Brian Harris and Bridget Olp found their toughest opponent to be the mud yesterday in the Class 3A, Region III cross country championships in Bel Air.
The two were easy victors over the 3.1-mile course. Harris, a C. Milton Wright junior, won the boys' title by almost 300 yards. Olp, a Catonsville sophomore, finished 140 yards ahead of the pack in the girls' race.
Both events were run in a steady rain that turned the middle mile of the Harford Community College course to slick mud. Olp fell a half mile into the race, but got up quickly and retained her lead. Harris stayed on his feet but ran a minute slower than he did in winning the Harford Invitational Meet on the same course in October.
"The second mile was just awful," said Harris, who remained unbeaten through 10 races this fall. "So I took it easy. I didn't want to get hurt."
Harris finished in 17 minutes, 8 seconds and led a 1-2-3-4 sweep by C. Milton Wright. Greg Stephen was second in 17:58, Steve Donahue third in 17:59 and Troy Morse fourth in 18:11.
James Davies of Catonsville, the Baltimore County champion, ran in second place for half of the race but faded to fifth in 18:16. He led the Comets to a runner-up finish with 65 points. Bel Air was third with 84. Wright's winning total was 17.
The Mustangs also won the girls' team title, but Olp prevented a clean sweep by the hosts.
Olp took the lead at the start and ran away from the defending champion, Stacy Servia of Wright. Despite her fall, she finished 29 seconds ahead of Servia in 21:08. Christy Moon of Aberdeen, the Harford County champion, placed third in 22:06.
Amy Altmann was the second Wright finisher, as the Mustangs placed five runners in the top 11 to score 23 points. Catonsville was second with 54 points, and Bel Air third with 71.