Thom helps Bel Air capture boys title

Senior wins his first championship

Buck leads C. Milton Wright girls

Harford County cross country championships

October 24, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

In a Harford County cross country championship devoid of any major drama, Bel Air's Bryan Thom and C. Milton Wright's Kelli Buck supplied commanding performances yesterday to win individual titles.

It was the first championship for Thom, a senior, who ran a personal-best of 16 minutes, 8.06 seconds, eclipsing teammate Brett Kelly by more than seven seconds on a cold afternoon on the 3.1-mile course at Tollgate Park in Bel Air.

Buck, a junior, captured her second straight title, out-dueling runner-up Megan Ravenscraft, also from C. Milton Wright, with a time of 18:29.35.

Thom and Buck also helped their respective teams, both of which entered the meet as heavy favorites, take home team titles.

Third-ranked Bel Air, which complemented Thom and Kelly with top-10 finishes from Austin Steg, Scott Watson and Jake Tanebaum, tallied 26 points, easily ahead of second-place C. Milton Wright (62 points) and third-place North Harford (67 points).

It was the Bobcats boys' first title since 1985. C. Milton Wright had won 15 of the past 16 boys' team crowns.

"The past few years, it was a race to see how close we can get to C. Milton Wright," said Bobcats coach Shawn Loper. "Now, it was to see how many guys we can keep in front of their top guy. They have a very strong team, but I think this was our year."

The same could be said for the second-ranked Mustangs girls as C. Milton Wright, behind Buck and Ravenscraft and fifth-place Leah Estremera, accumulated 31 points, well ahead of second-place Bel Air (48). The Bobcats got a third from Julia Wagner, while third-place North Harford scored top 10s from Heather Troutman and Kathleen Borleis.

The Mustangs garnered their 13th girls title in 14 years.

"We ran very well," said Mustangs coach Donnie Mickey, who held out his team's No. 3 runner, Allison Barnes, because of a minor injury. "But two more weeks, that's our goal."

Mickey was referring to the date of the Class 3A state championships where Buck, who finished second last year in 4A, should be one of the favorites.

The junior ran a course-record 18:10 last year and had hoped to go lower, but the brisk conditions changed her approach and she was satisfied with her time.

"Once you get out here, you have to go on feel," said Buck, who also said that her position as pre-race favorite made her feel like a sitting duck. "I feel strong and this is the right time to feel that way."

Ravenscraft was right with Buck as the two came around the pond, near the 2 1/4 -mile mark, but fell back over the next mile as Buck surged forward.

"It was a pretty good race, but Kelli just had a lot more in her and she went with it," said Ravenscraft.

On the boys' side, North Harford's Mike Pfarr (fourth place), Fallston's Ryan DiMauro (third place) and the Bobcats' Kelly forced a quick, early pace, but Thom eventually took control.

"I run better with fear," said Thom on why he likes being the front-runner. "You hear those footsteps and you just want to run away from them."

Kelly narrowed the gap slightly around the two-mile mark, but Thom pulled away.

"He always seems that he has some [energy] left," said Kelly.

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