Loyola boys get spark in mail

Motivated Dons capture Harford division

Cross Country

High Schools


Something unexpected arrived in the mail for the Loyola boys cross country program: a little incentive.

Informed that they were being considered for a spot in a national invitational, the top-ranked Dons used that motivation to capture the seeded division of the Harford Invitational at Tollgate Park in Bel Air yesterday.

Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George's County swept the remaining honors, taking the top individual titles in both the boys and girls seeded races and claiming the team crown in the girls seeded division.

Walter Johnson and Urbana collected the boys and girls varsity titles, respectively.

Loyola's victory was spurred by a letter received earlier in the week by coach Jose Albornoz from the coordinator of the Nike Team National Southeast Region rankings.

According to Albornoz, the coordinator indicated the Dons were being considered for a spot in the top-10 rankings. The top two teams in each region will be invited to compete in a national invitational in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 3, while the third- and fourth-place teams in each region will vie for four at-large bids.

"I told the guys that our chance to run some fast times and impress people was today," Albornoz said. "That lit a fire under them today."

Top-18 finishes from junior Greg Jubb (fifth place in 15 minutes, 58 seconds), junior Ryan Stasiowski (sixth, 16:01), senior Josh Kraft (10th, 16:14), senior Tyler Krizan (11th, 16:16) and junior Matt Kaplan (18th, 16:28) led Loyola to 45 points and a 20-point margin of victory over Eleanor Roosevelt.

In addition to the Raiders, the Dons have defeated No. 2 River Hill, No. 3 Broadneck and No. 4 Westminster - four teams considered by some to be the best in the state.

Jubb said the squad looks forward to new challenges.

"It seems like we're constantly building up," he said. "We've gone fast, and we're getting faster."

Loyola's win was overshadowed somewhat by record-setting performances by two Eleanor Roosevelt runners.

Mikias Gelagle shattered the course record of 15:23 set by C. Milton Wright's Pat Bailey by capturing the boys seeded race in 14:51. Dominique Lockhardt easily bettered the mark of 18:10 set by C. Milton Wright's Kelli Buck by taking the girls seeded division in 17:31.

In fact, the top six runners in the girls seeded race finished faster than the course record, including Atholton junior Alison Smith, whose time of 17:49 was the fastest by an area runner.

Smith, the defending Class 2A state champion and returning All-Metro Runner of the Year, was delighted with her showing.

"This is a big confidence boost for me," said Smith, who battled a fever to finish 12th in the elite division of the Bull Run Invitational two weeks ago. "I haven't felt like I'm in the shape I should've been in. But it's coming back, and I'm getting my legs back."

The Raiders compiled 38 points in winning the girls seeded division. No. 5 C. Milton Wright (84 points), No. 3 River Hill (124), No. 4 Hereford (151) and No. 9 Bel Air (164) rounded out the top five.


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