Perhaps aided by yesterday's blustery weather, Jim Holford and his Westminster cross country teammates blew away their competition.
Holford set a Linganore High School course record and won for the second straight year as the No. 2 Westminster boys rolled to the Central Maryland Conference cross country championship for the sixth straight year.
The No. 4 Westminster girls did not fare as well, losing to Frederick, 43-44. The Cadets' victory broke a three-year Westminster hold on the title.
Westminster -- winner of the boys race in each of its six years -- found few obstacles yesterday. The Owls placed five runners among the first eight and seven in the top 16 to finish with 23 points. Frederick took second with 74 points.
"They ran real well," said Westminster coach Jim Gilford. "They did an excellent job. It was a good showing as a team."
And Holford led the team. The senior became the first runner ever to win back-to-back CMC titles.
Aaron Price of Frederick took the early lead, with Holford and teammate Chris Zendgraft trailing. Holford made his move just before the 1-mile mark and took command, going on to win in a course record time of 17 minutes, 22 seconds. Zendgraft took second in 17:30; Price finished third in 17:47.
"I just felt good," said Holford. "I was shooting for the win, and I was shooting for the team to get the win."
A strong team effort by Matt So per (18:08, fifth), Shaun Donovan (18:13, seventh) and Jim Zoulias (18:14, eighth) helped the Owls. Mark Bowen (18:22, 11th) and Jay Merker (18:51, 16th) also ran effectively.
Zendgraft and Holford both said the team felt confident before the race. "We've got so much depth that if somebody had an off-day, someone would be right there to step up," said Zendgraft.
On the girls side, Frederick edged Westminster in the second one-point finish in four years.
"It's traditionally a very tough meet," said Frederick coach Jim Weir. "The kids really wanted to win. Being second gets old after awhile."
Westminster's top showing came from Joy Bullock, who took fifth in a time of 21:33. The Owls were missing Brooke Hammel, a top runner, because of Achilles' tendon problems.