Boys cross country: Runner, Coach of the Year
Atholton's Graham Bazell is the All-Metro Runner of the Year for boys cross country. (Baltimore Sun photo by Monica Lopossay / December 5, 2008)
How hard does Bazell drive himself? Take a look at what happened in the moments after he won the Class 3A state title race at Hereford last month.
Instead of celebrating yet another dominant victory and the fact that he won a state title, the senior was sitting on a bench, his head in his hands, upset with himself because he felt that he could have done better.
Bazell has been one of the area's top runners for the past few years, and everything came together for him this season. He combined with teammate Michael Lynch and others to give the Raiders the Class 3A state title.
Bazell set the course record at Hereford -- which has been ranked as one of the nation's toughest places to run -- in the Bull Run en route to an easy victory in 15 minutes, 51 seconds.
Bazell turned in strong performances to help Atholton surprise Mount Hebron and take the Howard County title and regional championship before winning the state crown. At the Howard County race, Bazell became the first runner to break 16 minutes (15:58.34) on Centennial's course.
He ran well last fall before fading a bit at the end, as county rival Joey Thompson beat him in a few big races. Bazell also had to battle a foot injury that sidelined him for most of indoor track last winter. But he returned in outdoor track, ran well, and nobody could touch him this season.
Coach of the Year
The Vikings were one of the area's top teams this season, taking second in Howard County and winning the regional and Class 2A state meets despite lacking experience.
DeCrispino's background was in wrestling. He was a late choice to succeed Matt Gitterman, who took a similar job at UMBC. DeCrispino kept the Vikings on course, emphasized team and pack running, and they rolled to a state title.