Centennial took advantage of five runners finishing in the top 11 in both races to sweep the Class 3A, Region III cross country meet yesterday at South Carroll.
Centennial, ranked co-No. 3 in boys and No. 4 in girls, scored easy victories in both races. The boys scored 27 points, 15 ahead of Atholton. The girls scored 31 for their second straight regional title. Howard finished second with 62.
"I'm very pleased," said Centennial coach Al Dodds, whose teams swept last week's Howard County titles. "We'd already beaten Atholton, South Carroll and Howard in previous meets. I didn't know anything about the [Baltimore City] schools. . . . . but I figured they might not have had the competitive experience."
The rain made the 3.1-mile course sloppy. Bryan Townsend of Atholton won the boys' race in 18:03, edging Steve Olenick of Centennial by one second.
Townsend struggled on the course, falling once. Mark James (18:08, fourth), Bobby Van Allen (18:13, fifth), Tommy Mazcko (19:03, ninth) and Nate Bucks (19:12, 11th) completed Centennial's top five.
Centennial, Howard, Atholton, South Carroll and Carver -- the top five teams -- qualified for the state meet on Nov. 14 at Western Maryland College.
Howard, Atholton and South Carroll each had two top 10 finishers. Chris O'Gwin (18:05, third) and Dave Krantz (18:37, sixth) did it for Howard. Mike Strickland (18:51, seventh) joined Townsend in the top 10 for Atholton. Jeff Gray (18:59, eighth) and Matt Crill (19:10, 10th) did it for South Carroll.
Atholton freshman Dana Strickland won the girls' race. Strickland, who just returned after missing more than three weeks with a sprained ankle, used a late kick to finish in 21:15, 12 seconds ahead of fellow freshman Kari Meyer of Centennial. Heather Tanner, another freshman, took third for Centennial in 21:30.
"Usually I take a fast start," said Strickland, brother of Mike. "My coach told me to take it easy. I felt good, and I had a lot of energy."
Adriana Castro (23:41, fifth), Ha Lam (23:52, sixth) and Stacy Cabanilla (24:22, 11th) were the other top finishers for Centennial. Joining Centennial and No. 8 Atholton at the state meet will be South Carroll, which took third, and fourth-place Howard.
Gail Hodges (23:12, fourth) and Rachel Bailey (24:09, eighth) were the other Atholton top-10 runners. South Carroll's Karen Hammel (24:02) and Kerri Murphy (24:12) finished seventh and 10th, respectively. Sissel Gorset was the lone Howard top-10 runner, taking ninth in 24:09.