Repsher turns it around, wins Lion's Den

Last year's runner-up sets mark as Westminster girls take title

Liberty boys roll

Cross Country

High Schools

October 07, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

As unusual as it sounds, Trisha Repsher was not looking for a repeat of last year's runner-up effort at the Run from the Lion's Den Invitational yesterday.

That's because Repsher let first place slip from her grasp last season when she took a wrong turn on the 3.1-mile course at Liberty in Eldersburg and ended up finishing second.

This time, the Westminster junior stayed on the right path and captured the individual title in a course-record time of 19 minutes, 14 seconds.

Repsher's performance powered the Owls past No. 8 Winters Mill and No. 10 Mount Hebron to the team crown.

The boys championship went to No. 3 Liberty for the second straight year.

Hemu Arumugan of North Hagerstown took the individual title with a course-record time of 16:34.

Repsher took great pains to avoid last season's error. Before the race, she walked the course with a map in her hand and junior Meghann Waranowski by her side. She asked junior Tommy Clingan from the Westminster boys team to stand at the exact spot where she took the wrong turn.

"It was bugging me for so long," said Repsher, who also used a three-minute pre-race yoga session to visualize the route. "I walked myself through it. It was a mental game."

Repsher started the race behind Franklin junior Michelle Donadio, but eventually overtook her at about the half-mile mark before smashing the previous course record of 21:01 set by South Carroll's Elly Eaton in 2002.

The Owls compiled 66 points, buoyed by Repsher's win and strong outings from junior Lindsay Southworth (11th place in 20:50), sophomore Carly Gavigan (12th, 20:51), junior Caitlyn Pyle (19th, 21:26) and freshman Kara Morcomb (27th, 21:59).

Westminster co-coach Ron Waranowski said he knew his team had the right mental approach when 12 runners took the initiative to organize a practice run at Liberty on Saturday night.

"That says something," said Waranowski, who co-coaches the squad with Bob Repsher, Trisha's father. "They knew the course, and they were ready for it."

Winters Mill placed second with 89 points, and Liberty was third with 115.

Unlike many teams, the Liberty boys team doesn't rely on a star runner. Rather, the reigning Class 2A state champion Lions are built on pack running, and that strategy was displayed yesterday as they placed five runners in the top 20.

Performances from senior Carl Henn (sixth, 17:05), freshman Eric Liberatore (seventh, 17:07), senior Bryan Mull (11th, 17:22), senior Frank Sisolak (13th, 17:27) and senior Walter Bender (20th, 17:43) propelled Liberty to 57 points. Runner-up Westminster, which finished second to the Lions at last year's invitational, totaled 108 points.

"One guy doesn't win a race for the team," Henn said. "We're just so close as a team. We train together all the time. We know how we run and how we finish."

Although Liberty lost to then-No. 3 Broadneck at last Friday's Harford Invitational, co-coach Dan Jones said the runners were anything but pessimistic.

"They believe they're that good," said Jones, who co-coaches the squad with Bob Ward. "They built up their confidence from last year and they're not letting anyone or anything take that away from them."

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