How does Dobbs feel about input from a runner's father?
"It's a unique experience, having an elite athlete," Dobbs said. "Matt Centrowitz has respected everything I've done with Lauren and Matthew. If anyone has the background to interfere, he does, but that hasn't been the case. He's definitely a resource. It's collaborative."
FOR THE RECORD - An article in Wednesday's Sports section stated incorrectly that Matt Centrowitz set an American record for the 5,000 meters while running in Europe in 1982. He actually set the record in Eugene, Ore.
After assisting Gagliano at the Georgetown-based Reebok Enclave, Centrowitz went to American University in 1998. A college that a decade ago didn't have a track team is now an Eastern distance force, using what he learned in Eugene.
As fans clamor to see Matthew run, it's easy for those in his camp to stand their pragmatic ground. The decathlete in Dobbs was only good for three of those a year, and besides, Matthew won't turn 17 until Oct. 18.
The caution remained in place even after the 2006 Penn Relays turned into a Centrowitz celebration. Lauren, who last fall completed the first father-daughter duo to run on NCAA cross country champions, helped the Stanford women win the 6,000 relay, and Matthew won the 3,000 with the meet's fastest time in two decades.
That 8:20.9, for 7 1/2 laps, led to speculation that he would blow by the state 3,200 meet record of 9:07.0, and even break nine minutes. At the states, he ran under control and won by less than a second, repeating in 9:13.68. He probably could have come back the next day and won the mile, but by then he was already pointing to national competitions.
Besides Oregon, Centrowitz is planning visits to Georgetown, Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford. He was at Texas for the Ohio State football game, a visit that conflicted with Dulaney's Barnhart Invitational. He'll conclude an abbreviated invitational season at Linganore on Oct. 7, then attempt to make it five straight years in which a Centrowitz heads a Broadneck High state championship team in cross country.
"We give him a hard time about missing meets, but we're just joking," said Jeremy Buyer, the junior who is Broadneck's No. 2 runner, of a Bull Run minus Centrowitz. "We know he'll be there when it matters."
In chronological order, here are five local runners who were able to transfer their high school middle-distance and distance potential to college and beyond.
Dave Patrick / / Patrick helped Kenwood win the distance medley at the 1964 Penn Relays, then had a distinguished career at Villanova. He had earned a 1968 Olympic berth in the 1,500, until the selection process was altered - by head U.S. coach Bill Bowerman.
Bob Wheeler / / Wheeler ran mile and 880 times for Dulaney High that have rarely been approached by Maryland schoolboys. After his sophomore year at Duke, he represented the United States in the 1,500 at the 1972 Olympics.
John Scherer / / A fine two-miler for Glenelg High, Scherer went to Michigan and won the NCAA 10,000 in 1988 and 1989. Only one man has repeated in that event since.
Jeff Campbell / / The first boy named first-team All-Metro in cross country four straight times, the former Randallstown standout represented the U.S. seven times in international cross country and half-marathon championships.
Matt Holthaus / / Holthaus came to running late at Wilde Lake, but became the third - and most recent - Marylander to break four minutes in the mile. When he dipped to 3:54.83, in 1999, it was for the Reebok Enclave, where Matt Centrowitz was one of his coaches.