River Hill's balance tips Severna Park

Cross country

October 07, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

In a preview of the showdown for the Class 3A East regional championship, fourth-ranked River Hill slipped past runner-up and No. 5 Severna Park in the large schools race of the 3.1-mile Anne Arundel Invitational at Annapolis High yesterday.

River Hill, which last won a state title in 1999, also produced an individual winner in senior Shane Stroup, who captured the gold medal in 16:11.

The Hawks edged the Falcons, 33-39, on the strength of top-12 finishes from Stroup, Wes McCoy (fourth in 17:38), Mark Adams (sixth, 17:51), Alvin Yew (10th, 17:57) and Karl Lauenstein (12th, 18:07).

"One guy doesn't make the team. Stroup is one of the better runners in the state, but if you don't have a group behind him, it doesn't mean anything," River Hill coach Earl Lauer said.

Stroup was his usual self yesterday, seemingly content to trail senior Mike Hall of Severna Park for about 1.75 miles before surging ahead on a hill and cruising to a 28-second margin over Hall.

"When we went up the hill, I caught up to him," Stroup said. "I just tried to keep my stride longer and pick it up after that."

The other marquee race was the girls small schools division, which included Laura Garrett (Mount de Sales), Cori Koch (Towson), Glenna Sullivan (Maryvale), Nyam Kagwima (Bryn Mawr) and Laura Drossner (Bryn Mawr).

Koch led from start to finish in winning the individual championship in 19:18, but wished she could trade the gold medal for one at the Bull Run, where she placed third two weeks ago.

"I really wanted Bull Run," said Koch, who finished behind Kagwima in that race. "I kind of felt down about that, and I wanted to get [the winning feeling] back."

Ninth-ranked Bryn Mawr - off performances from Drossner (second, 19:21), Kagwima (third, 19:28), Ashley Campbell (seventh, 19:42), Cora Sellers (20th, 21:40) and Sinead Nyhan (24th, 22:06) - recorded 54 points, which was good enough to defeat No. 3 Mount de Sales (68 points), No. 5 Towson (89) and Maryvale (95).

In the boys small schools race, Wakefield of Virginia won with 74 points. Towson (86) and Archbishop Spalding (93) rounded out the top three.

Junior J.J. Wetzel of Spalding won the individual title in 16:40 - 20 seconds better than his time from last year at this meet.

"I wanted to come out and take it as I felt," said Wetzel, who never trailed in the race. "In the first mile, I felt very relaxed and it allowed me to turn it on in the last two miles."

Severna Park swept the girls large schools race. Senior Becca Funk won in 19:59, and Stephanie Newton (fourth, 21:21), Ashley Heim (fifth, 21:23), Katie Hannum (seventh, 21:39) and Annie Winstanley (ninth, 21:49) lifted the No. 10 Falcons to the team crown.

Coach Ed Purpura's Severna Park squads won team trophies in five of the six varsity and junior varsity races it competed in - except for the boys large schools division.

"I was pleased with our performances," said Purpura, adding that the Falcons will train with an eye on River Hill. "I thought we were closer to them than two weeks ago. We're looking forward to meeting them at regionals."

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