Arundel's McPhail, McDonogh's Thomas win

Severna Park girls capture II title at Georgetown Prep

Cross country

High Schools

October 19, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

NORTH BETHESDA - For Marissa McPhail, the Georgetown Prep Classic was a reaffirmation. For Tristram Thomas, the cross country meet was a revival.

McPhail, a sophomore from Arundel, earned her second consecutive win in a major invitational, while Thomas, a junior from McDonogh, ignored a nagging injury to cruise to victory over the 3.1-mile course at Georgetown Prep yesterday.

The No. 4 Severna Park girls squad was the only Baltimore area team to capture a crown.

Thomas collected his gold medal in the Division I race, in which he took a lead after the first half-mile that he would not relinquish. Thomas, who crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 44.85 seconds, said he wasn't too pleased with his time.

"I was surprised no one was close," said Thomas, who enjoyed an 18-second advantage over his closest competitor. "My time clearly wasn't all that impressive."

Thomas was third in the Meade Autumn Classic last week, which he attributed to a sore right adductor muscle that intensified in pain after he claimed an individual title in the Knights Invitational last month.

"I'm still out of shape, but I wanted to run well," said Thomas, who has completed just three workouts in the past five weeks, according to McDonogh coach Andy Gill. "It's just [a matter of] getting back into the groove of things."

The Meade Autumn Classic was McPhail's coming-out party. At that meet, she surprised opponents and observers alike by winning with a comfortable 23-second margin.

Yesterday, she used her power on the hills to break from a group that included Mount Hebron freshman Liz McCarter and Severna Park senior Stephanie Newton.

"Hills are my strength," said McPhail, who finished in 19:23.27. "Plus, I felt really good, like I could go nonstop."

McCarter, who was more than 16 seconds behind McPhail, said she overlooked her Arundel opponent.

"I was looking more for Newton," McCarter said. "I wasn't expecting her [McPhail]."

All was not lost for Severna Park, however. Solid outings from Newton (fourth place in 19:49.88), sophomore Kate Eisenbeiser (fifth, 20:20.37), sophomore Christine Brus (eighth, 20:29.06), freshman Bryn Pittinger (15th, 20:56.91) and freshman Christina Pelligrini (29th, 21:28.40) powered the Falcons to first place in the Division II competition.

Newton said the varsity runners gained motivation from the JV squad, which claimed the top 11 spots in the Meade Autumn Classic.

"That gave the entire team so much confidence," Newton said. "It inspired everyone. ... It's building up to something that I hope is really great next week [at the Anne Arundel County championships]."

Severna Park was followed by No. 8 Mount Hebron (87 points) and No. 9 Hereford (123).

In the Division II boys race, No. 5 Centennial placed third with 96 points, while Mount Hebron was fourth with 162.

No. 3 Bryn Mawr put five runners in the top 36 of the girls seeded race, but the Mawrtians - with 97 points - finished second to Northwest of Montgomery County (79 points). No. 6 Dulaney was third with 102 points.

The No. 2 Dulaney boys had a rougher showing in the seeded division, placing eighth with 187 points.

Besides Thomas' effort, McDonogh earned top-30 efforts from four other varsity runners, but the Eagles' 83 points were 19 more than Division I winner Western Reserve.

Episcopal edged No. 5 Maryvale, 79-88, for the Division I girls crown. St. Mary's finished third with 118 points.

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