The Westminster High boys cross country team finished fifth out of 22 teams at last week's Run From the Lions' Den at Liberty, which was good enough for Owls coach Dave Cox.
"I'm really proud of them," Cox said. "I ask a lot of them, and they're doing well."
Cox has been pushing the Owls to work hard at sticking together and running as a pack as often as possible in races. The strategy worked well in this event.
Michael Wilkins (18th), Christian Libdin (27th), Ryan Taylor (40th), Andrew Solomon (43rd) and Jose Cortez (49th) made up Westminster's scoring team - and they were a total of just 56 seconds apart, which delighted Cox.
"I think [pack style] is more pronounced," Cox said. "It [worked] because it was definitely a tough field."
The Owls amassed 177 points, behind champion River Hill (69), Francis Scott Key (106), Loyola (143) and Archbishop Spalding (162).
If the Owls continue to stick together, it should pay off when they get to the regional and state meets, where the fields often are large and competitive.
There were several other strong local performances at the meet. Arthur Leathers sparked Key to a second-place finish by winning the boys race.
Leathers said he changed his normal strategy of starting out fast. Instead, he made his move during the race. It worked out, as Leathers won in 16 minutes, 46 seconds, beating River Hill's Craig Morgan by four seconds.
"I had a lot left," Leathers said.
Jake Zamosty of South Carroll (fourth) and Key's Jordan White (fifth) were the other county top 10 finishers.
The South Carroll girls also ran well, taking second place, as River Hill completed its sweep. The Howard County school finished with 51 points, as Katie Harman and Anna Demaree took first and second, respectively.
Rachel Sykes and Erin Slifer took third and fourth, respectively, for South Carroll. Harman won the race in 20:38, with Demaree 11 seconds behind. Sykes was three seconds behind her and one second ahead of Slifer.
South Carroll took second with 89 points, just ahead of Century (108). The Knights also put two runners in the top 10 - Maura Linde (eighth) and Allie Dearie (ninth).
North Carroll's Molly Donovan (sixth) and Ali Thompson (10th) also finished in the top 10.
Despite a 5-0 start, the North Carroll football team remained in third place in the Class 4A North region standings after five weeks. The Panthers trail Parkville and Linganore.
Under the state's points system, teams receive points for victories - the higher an opponent's class, the more a win is worth - and additional points based on victories by defeated opponents. Four teams from each region make the playoffs, with the top two seeds getting to play the first round at home.
Winters Mill and Liberty are in contention for the final playoff spot in the Class 2A West region. Both schools stood at 3-2, a big improvement for Liberty, which didn't win any games last year.
Liberty quarterback Colton Weaver and Winters Mill linebacker Sam Krone were named the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Blue Ridge Conference Players of the Week for Week 5.
Weaver earned the offensive nod for his performance in the team's 34-12 defeat of Catoctin. He completed 11 of 18 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 113 yards on 21 carries and scored two more times. Overall, he finished with 298 yards of total offense as Liberty won its third straight game.
Krone plays outside linebacker and had seven tackles and an interception as Winters Mill rallied for a 24-23 victory over North Hagerstown. He helped the defense hold things in place after falling behind 23-0.
North Carroll coach Jeff Oeming was picked last week as the Ravens' High School Coach of the Week.
This is the first time Oeming has won the award, which came after the Panthers improved to 5-0 with a 14-3 win over Century nine days ago.
Oeming has turned around a program that has struggled in recent years. In fact, North Carroll has posted one winning season in the past 20 years.
But the Panthers are the county's last unbeaten team. Oeming, who coached at Westminster in the early 1990s and also ran the Panthers in the mid-80s, shared the credit for North Carroll's turnaround.
"I think it's a culminating effort from a whole lot of people," Oeming said in the statement from the Ravens. "We started out with a lot of people - the parents, administration, assistant coaches, all realizing that we could only achieve our goals if we put this all together. This award is attributed to a tremendous amount of work that's gone into the team, with the people involved."
The Ravens honor a coach each week with a $2,000 donation to the school's football program, an award certificate signed by Brian Billick, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Gene Washington, the league's director of football development, and a specially designed hat.
The Ravens will pick a Coach of the Year at their Dec. 9 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Cross country changes
The Class 1A South regional cross country meet has been moved to Nov. 1 at South Carroll at 3 p.m.
South Carroll is the only Carroll school in the region. Harford and Cecil County schools make up most of the region, which South Carroll was moved into this year.
The Cavaliers also will be hosting the Carroll County championship meet on Oct. 25.
To submit news and story ideas about Carroll County high school athletics, contact Rich Scherr at CarrollSports@comcast.net.