BOYS RUNNER OF THE YEAR
When James Mullaly graduated to run at the University of Miami, Vikings coach John Sunderdick didn't have to look far to find his next team captain. Sanders, a fiery competitor, infected his teammates with the same attitude, and Mount Hebron placed third at the Class 3A state championships for the second consecutive season. The senior won four major meets, earning first-place medals at the Howard County (16 minutes, 31.24 seconds) and Class 3A East (16:57.00) championships, the Howard County Striders Invitational (16:55.34) and the small schools division at the Doc Jones Anne Arundel County Invitational (16:25). Sanders made an impression with Sunderdick when, as a freshman at the state meet at Hereford High, Sanders set the pace for the first 800 meters before faltering toward the end. "He's very competitive, and he loves to win," Sunderdick said. "But at the same time, he gets the big picture. He is irreplaceable as a leader."
CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR
Steve Ruckert, Roger Volrath
The Gladiators co-coaches know a thing or two about state championships. Volrath, who has coached at Glenelg since 1973, and Ruckert, who joined the school in 1980, guided the program to its only three state crowns in 1983, 1991 and 2001. This fall had another similar feel to it, but season-ending stress fracture injuries to Tim Burt and Joe Zanetti did create some uneasiness. An early victory at the Brunswick Invitational was followed by fourth-place finishes at the Lancer Invitational and the county championships and a second-place effort at the Class 2A West region meet. But the Gladiators avenged the two-point loss to Middletown at the regionals and held off Centennial to capture their second straight state title. "I knew the kids were going to run better at states," Volrath said. Ruckert said: "All the screaming in the world isn't going to get a kid to run faster over three miles."
The senior's tutelage under former Gladiator Jake Hartman paid off this season. Adams, who has spent all four years on the varsity squad, preferred to let his actions do the talking as he never finished worse than 15th in the five major meets. This is Adams' second straight appearance on the All-County team.
Perhaps no one made a bigger leap from last season than this junior. Alexander, who was the Eagles' No. 5 runner for much of last fall, emerged as the team's top runner as he ran with confidence and strength. He finished ninth at the county championships, third at the Class 2A West region meet and fourth at the state championships.
To find out what a summer of training can do, just look at Annett. The junior, the team's No. 4 runner last year, moved up the depth chart to No. 1 after conditioning during the summer. The hard work paid off when Annett met his personal goal of a top 10 finish under the 18-minute mark at the state championships (sixth place in 17:54.53).
The junior's first foray in cross country earned him some unsolicited attention. Bensarghin, a soccer convert, blasted the field at the Howard County Striders Invitational for half of the race before collapsing from exhaustion. But he regrouped to record four top 10 performances, including second-place showings at the county and Class 3A East region championships.
The senior was not the Vikings' No. 2 runner to Sunderdick, who often said he was blessed with two No. 1 runners in Kampf and Sanders. Kampf, named to the All-County team for the second consecutive season, was third at the county championships and the small schools division at the Doc Jones Anne Arundel County Invitational.
Moving up from the JV squad to the No. 3 runner on the varsity level earned the sophomore the team's Most Improved Runner of the Year award from coach Earl Lauer. Keane posted top 15 performances at the county championships (eighth), the Class 3A East region meet (10th) and the Meade Autumn Classic (12th).
If the Dragons had any hope of winning the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship for the first time in five years, the senior would have to lead the way. Koffel, a three-sport athlete who also plays basketball and baseball, came through. A two-time All-County pick, Koffel was second at the MIAA meet for the second year in a row and first at the DC-Baltimore Metro Private Schools Invitational.
Lauer split this year's Outstanding Runner award between Alvin Yew and McCoy. The senior was a solid presence in the lineup and juggled the No. 1 role with Yew. McCoy collected three top 10 finishes at the county championships (seventh), the Class 3A East region meet (ninth) and the Meade Autumn Classic (ninth).