River Hill cross country runner Shane Stroup

River Hill cross country runner Shane Stroup (Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron)

Runner of the Year: Shane Stroup, River Hill

Like Tiger Woods, Stroup can say he has his own career Grand Slam. The senior, who earned All-Metro Performer of the Year honors in indoor and outdoor track last year, completed the rare trifecta of Runner of the Year awards in three different seasons by winning six of the seven invitationals in which he competed this fall. Stroup's winning time of 16:02.14 in the Class 3A state meet was more than seven seconds faster than the previous state record of 16:10 set by William Christian of Great Mills last year. The Howard County Runner of the Year also set a course record (16:22.20) at Centennial en route to winning the county crown. Stroup, who claimed first place at the Howard County Striders, Anne Arundel (large schools), Georgetown Prep (large schools) and Class 3A East regional meets, accepted a track scholarship to the University of Florida.


Co-Coaches of the Year: Don Mickey and Eric Clark, C. Milton Wright


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Nothing is easy. That was the message both Mickey (left) and Clark tried to impress on a Mustangs boys team that many considered in the preseason to be the top team in the state. It wasn't until C. Milton Wright captured the elite race of the Bull Run by 68 points that the co-head coaches began to realize that something special was brewing. Still, Mickey, the coach at Bel Air last season, and Clark, an assistant under former coach Murray Davis, didn't let up until the Mustangs had won all nine invitationals in which they competed - including the Class 4A state title by 75 points - and ended the season where they started: as The Sun's top-ranked team.


First Team

Pat Bailey, C. Milton Wright

A common sight was Bailey leading a pack of powder-blue Mustangs uniforms in front. The junior won three multi-team races, including the Harford Invitational at Tollgate Park where he set a course record (15:26). He finished second in the elite race at Bull Run (16:15), where he bested River Hill's Shane Stroup by 24 seconds. Bailey swept the county, Class 4A East regional and state meets.

Ryan Cartwright, Eastern Tech

Cartwright set a meet record (16:59.54) in the first meet of the season, the Mid-Atlantic Classic. The senior also grabbed first-place medals in the medium-schools race of the Bull Run and the Class 2A North regional event. He placed third at the state meet and the Baltimore County Championships. He finished fifth in the seniors division at the Northeast region of the Foot Locker Championships.

Bill Duffy, Dulaney

Two days before the Georgetown Prep Classic in October, Duffy took part in a yoga session to hone his mental focus. That willingness to better himself typified the top runner for the No. 2 Lions. The senior set a course record (15:51) in the Barnhardt Invitational at Dulaney and added first-place honors in the Baltimore County Championships and the Class 3A North regional event. Duffy ran the second-best time (16:16.30) at the state meet and produced the sixth-fastest time (16:42.1) by a Maryland runner at the Foot Locker event.

Paul Hugus, Loch Raven

Hugus helped the Raiders emerge as one of the bigger surprises this fall, as he finished no worse than fifth in seven multi-team meets. The senior claimed the Class 1A East regional crown in 15:38 and placed second at the state meet, the Baltimore County Championships and the small-schools race of the Bull Run. Hugus, who has a 4.0 grade-point average, was third at the Barnhardt, fourth at the Harford and fifth at the Westminster invitationals.

Izudin Mehmedovic, Oakland Mills

In three head-to-head meetings with C. Milton Wright's Pat Bailey, Mehmedovic demonstrated why he is one of the state's premier distance runners. The senior defeated Bailey twice at the Westminster Invitational and the Scorpion Crawl, where he set a course record (16:21) at Oakland Mills. He finished second at the Howard County Championships but swept the Class 1A Central regional and state meets. His time of 16:04.5 in the seeded race at Foot Locker was second among Maryland runners.

Matt Sanders, Mount Hebron

It would be simple to say that Sanders was the area's best runner who never won a major meet this season. But that would misstate his value to the No. 3 Vikings, who depended on the junior to keep pace with the opposing team's top runner. Sanders often battled River Hill's Shane Stroup, Oakland Mills' Izudin Mehmedovic and C. Milton Wright's Pat Bailey for much of the race before falling toward the end. Still, Sanders posted second-place finishes at the Spiked Shoe Invitational and the Class 3A East regional event and thirds at the state meet, the Howard County Championships and the Howard County Striders and Harford invitationals.

Jesse Slowikowski, C. Milton Wright

Slowikowski could have been the No. 1 runner on most of the teams in the area. But the junior was content to run behind Pat Bailey and protect his teammate from challengers. Slowikowski placed second at the Harford County and regional championships, third at the Spiked Shoe and Knights invitationals and fourth at the Westminster Invitational and Scorpion Crawl. He was fifth at the state meet and ran the seventh-fastest time (16:47.8) among Maryland runners at the Foot Locker event.

J.J. Wetzel, Archbishop Spalding

A year after running with Dusty Lieb - last season's All-Metro Runner of the Year - Wetzel made a name for himself by placing no worse than fifth in eight area events. The junior grabbed first-place honors in the small-schools divisions of the Georgetown Prep and Anne Arundel events and in the St. John's Invitational. The Anne Arundel County Runner of the Year was second at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships and third at the Mid-Atlantic Private Schools meet.

Chris Wright, Mount St. Joseph

For the third consecutive season, the senior was named Baltimore City/County Runner of the Year, then earned a spot on the All-Metro first team. And for the second time in three attempts, Wright captured the MIAA Championships in 16:55.43. Wright, who placed sixth in the elite race of the Bull Run, was a runner-up at the Knights and Peter Geraghty invitationals. He ran the third-fastest time (16:30.4) among Maryland Runners at the Foot Locker event.


Second Team

Name School Class

Steve Beck Towson Senior

Mike Hall Severna Park Senior

Will Knox Dulaney Senior

Eugene McAuliffe Loyola Senior

Jason Moore Wilde Lake Senior

James Mullaly Mount Hebron Senior

Will Murdoch C. Milton Wright Senior

Josh Perry McDonogh Senior

Dan Reedy South Carroll Junior

Aaron Smith C. Milton Wright Senior