C.M. Wright sweeps Harford Invitational

Boys take top 3 spots

Buck sets record for girls

Cross country

High Schools

October 05, 2002|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

C. Milton Wright took all of the suspense out of yesterday's Harford Invitational at Tollgate Park.

Pat Bailey remained undefeated this season, and his win helped the top-ranked Mustangs boys bounce back from a second-place finish at the Bull Run Invitational two weeks ago and breeze to the team title. Kelli Buck, meanwhile, sparked the third-ranked Mustangs girls to a victory by setting a course record during her win at the meet in Bel Air.

The boys took the top three places and had four runners in the top 10. The Mustangs finished with 35 points, while Walt Whitman was second (87) and No. 8 Bel Air third (113).

The C. Milton Wright girls weren't quite so dominant, putting two runners in the top 10 and winning with 73 points. No. 8 Hereford was second (111), edging Whitman (118) and Mount de Sales (125).

Buck's time of 18 minutes, 26 seconds set a record for the 3-mile course. The sophomore pulled away for a 14-second victory over Havre de Grace's Britta Nelson on the humid afternoon.

"I had no idea about [the course record], but I'll take it," Buck said. "It's definitely my best run."

Buck placed fourth last spring in the Class 4A state track and field meet in the 1,600 meters and ran on the second-place 3,200 relay team. But she wasn't sure if she would participate in cross country this fall. Buck played soccer last year.

It proved to be a difficult decision, but she eventually chose cross country. So far, it appears to have been a wise move. She took third in the Knights Invitational and ninth in the tough Bull Run meet, and has steadily improved.

"I debated it the whole summer," Buck said of her choice of sports. "It was very tough."

Morgan Little took third overall for the Mustangs in 19:00. Samantha Beltz (23rd), Jillian Roberts (24th) and Amanda Frailer (26th) rounded out the C.M. Wright top five. Girls coach Donnie Mickey hopes his team matches last year's performance, when the Mustangs took second in the state meet.

"This was a good way for us to judge where we're at," Mickey said. "It's the midpoint of the season, and they're doing well."

The boys had a perfect season last fall, capping it with the state title. The Mustangs were undefeated again this year before losing to Northwest (89-93) in the Elite division at the Bull Run meet.

Bailey won that meet, but the loss upset the team as a whole. The senior said the Mustangs wanted to come out and show something in this race.

"We were a little bummed out about how we ran at Bull Run," Bailey said. "Our whole team wanted to run good times today."

They got their wish. Near the first-mile mark, C.M. Wright held the top five spots and was in little trouble. Bailey ended up winning in 15:23 followed by Jesse Slowikowski (second, 15:50), Brian Eagan (third, 15:56) and Sean McCormack (10th, 16:32) in the top 10. Brandon Hepner (19th) was the final scorer, although Scott Johnson (25th) and Matt Klaschis (26th) were only 12 and 18 seconds behind him, respectively.

"They were definitely let down after [Bull Run]," said C.M. Wright boys coach Eric Clark. "They thought they had the potential to win that race. They wanted to prove something today. That's a fairly mature group."

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