Surprises Keane, Smith win crowns

River Hill boys win fifth title in 6 years

unranked girls make it a sweep

Howard County cross country championships

High Schools

October 24, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Surprises ruled the day at the Howard County cross country championships.

River Hill junior Nick Keane - whose previous best finish at the county championships was eighth - and Atholton freshman Alison Smith collected the individual titles, while an unheralded River Hill girls squad captured the team crown yesterday at Centennial's 3.1-mile course.

As expected, the No. 4 Hawks boys squad took home the team championship for the fifth time in the last six years. The girls squad claimed its fourth title during that same span.

Still, yesterday's meet took some unusual twists and turns that began with the girls race.

Pre-race favorite Liz McCarter of Mount Hebron took a sizable lead from the start, but turned left off the course about a half-mile into the race.

When McCarter did not return, that allowed Smith, Glenelg senior Chelsea Kapp, River Hill senior Calinda Yew and Mount Hebron senior Elise Lindenmayer to assume the lead.

Smith and Kapp distanced themselves from the pack and battled until the final 100 meters when Smith crossed the finish line first in 20 minutes, 12.86 seconds.

"At first, I didn't think I'd go too well," Smith said of setting the pace. "But after that, I didn't want to think about it. ... I was trying to concentrate on which way to go."

The Raiders have produced the last two girls county champions, with Smith joining Meghan Bolton, last season's titlist.

Kapp was second in 20:17.76, Lindenmayer third in 20:43.54, Yew fourth in 20:46.51 and River Hill senior Anne Cunningham fifth in 20:53.21.

Yew and Cunningham keyed the Hawks' run that included placing five runners in the top 30.

Solid outings from senior Emily Vollmer (seventh, 21:06.76), sophomore Bess Seelaus (11th, 21:22.34) and junior Lindsay Sullivan (30th, 22:40.14) propelled the Hawks to 57 points.

"They knew what they had to do," said River Hill coach Earl Lauer. "They ran hard, and they deserved to win."

Glenelg finished second with 64 points, while No. 7 Mount Hebron was third with 78.

Vikings coach Mark Reedy did not disclose McCarter's reasons for dropping out, saying, "Liz is young and today she is going to grow from this experience. ... Today, in the long run, will benefit her and the team."

In the boys race, River Hill sophomore Sergiy Zubko and Centennial junior Brian Harvey battled for the lead, but Keane stunned both pre-race favorites by sprinting past them in the final half-mile and winning in 16:51.75.

"No one had me seeded to win this race," said Keane, who hadn't won a major invitational this season. "My whole psychology was, `If you see or hear anyone near you, go faster.' "

Zubko was second in 16:53.12, Harvey third in 17:06.77, Wilde Lake junior Scott Gayer fourth in 17:27.84 and Mount Hebron senior Mike Alban fifth in 17:30.77.

After Keane and Zubko, the Hawks picked up three top 20 efforts from senior Daniel Loyco (10th, 17:38.84), junior Andrew Seelaus (17th, 17:52.91) and junior Felix Stief (19th, 18:04.48) to post 49 points.

No. 5 Centennial and unranked Mount Hebron both produced 63 points, but the Eagles earned second place because their sixth runner finished before the Vikings' sixth runner did.

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