Severna Park girls get online boost to crown

River Hill boys win

Smith, Revelle individual titlists

Cross country

High Schools

September 10, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Motivation can be found in an achievement, an inspirational saying or from within.

Members of the No. 1 Severna Park girls cross country team found theirs on the Internet.

Spurred by a posting that likened them to a junior-varsity squad, the Falcons placed five runners in the top 21 to capture the Howard County Striders Invitational at Centennial in Ellicott City yesterday.

The boys crown went to No. 4 and reigning Class 3A state titlist River Hill, which - despite missing defending Howard County champion Sergiy Zubko - claimed the title for the fourth time in the past five years.

A pair of Atholton juniors, Alison Smith and Andrew Revelle, won the individual championships.

Severna Park's win wasn't a great surprise. The Falcons graduated just one runner from a squad that finished third in the Class 3A state meet last fall and was returning to the site of its 2002 Class 3A East region victory and 2001 region runner-up finish.

Yet on a Web site devoted to Maryland high school cross country and track and field, someone had written, "Severna Park looks like they only have JV team there."

Falcons coach Ed Purpura told the team of the comment. Sophomore Liya Kasimova said she and teammates were amused.

"We just wanted to show everybody how good we are and how we're not a JV team," she said. "That definitely gave us the oomph to go a little bit faster."

With Kasimova placing second in 20 minutes, 38.90 seconds, senior Jennine Strange seventh in 21:18.88, sophomore Gretchen Holoubek 14th in 22:36.90, senior Christine Brus 17th in 22:46.82 and junior Christina Pelligrini 21st in 23:05.45, Severna Park compiled 61 points.

Smith won the girls race in 20:10.17. Last year, she mistakenly veered off course and dropped from first to third.

"I didn't want this to become one of those elusive titles or the one that got away," the reigning Class 2A state champion said. "I wanted to put it away now."

Like Smith, Revelle never trailed in the boys race as he went wire-to-wire and finished in 17:22.08.

"I knew that I would be up at the top of the pack and that I had a great chance to win," said Revelle, the Class 2A state titlist. "I didn't expect to win, but I didn't expect to get second, either."

River Hill coach Earl Lauer wasn't sure what he would get from a Hawks squad that was missing Zubko, who is recovering from a knee injury.

Sophomore Alex Mahoney (13th place in 18:24.94), senior Andrew Sasser (16th, 18:35.49), sophomore Michael Feroe (23rd, 18:44.09), senior Andrew Bank (25th, 18:55.21) and senior Kevin McCoy (29th, 19:03.63) helped River Hill total 101 points, 10 fewer than runner-up and No. 5 Atholton.

Walter Johnson (111 points), Centennial (128) and Wilde Lake (129) rounded out the top five.

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