Mead, South Carroll, Soph.: Mead became the Cavaliers' No. 1 runner and, if not slowed by a groin pull during the postseason, could have had an even better year. As it was, he took fourth in the CMC and county meets. But he strained his groin in gym class the day before the regional meet and had to sit. Mead still wasn't 100 percent the next week at the states, but ran well enough to finish fifth and help the Cavaliers to a second straight state title.

Jesse O'Connell, Westminster, Jr.: O'Connell ran consistently throughout the season and scored big in the postseason races, finishing second in the county, sixth in the CMC, third in the region and seventh in the state. He helped the Owls replace Greg Fisher, who graduated, giving the team as good a 1-2-3 punch (with Santucci and Davis) as there was anywhere in the state.

Mike Prada, River Hill, Sr.: A badly sprained ankle just before postseason slowed him, but Prada still was one of the area's best. He still took third in the county, fifth in the region and fourth in the state despite running in pain throughout. His state time was the fastest among Howard County runners despite the ankle injury.

Greg Vincent, Dulaney, Sr.: He has been one of the area's best runners the past few years. Vincent won his third straight Baltimore County championship and his second consecutive region crown before struggling in the state meet. He also won the invitational at Mervo and should again be a threat in the indoor season, as well.

Todd Warner, Arundel, Sr.: Warner had a strong season that he capped with solid postseason efforts. He won the Anne Arundel County championship and followed that with a runner-up finish in the region race, 11 seconds behind Santucci. Warner then took third in the state, only 12 seconds behind Santucci in the Class 4A race.

Greg Zmijewski, Mount St. Joseph, Soph.: Zmijewski was at his best in the big meets. He set a course record in a big win over

Calvert Hall, then did the same thing while winning against McDonogh. Zmijewski also was second against Loyola, St. Paul's and Gilman and third overall in the MIAA championship meet.

Team selection The Baltimore Sun 1998 All-Metro cross country teams were selected by Jeff Seidel after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.

Pub Date: 11/28/98

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