Hill's talent on view at Arundel

Freshman leads Severna Park girls to county title

Centrowitz, Broadneck boys roll

Cross country


For a fraction of a second, Kelsey Hill's allegiances were beginning to sway.

Hill, whose athletic roots are planted in swimming, acknowledged that yesterday's victory in the Anne Arundel County championships at Arundel has tempted her to reconsider her sport of choice.

"I'm starting to feel that way," the Severna Park freshman said of the possibility of switching to cross country full time. "I think I have more talent in running, but I'm not bad at swimming, either. For now, I'm going to stick with both."

Regardless of her decision, Hill has staked her claim to being the county's most dominant runner since Broadneck alumna Lauren Centrowitz. Hill, whose first win came in a junior varsity race in the Knights Invite last month, claimed her fourth consecutive victory by crossing the finish line in 18 minutes, 50.2 seconds.

She never trailed. "I was expecting to get into the top two, but I was also going for first place," she said.

Arundel senior Marissa McPhail, the runner-up, said Hill has a future in cross country.

"This is her sport," said McPhail, who finished in 19:24.8. "It doesn't matter that she's a freshman. She has talent. She's an awesome runner."

Hill's win paced No. 2 Severna Park to its 20th team crown in the last 23 years. The additional performances of sophomore Liya Kasimova (third place in 20:02.0), freshman Jordan Gibbs (fourth, 20:06.4), senior Jennine Strange (seventh, 20:20.2) and freshman Kathleen Barranco (eighth, 20:25.5) helped the Falcons compile 23 points, which broke the scoring record of 25 set by Severna Park in 1997.

"That was one of our goals today," coach Ed Purpura said. "We have a great team, and we want them to be remembered."

No. 6 Broadneck was second with 66 points. Arundel (108), South River (111) and Chesapeake-AA (123) rounded out the top five.

In the boys competition, No. 3 and defending Class 4A state champion Broadneck captured the team title and the Bruins' Matthew Centrowitz, the reigning state titlist who overcame a three-week battle with a sinus infection, secured his second straight individual crown by posting a time of 15:56.8.

"It feels good to be running again," said Centrowitz, a junior, adding that his body feels stronger. "The hills feel a lot better, and I feel a lot stronger."

Outings from senior Matt Llano (second, 16:38.2), sophomore Jeremy Buyer (fifth, 17:14.8), sophomore Ben Olsen (eighth, 17:34.4) and junior Kolten Koelzer (12th, 17:50.7) gave the Bruins 28 points - 55 better than runner-up South River - and their fourth county title in six years.

"I think going into the championship part of the season, this is a good barometer of where we need to be in two weeks [at the state meet]," said Broadneck coach Dana Dobbs. "The way we've been training and competing, we're as fit a team as I've ever had."


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