Around The Area

Cross Country

September 02, 2004

Anne Arundel Co.

The closest the Chesapeake boys team has been to a county championship was a runner-up finish to Old Mill in 1988.

That could change this fall as the Cougars return their entire varsity lineup from last season.

Reigning county titlist Broadneck graduated its No. 1 runner, but the presence of sophomore Matthew Centrowitz could vault the Bruins to the top once again.

The Severna Park girls beat Broadneck last year for their fifth county crown in the past six seasons.

The Falcons graduated their No. 1 runner, but they return six from a squad that tied C. Milton Wright in points at last fall's Class 3A state meet.

Baltimore City

In sweeping the city championships last season, Mervo became the first school to pull off such a feat. A repeat isn't that much of a stretch.

The Mustangs boys team graduated three of its top seven runners and watched another transfer to Digital Harbor, but Mervo has a wealth of newcomers.

The Mustangs' grip on the girls city crown loosened slightly as sophomore Brittany Everett - a runner-up at last year's championship meet - transferred to Western, which had captured 10 straight titles before last fall.

But Mervo returns six of its top seven runners, including defending city champ Quantikia Stepney.

Baltimore County

Few schools have been hit harder by graduation than Dulaney. Three left the boys team, but the Lions have routinely found more than enough personnel to reload and take a shot at their sixth consecutive county championship.

Hereford's numbers continue to increase, and the Bulls will likely replenish their varsity roster with call-ups from a squad that dominated the junior varsity championships last fall.

The girls title has gone to Dulaney for 14 straight years, but the Lions lost six of their top 10 runners from last season.

That could pave the way for Hereford to assume the mantle. The Bulls welcome back six of their top seven runners.

Carroll County

Westminster has won 19 of the past 20 boys county titles. This fall, the crown might find a new address: Liberty.

The reigning Class 2A state champ Lions return four of their top seven runners. But it's difficult to count out Westminster, which returns three varsity runners.

North Carroll, which lost just one of its top seven runners, might make some noise, too.

The girls championship has gone to Westminster the past two seasons, and the return of five of its top seven runners makes the Owls favorites again.

Century looks to build on its runner-up finish at the county championships last year.

Harford County

This season marks the last time teams will compete for a county championship. Harford will be absorbed by the Upper Chesapeake Athletic Bay Conference next fall.

The race for the boys title is tight, but the nod goes to C. Milton Wright. The Mustangs, who had claimed 15 of the past 16 crowns before last year, return five of their top seven runners.

Bel Air is the defending champion, but the Bobcats graduated five of their top seven runners.

Thirteen of the past 14 girls championships have gone to C. Milton Wright, and there's nothing to suggest that this fall will be any different.

Howard County

The return of five of its top seven runners and the haunting memory of placing second at the Class 3A state championships by five points should give the River Hill boys team more than enough firepower to grab its sixth county championship in seven years.

If the Hawks should falter, Centennial - which boasts nearly as much depth as River Hill - could fill the void.

Glenelg appears to be the favorite to collect its first girls county title in school history. The Gladiators feature star power, depth and maturity.

Mount Hebron should improve once sophomore Liz McCarter returns in about two weeks from a stress fracture in her left leg.

Private schools

As many as four teams have a shot at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship.

Archbishop Spalding is deep, Loyola is the reigning conference titlist, Mount St. Joseph is young and McDonogh has a superstar in senior Tristram Thomas.

St. Paul's overtook 2002 champion Glenelg Country for the B Conference crown. Those two and Cardinal Gibbons will clash again.

Mercy has never captured an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title, but that could change this fall as the Magic returns its entire varsity lineup from last year.

St. Paul's will attempt to repeat as B Conference champs.

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