River Hill's Sasser helps Hawks win Howard boys title

A. Smith takes girls race again

Zubko is top boy

Cross country

October 29, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Andrew Sasser is a prime example why cross country runners never stop or slow down until they cross the finish line.

The River Hill junior did not place in the top five on his own team, but Sasser's 21st-place showing helped the top-ranked Hawks nip No. 3 Wilde Lake for the Howard County boys championship at Centennial in Ellicott City yesterday.

River Hill junior Sergiy Zubko won the boys individual crown, and Atholton sophomore Alison Smith collected her second straight county girls title.

Centennial walked away with the girls team championship for the first time since 1996.

But the buzz of yesterday's meet was the boys showdown between the Hawks and the Wildecats, who had upended River Hill last week during a county tri-meet.

The top five runners' placements account for a team's overall score. After both teams' top five runners had crossed the line, each had 43 points. Meet officials then went to the tiebreaker - where each team's sixth runner finished.

Sasser was 21st in 18:24.24, which cemented the Hawks' third straight crown and their sixth in the last seven years. Wilde Lake senior Scott Levin finished 46th in 19 minutes, 27.56 seconds.

"Everyone in the top seven is important - no matter what," Sasser said. "I'm really happy that I was able to make a difference for our team today."

Equally happy was Zubko, who won in 16:59.48 despite having a strained right calf for the past week.

In fact, one doctor advised Zubko to skip yesterday's championships to rest his calf.

"I said, `Mom, I can't stand there and watch Wilde Lake beat our team,'" said Zubko, who was second to teammate Nicholas Keane last year. "I couldn't let that happen."

Smith had little trouble defending her title. She never trailed after the first half-mile, and her winning time of 19:56.05 was more than a minute faster than the mark posted by runner-up Katie Williams (20:56.80), a Wilde Lake sophomore.

"My goal was to take it out hard and then sit back," Smith said. "It's cool to win two in a row. It's something I'm going to hold on to."

Centennial likely won't forget yesterday, either, because of efforts from senior Sarah Lancos (third place in 20:59.90), sophomore Angeli Sivaraman (fourth, 21:14.60), senior Amanda Hill (sixth, 21:36.26), senior Tricia White (16th, 22:33.24) and senior Robin Rohwer (21st, 22:49.15) that propelled the Eagles past Smith's Raiders, 50-76.

"We wanted to prove what we were made of," Lancos said, noting that few preseason predictions mentioned Centennial. "We kind of thrived off of that. We didn't want people to talk about us until we did something."

CARROLL COUNTY: No. 2 Liberty placed five runners in the top 15 at McDaniel College to take home the school's first county championship.

Senior Carl Henn won the individual crown in 17:02. He was followed by freshman Eric Liberatore (fourth, 17:16), senior Bryan Mull (sixth, 17:21), senior Frank Sisolak (14th, 18:00) and junior Jim Ridder (15th, 18:01).

The reigning Class 2A state champion Lions posted 40 points, outdistancing No. 10 Francis Scott Key (55) and No. 9 Westminster (68).

It was only the second time in the past 21 years that a school other than Westminster had claimed the title. South Carroll won the championship in 2000.

Both the girls team and individual crowns went to No. 9 Westminster.

Junior Trisha Repsher repeated as county champion with a winning time of 19:41.

Contributions from junior Lindsay Southworth (sixth, 20:34), freshman Allison Eaton (seventh, 20:37), sophomore Carly Gavigan (13th, 21:33) and junior Meghann Waranowski (17th, 22:07) paced the Owls to 44 points.

Winters Mill was second with 77 points, Liberty third with 81 and Century fourth, also with 81.

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