Dulaney boys, girls win county titles

Lions' Larkin surprises girls field with victory

Cross country

October 31, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

All Emma Larkin was hoping for was a top-five finish at the Baltimore County cross country championships. What she got was a whole lot better.

The Dulaney freshman stunned a field that included Towson junior Lauren Capone, Franklin junior Michelle Donadio and Perry Hall junior Amy Morlock to capture her first county title yesterday at Dulaney.

Larkin's victory highlighted the No. 3 Lions' run to their 15th straight team crown. The No. 7 Dulaney boys squad grabbed its sixth consecutive championship.

Boys individual honors went to Woodlawn sophomore Dwight Parker, who became the first runner in his school's history to collect a county title in cross country.

But the surprise of the meet was Larkin, who began the season as the Lions' No. 6 runner. She steadily climbed up the team ladder, cementing her status as the squad's No. 1 runner at the Georgetown Prep Classic.

Still, Larkin never expected to win a county crown in her first year.

"I was trying to stay in the top five," said Larkin, who finished in 19 minutes, 15.22 seconds. "In the end, I felt like I could do more, so I pushed it."

The pre-race favorite had to have been Capone, who won the championship last season. But Capone, who has battled an undiagnosed ailment that causes her to feel weak and exhausted after a certain amount of physical exertion, surrendered her lead after the 2-mile mark and fell to 15th place (20:54.39).

Capone declined to comment after the race, but her coach, Ed Faya, said Capone had trained well and was encouraged by a third-place showing in the Division II race at the Georgetown Prep Classic.

"That's the weird part about it: We just don't know," said Faya, who added that doctors have repeatedly cleared Capone to run. "It's kind of a bummer today, but she'll be there at the [Class 3A North] regions and states. She's a tough kid."

Efforts from Larkin, freshman Kelly Rush (third place in 19:26.66), junior Sara Cimino (fifth, 19:59.78), junior Sarah Hearn (16th, 21:00.23) and freshman Emily Kelley (19th, 21:15.59) propelled Dulaney past runner-up and No. 10 Hereford, 42-64.

Parker took all the suspense out of whether he would bring Woodlawn its first cross country title after the 1-mile mark. Parker, who placed 14th at last year's county championships, crossed the finish line in 16:39.00. His closest competitor, Perry Hall senior Adam Sierakowski, finished in 16:53.00.

"After I started opening up my stride and running faster, I realized that no one was keeping up with me," he said. "I always want my school to do well. ... I'm the first one to do it, and I hope it continues."

Nearly as one-sided as Parker's victory was the Lions' successful bid for another boys crown.

Outings from senior Patrick Duffy (fourth, 17:03.00), junior Matthew Bond (fifth, 17:05.00), sophomore Vince Walsh (sixth, 17:15.00), senior Peter Spencer (ninth, 17:26.00) and junior Marc Shilling (16th, 17:46.54) paced Dulaney to 39 points.

Runner-up Towson compiled 95 points.

Duffy, who was involved in a car accident while driving to yesterday's meet, pointed to alums like Greg Vincent (1998 county champion), older brother Bill Duffy (2001) and Jason Jura (2003) for building a foundation.

"They started the program where we needed to be," Patrick Duffy said. "Our program is so tight. It's a family, and we just love winning."

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