Runner of the Year: Tristram Thomas, McDonogh
In three seasons, Thomas has etched his name as one of the best cross country runners produced by the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The junior's victory at the MIAA championships in 16 minutes, 40 seconds made him the conference's first repeat champion since the league was formed in 1995. Eagles coach Andy Gill said he doubts the program has ever had a back-to-back titlist.
Thomas, who did not lose to an MIAA opponent this fall, was just as successful against his public school peers. He captured gold medals at the Knights Invitational in 16:03, and the Division I race at the Georgetown Prep Classic in 16:44.85.
A sore adductor muscle in his right leg contributed to Thomas' third-place outing at the Meade Autumn Classic (16:23), but the Baltimore City/County Runner of the Year rebounded to win the large schools race at the D.C.-Baltimore Metropolitan Area Private Schools Invitational in 16:00.39. This is Thomas' second consecutive appearance on the All-Metro team.
Co-Coaches of the Year: Dan Jones and Bob Ward, Liberty
As soon as the 2002 season ended, the Liberty Lions immediately recognized their goal for the 2003 campaign: collecting a state crown. Aided by a drop from Class 3A to 2A, Liberty began this fall with a No. 5 ranking and high expectations.
But the Lions posted just one victory - at their Run From the Lions Den Invitational - among two thirds, a fourth and a sixth. After finishing second to Westminster at the Carroll County championships, Liberty broke through, winning the Class 2A West region and state titles for the first time in school history. Blessed with a corps of runners that lacked hubris, Jones and Ward were as comfortable with their Nos. 6 and 7 runners as their Nos. 1 and 2 runners. Their confidence and faith in the team was on display in the postseason.
Larry Contrella, Old Mill
Contrella never dropped out of the top four in six major meets this fall. The senior brought home two gold medals when he won the Chesapeake Challenge (16:39) and the Class 4A East region meet (16:53.8). Contrella was second at the Anne Arundel County championships (17:08.4), the Meade Autumn Classic (16:19) and the Knights Invitational (16:04). He finished fourth at the state championships (17:01).
Phil Diven, South Carroll
Diven swept the Carroll County (18:38.83), Class 2A West region (16:00.57) and state (17:22) championships. The senior, who also won the Run From the Lions Den Invitational in 17:31.30, became his school's first individual state titlist. Diven, Carroll County's Runner of the Year, was second at the Lancer Invitational (16:42.0) and the Piedmont Conference race at the Monocacy Valley Athletic League championships (16:44.1).
Will Eden, Annapolis
Eden's victory at the Anne Arundel County championships in 17:06.8 made him the Panthers' first repeat titlist in school history. The junior, a two-time all-Metro choice and Anne Arundel County Runner of the Year, also took top honors at the Class 3A South region championships in 16:04 and the Doc Jones Anne Arundel County Invitational in 16:37.
Eric Graves, Catonsville
Graves put together a strong postseason to garner his first All-Metro appearance. After opening the season with a ninth-place outing at the Barnhardt Memorial Invi- tational (17:32.70), the senior finished fourth at the Baltimore County championships (16:45). Graves was second at the Class 3A North region meet (16:21.66) and eighth at the state championships (17:17).
Nicholas Keane, River Hill
Keane compiled victories at the Howard County championships in 16:51.75 and the Class 3A East region meet in 17:25.21. The junior placed second in the large schools race at the Interstate Classic (16:50.2) and fifth at the Howard County Striders Invitational (17:55.91). Keane, the Howard County Co-Runner of the Year, was sixth at the state championships (17:07).
Klayton Lipman, Northeast
Lipman's second-place time of 16:50 at the Class 3A state championships is the fastest mark among area runners at Hereford High's 3-mile course. The senior bested McDonogh's Tristram Thomas and Old Mill's Larry Contrella at the Meade Autumn Classic, winning in 16:17. Lipman was third at both the Anne Arundel County (17:25.2) and Class 3A South region (16:27) championships.
Brandon Lynch, Mervo
Lynch, who collected the Baltimore City title as a sophomore, returned to the winner's podium by taking the city crown in 17:20. The senior defied preconceived notions about the strength of cross country in the city by sprinting past suburban rivals to win the Class 3A North region championship in 16:05.86.
Mike Nasuta, Calvert Hall
The Cardinals' fortunes turned on Nasuta's feet. The senior was a force for Calvert Hall as he was victorious in five of the team's eight dual meets. Nasuta had a 14th-place showing at the D.C.-Baltimore Metropolitan Area Private Schools Invitational (16:52.10) and a second-place outing at the MIAA championships (16:54).
Sergiy Zubko, River Hill
Zubko never finished out of the top five in seven major meets. The sophomore opened the year with back-to-back wins at the Howard County Striders Invitational in 17:17.60 and the large schools race at the Interstate Classic in 16:42.9. Zubko, the Howard County Co-Runner of the Year, was second at the county championships (16:53.12) and the Class 3A East region meet (17:27.86), and fourth at the state championships (16:57).
Name School Class
Tyler Annett Atholton Senior
Dustin Bauer Calvert Hall Senior
Chris Chaulk Loyola Senior
Brian Harvey Centennial Junior
Jonathan Julian Annapolis Senior
Jason Jura Dulaney Senior
Brett Kelly Bel Air Junior
Travis Knox Dulaney Senior
Bryan Thom Bel Air Senior
Joe Wojciechowski North County Senior
Note: Teams selected by Edward Lee after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.