The South Carroll boys cross country team has a shot at history during today's county championship at Western Maryland College.
If the top-ranked Cavaliers stay true to form and defeat - among other squads - No. 4 Westminster, South Carroll will end the Owls' 16-year dominance of the county championship.
Led by seniors Bobby Mead and Matt Adami, the Cavaliers have already outpaced Westminster in four meetings this season, including last Saturday's Central Maryland Conference championship at Libertytown Park.
The Owls' runner-up finish to South Carroll in last week's meet ended their 13-year hold on the conference title. No other school in the eight-team conference - which includes Liberty, North Carroll and four teams from Frederick County - had won the crown since the championship's inception in 1987.
Mirroring the intrigue on the boys side is the seesaw battle in the girls race between seventh-ranked Westminster and No. 10 North Carroll.
The Panthers won the first three meetings at the Bull Run last month, the Lancer Invitational three weeks ago and the Westminster Invitational two weeks ago.
But the Owls scored 10 points better at the Central Maryland Conference championship, which was good enough to earn the team a third-place finish against North Carroll's fourth-place ending.
Also, the Panthers' top runner, two-time state champion Colleen Lawson, has been battling injuries all year and might be a little fatigued at today's meet.
Owls kick through troubles
If the trials and tribulations of this season are wearing down Westminster boys soccer coach Fran McCullin, he is not showing it.
The Owls enter tomorrow's first-round Class 4A East regional contest against host Arundel with a 2-9-1 record and an average of .83 goals per game.
The roster is less than 100 percent as senior midfielder and captain Joe Geiman is playing with a cast on his right forearm to protect a wrist that was broken in the fourth game of the season, while senior midfielder John Hajewski is out for the season after tearing cartilage in his knee a few weeks ago.
The cracks are beginning to show among the players. Hajewski was admonished by McCullin during the first half of Westminster's 3-0 loss to Liberty on Tuesday night after Hajewski yelled at a referee for missing a foul.
And senior midfielder Ricky Glass and senior striker Jason Holman exchanged words on the sideline after the latter did not participate in a team talk before the start of the second half.
But McCullin brushed aside the incidents and praised his squad's character.
"When you're losing, a lot of times the problems are magnified," he said.
Eagles at full strength
After missing the Francis Scott Key football team's first six games, Tony Gerald returned for the first time during last Friday's 28-19 victory over Walkersville.
The senior outside linebacker had not put on his pads since breaking his clavicle in a scrimmage with Liberty and Hereford on Sept. 1.
With Gerald back in the fold, Eagles coach Mike Coons has the 33 players he started the fall season with. But Coons said he is cautious about overusing Gerald.
"We're getting him back into condition," Coons said. "It would be silly to rush him. We still have three weeks left."
The Eagles' 7-0 start is only the third time a county program has gone unblemished in its first seven games.
In 1976, Westminster ran an 8-0 record under Jim Head before splitting its last two games of the season. Two years later, a Casey Day-coached North Carroll squad leapfrogged off its 7-0 start to a perfect 10-0 season.
Field hockey playoffs
The second round of field hockey playoffs kicks off today with four of the five county schools in action.
In the Class 3A North regional, second seed North Carroll (9-5) plays host to No. 7 seed Wilde Lake (3-8-2) at 3:30 p.m. Sixth seed Liberty (2-10) travels to Columbia to meet No. 3 seed River Hill (7-6) at 3:30 p.m.
Fourth seed South Carroll (6-6) will play host to No. 5 seed Thomas Johnson (4-8) at 4 p.m. The Cavaliers defeated Thomas Johnson, 2-0, on Oct. 10.
County champ and third seed Francis Scott Key (9-2-1) will welcome No. 6 seed Blake at 3:30 p.m. in Class 2A West action.