Runner of the Year: Dusty Lieb, Archbishop Spalding
It's hard to imagine a more convincing season than the one Lieb had this fall. The senior won five invitationals - the Spiked Shoe, the Knights, the Anne Arundel, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships and the Mid-Atlantic Private Schools meet. Although he finished second to Mike Myers of Eastern High in New Jersey in the elite race of the Bull Run Invitational, Lieb's time of 16:01 stood as the best produced by any area runner at Hereford. The Anne Arundel County Runner of the Year, Lieb placed third among 179 in the seeded race of the Georgetown Prep Classic. This is the second consecutive time he has been selected first-team All-Metro.
For the first six years he coached the Cavaliers, Pennington focused on building a program that could one day challenge the Westminsters, the River Hills and the Dulaneys of the cross country scene. That time was this fall as he guided South Carroll to its third Class 3A state team championship in four seasons. Armed with a solid core of runners who worked hard to make amends for last year's second-place finish to state champ River Hill, Pennington helped the Cavaliers snap Westminster's 17-year stranglehold on the Carroll County crown and the school's 13-year run on the Central Maryland Conference title. South Carroll went wire-to-wire as The Sun's top-ranked team.
Matt Adami, South Carroll
The day before the Lancer Invitational on Oct. 7, Adami was involved in a minor car accident. But rather than sit out to heal a leg injury, the senior suited up and finished seventh to help the Cavaliers beat Dulaney. Protecting teammate Bobby Mead, Adami, a two-time All-Met choice, placed second at the county championships and the Class 3A West regionals. He was fifth (16:59) at the state meet and ninth (16:39) in the elite race of the Bull Run Invitational at Hereford. His time of 16:54 was the 16th-best among Maryland runners in the Northeast Region of the Foot Locker Championships in New York.
Pat Bailey, C. Milton Wright
Exemplifying consistency, Bailey finished no worse than sixth this season. The sophomore set a course record of 15:26 at the Harford County championships and won at the Class 4A East regionals. He placed second at the Class 4A state meet at Hereford with a time of 16:31. Bailey was second at the Knights Invitational and the Spiked Shoe Invitational and fourth at the Westminster Invitational. He also was the 11th best Maryland runner at the Foot Locker meet.
Chris Foster, Severn
His name may not ring a bell, but there was no forgetting what Foster did on the cross country courses this season. The senior won the Mercersburg Invitational in a course-record 15:29 and placed second behind Lieb at the Anne Arundel County Invitational. A three-time Anne Arundel All-County selection, Foster finished third at the MIAA championships for the second consecutive year and sixth in the seeded race of the Georgetown Prep Classic. His time of 16:20 in the Foot Locker meet was the fifth-best performance by a Maryland runner.
Jon Goldsmith, Glenelg
Goldsmith played Ernie Els to Izudin Mehmedovic's Tiger Woods. Goldsmith, a senior, ran second three times - all to his Oakland Mills rival. The second-team All-Met finished one second behind Mehmedovic at the Howard County championships, two seconds behind at the Class 1A Central regionals and three seconds (a 16:27) at the Class 1A state championships at Hereford. He scored invitational victories at Interstate and Brunswick and was eighth among Maryland runners in the Foot Locker meet.
Bobby Mead, South Carroll
For a guy who hated running in the eighth grade, Mead put together a remarkable season. The senior and Carroll County Runner of the Year captured the regionals, the counties, the conference, the Westminster Invitational, the Lancer Invitational and the Howard County Invitational. A two-time All-Metro selection, Mead ran a 16:27 to finish second at the state meet and was fourth (16:18) in the elite race of the Bull Run. His 16:03 at the Foot Locker was the third-best among Maryland runners.
Izudin Mehmedovic, Oakland Mills
No one had a better spurt at the end of races - and the season - than Mehmedovic. The junior from war-torn Bosnia swept the county, regional and state championships. His time of 16:24 at Hereford in the latter race set a Class 1A state record. Mehmedovic, who finished second at the Meade Autumn Classic and fourth at the Howard County Invitational, was named the Howard County Runner of the Year. He was the sixth-best Maryland runner at the Foot Locker meet.
Will Murdoch, Bel Air
Murdoch was a model of reliability for the Bobcats. The junior placed no worse than sixth this year. His best time of the season was a 15:50 at the Class 3A North regionals, which - not surprisingly - he won. Murdoch also captured the large schools race of the Bull Run Invitational in 17:04. Murdoch was a second-team All-Met choice last year.
Kevin Pool, Westminster
Owls coach Dave Cox called Pool "the best three-miler I've ever coached" - a huge endorsement considering that Cox had previously coached 1998 All-Met Runner of the Year Jason Santucci. But Pool performed admirably, grabbing two seconds - one at the competitive Class 4A East regional - and three thirds at five invitationals. An All-Metro pick last season, Pool ran a 16:36 at the Class 4A state meet and was 17th among Maryland runners at the Foot Locker meet.
Chris Wright, Mount St. Joseph
Another year, similar results for Wright. The junior was chosen as the Baltimore City/County Runner of the Year for the second straight season and for good reason. His personal best was a 15:29, recorded in the elite division of the McQuade Invite in Rochester, N.Y.