Cross Country

All - Carroll County

High Schools

November 19, 2003

BOYS RUNNER OF THE YEAR

Phil Diven

South Carroll

Overshadowed by teammates like Bobby Mead, Matt Adami and Dan Reedy for his first three seasons, Diven made his presence known by winning the Run From the Lions Den Invitational (17:31.30) and then sweeping the Carroll County, Class 2A West region and state championships.

The senior rebounded from a runner-up finish to Steven Staub of Francis Scott Key in the Piedmont Conference race at the Monocacy Valley Athletic League championships to win the county title in 18 minutes, 38.83 seconds.

Diven earned a small measure of redemption by taking the regional crown over Staub in 16:00.57 and capped his final season of cross country by bringing home South Carroll's first individual state championship in 17:22. Cavaliers coach Rob Pennington said Diven, who placed in the top five in eight major invitationals, wished he could've run at the Class 3A level. "He doesn't care where he places as long as someone is there to make him run his best," Pennington said.

BOYS CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR

Dan Jones and Bob Ward

Liberty

Usually, teams need one superstar or leader to guide them to glory. Recognizing that the Lions lacked that component, Jones and Ward convinced the team to attack courses as a pack, running together as a group and crossing the finish line in rapid-fire fashion.

The strategy worked as the Lions upended Westminster at Liberty's Run From the Lions Den. But the Lions faltered later in the season, including a second-place outing at the county championships and a third-place showing in the Chesapeake Conference at the MVAL meet. But Jones and Ward continued to impress upon them the need to work together and to train their sights on a greater prize.

The message was delivered when Liberty made school history by collecting a pair of firsts: a Class 2A West region title and a state crown. In retrospect, Jones said not winning the earlier invitationals was a blessing. "It made them hungry," he said.

BOYS TEAM

Carl Henn

Liberty

Even as the Lions ran as a pack, Henn -- a two-time All-County pick -- emerged as the team's top runner. The junior posted four top 10 finishes, including fifth at the county championships (19:12.02). Henn was 12th (18:09) at the state meet.

Jonathan Hilbert

North Carroll

A rocky beginning did not prevent Hilbert from turning in strong performances in the latter half of the season. The junior was 13th in the Chesapeake Conference at the MVAL meet (17:19.2), seventh at the county championships (19:18.58) and seventh at the Class 3A West region meet (17:36.10).

Brian Leiter

Francis Scott Key

A Class 2A state champion in the 800 last spring, Leiter parlayed his speed into stamina by averaging 50 miles a week during the summer. The junior's best efforts were a fifth-place showing at the Class 2A West region championships (16:36.71), a sixth-place result in the Piedmont Conference at the MVAL meet (17:15.5) and an eighth-place finish at the county championships (19:21.98).

Tommy Lueking

Westminster

The junior placed in the top 15 in six major invitationals. Some of Lueking's top 10 performances came at the county championships (sixth in 19:16.30), the Class 4A North region meet (seventh, 17:26) and the Chesapeake Conference at the MVAL championships (ninth, 17:04.2).

Peter McKibben

Westminster

McKibben earned his second consecutive spot on the All-County team as a member of the Owls' Big Three of Patrick North, Lueking and McKibben. McKibben placed fourth at the county championships (19:11.53) and the Run From the Lions Den (18:06.74), sixth at the MVAL meet (16:56.8) and 10th at the region championships (17:31).

Patrick North

Westminster

As the Owls' top runner, North cemented his third straight All-County selection by finishing in the top 12 in six of seven major invitationals. The senior was third at the MVAL meet (16:34.7) and fourth at the region championships (16:55). North placed second behind Diven at the county championships (18:54.14), but it was more than enough to give Westminster its 19th county title in 20 years.

Jim Ridder

Liberty

Part of the Lions' talented core of underclassmen, Ridder made his push for the team's No. 2 spot when Liberty needed it the most. The sophomore was the team's No. 3 runner at the MVAL, county and region championships, but turned in his best performance at the state meet. By finishing in 18:27, Ridder's 24th-place showing gave the Lions critical points in their state championship run.

David Robertson

Winters Mill

Robertson blossomed as perhaps the season's biggest surprise. After placing 25th at the Westminster Invitational, the junior posted top 15 results in the team's final six major meets. Robertson was seventh in the Piedmont Conference at the MVAL meet (17:16.4) and at the Class 2A West region championships (16:38.53). He also took 10th at the Run From the Lions Den (18:14.91).

Steven Staub

Francis Scott Key

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