Williams stays on course in Striders

Veering rivals open door for Wilde Lake runner

Zubko takes boys race

Cross country

High Schools

September 11, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Katie Williams' path to victory opened before her very eyes.

For much of the girls race at the Howard County Striders Invitational at Centennial yesterday, Williams had trailed Atholton sophomore Alison Smith and Churchill senior Allison King.

But when Smith and King mistakenly veered off the 3.1-mile course and into a thicket after the two-mile mark, Williams, a sophomore at Wilde Lake, seized the opportunity and captured her first invitational title in 21 minutes, 51.77 seconds.

Despite Smith's error, Atholton captured the team crown over Centennial, 88-108.

For the second straight year, the boys race belonged to No. 1 River Hill and Hawks junior Sergiy Zubko.

Zubko repeated as the individual champion in 17:13.44, and his teammates compiled 39 points.

Williams' win was surprising in that Smith and King had built a sizable cushion over the rest of the pack.

Even Williams admitted that she was shocked to make the turn after the two-mile mark and see no one in front of her.

"I really didn't expect that," she said. "My only thought was, `I have a shot to win it. I might as well go for it.'"

Smith and King realized their mistake after Churchill coach Scott Silverstein flagged both runners when they were more than 200 yards off course.

Smith made a furious comeback and eventually finished third (22:21.29).

She also took some comfort in the team's victory, which was aided by top-28 efforts from junior Marquel Bowler (fourth place in 22:23.16), senior Laura Bolton (26th, 23:58.48), sophomore Kate Caffrey (27th, 24:08.12) and freshman Melodie Bowler (28th, 24:12.87).

"This definitely cushions the blow," said Smith, who chastised herself for making what she called "a big dumb mistake. I would've felt horrible if it was close and my mistake ended up being the difference."

No. 7 Glenelg - which did not have senior Katie Pencek, who is still recovering from a stress fracture in her lower right leg - placed third with 109 points.

Zubko, who claimed last year's crown in 17:17.60, repeated his winning effort despite turning his right ankle during practice Tuesday.

Zubko, who won the Interstate Classic last week, said he is looking forward to competing in next Saturday's Bull Run meet at Hereford.

"Now I can really get ready for Bull Run," he said, adding that Hereford's course is one of his favorites. "I like hills. Hills are my thing."

Besides Zubko, River Hill was paced by senior Nicholas Keane (third, 17:24.18), junior Andrew Bank (eighth, 17:59.15), senior Andrew Seelaus (12th, 18:10.71) and junior Andrew Sasser (15th, 18:27.85).

Wilde Lake, which placed second, put its first four runners in the top 11, but a 39th-place showing by the No. 5 runner prevented the Wildecats from getting closer to the Hawks.

Broadneck made it a clean sweep at North County's 15th annual Knight Invite at Baybrook Park - the girls winning their third straight crown and the boys their first.

Senior Emily Nagle won the individual girls title in 18:59 and got support from Kasey Jamison and Tait Woodward -third and fourth, respectively - as the Bruins edged runner-up Severna Park, 42-47.

McDonogh's Tristram Thomas captured his second straight boys individual title in 15:34, but the Bruins' depth won out, with Matt Centrowitz and Matt Llano taking second and third to lead the way.

The Broadneck boys (42 points) won by 10 points over Archbishop Spalding.

Sun staff writer Glenn P. Graham contributed to this article.

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