Coach Dan Rincon has been involved with Maryland cross country since he was running for the Terps in the mid-1970s, and he can't remember the last time the school sent a male to the NCAA championships.
The drought could end this fall. Nationally ranked Kansas and about 30 other men's teams invaded Lehigh for the Paul Short Invitational last Saturday, and Maryland's Greg Early took the 10-kilometer race in 31 minutes, 26 seconds. Teammate Chris Ciamarra was fifth, in 32:06.
Both are juniors.
"Last spring we talked a lot about this cross country season," Rincon said. "These guys have had a taste of college competition, and they should be ready to take a piece of the pie. If they continue to run with the leaders like they did at Lehigh, there's no reason they can't go to the nationals."
Lehigh might have been Early's biggest win since he took the Penn Relays 1,500 meters for high schoolers in 1988. When Early starred at Eleanor Roosevelt High in Greenbelt, Glen Burnie's Ciamarra was one of the guys chasing him.
Maryland has Mount St. Mary's in for a meet Saturday, but an expected tussle with Peter Rono is off. The reigning Olympic champion in the 1,500 made his first appearance in a Mount uniform in 11 months when he won the Frostburg State Invitational by 43 seconds last week, and he will come back to cross country at his own pace.
In other running news, an old rival of Early and Ciamarra figures to do well in the national junior college championships. Randallstown graduate Jeff Campbell is having another good season at Brevard, and that North Carolina school will be the site of the NJCAA meet Nov. 17.
* The Frostburg State football team is ranked third in the NCAA Division III South Region with a 5-0 record, but the Bobcats soccer team also is making plenty of noise.
Coach Jay Hegeman's team is 10-1-1 after yesterday's 4-0 victory over Pitt-Johnstown, and the 5-year-old school record for wins in a season is 11. Frostburg State won the ECAC South postseason tournament last year, but now the Bobcats are intent on cracking the NCAAs.
Two veteran hands are Phil Sporer, a midfielder out of Dulaney who's the fourth-leading scorer, and defender Mike St. Martin. He prepped at Calvert Hall, as did junior Derek Woodward, who has eight goals and 10 assists. St. Martin has helped the Bobcats post eight shutouts, two short of the school record.
Golden Bears opponents are a combined 39-21, and Tigers foes are 42-15. The easiest game on both schedules is the season finale, as Towson State meets Northeastern (1-4) Nov. 17 and Morgan State has Cheyney State (0-6) Nov. 10.
The Tigers do finish with six straight games at Minnegan Stadium, the first coming Saturday (7 p.m.) against James Madison, which beat them 41-6 last year. The Dukes' top running back is Willie Lanier Jr., whose father, the NFL Hall of Fame linebacker, got his start at Morgan State in the 1960s.
* Todd Haskins, The Evening Sun Player of the Year in soccer for Howard High last year, has had a considerable impact at North Carolina. He has started all but one game at sweeper for the Tar Heels, who were off to an 8-3 start before a loss at Duke that knocked them out of the national rankings. Haskins, who frequently moves up to midfield and forward, has two goals.
North Carolina plays at Maryland Sunday (2 p.m.).
* Seventeen people on two search committees will help Loyola find a new athletic director. Tom Brennan left the Greyhounds to take the same position at San Jose State last week. James Smith will serve as interim athletic director until Loyola names a permanent replacement for Brennan.