Jonathan Hjembo, Francis Scott Key, Sr. -- A strong track background has carried Hjembo to an outstanding cross country career for the Eagles, who won the Class 1A, Region II championship this season and finished third in the state meet.
Hjembo finished third in the state meet, second in the regionals and fourth in the county meet. Hjembo's finish in the county broke up Westminster's bid to have the top five runners in the county meet. Other highlights for Hjembo this season were a 20th-place finish out of 143 runners in the Westminster Invitational and second in the South Carroll Invitational.
Jim Holford, Westminster, Sr. -- This talented Owls runner was a virtual lock for boys Runner of the Year in the county from the start. And he never did anything to make people change their minds about him being the best in the county.
Holford won the Carroll County and Central Maryland Conference championship meets for a second straight year and was third in the state Class 4A meet.
Matt Soper, Westminster, Sr. -- Soper is one of the big-meet runners coach Jim Gilford will miss next season.
He finished 16th in Saturday's state 4A meet, helping the Owls finish second to Quince Orchard. As a junior in the state 4A championship meet, Soper was penciled in for 40th place, but he finished 22rd by running 25 seconds faster than he had ever run in his career. That performance enabled the Owls to finish 10 points ahead of Quince Orchard and win last year's state 4A title.
Dion Stanton, Westminster, Sr. -- Stanton overcame a lot of adversity this season, He was ineligible for five meets but came back to run third behind Holford and Zendgraft in the county meet and was 11th in the state meet.
Coach Jim Gilford said Stanton has so much natural ability that he could miss all those meets and come back right away and be No. 3 on the team, the same place he was when he left the squad.
Stanton has been running since his freshman year and was parof state championship teams in 1989 and 1991.
Aaron Sweemer, Liberty, Sr. -- Sweemer and teammate Joe Ledda (who just missed gaining a spot on the All-County team) finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the county championships, helping the Lions to a surprising second-place finish.
Sweemer also finished ninth among 70 runners in the AnnArundel County Invitational. Coach Dan Jones said Sweemer ran hard from the start to be No. 1 for the Lions.
Chris Zendgraft, Westminster, Sr. -- When you're competing against one of the top runners in the state every day in practice and every week in meets, there are bound to be a lot of seconds next to your name.
This is what has happened to Zendgraft in his many battles with the Owls' No. 1 runner, Jim Holford. But Zendgraft has refused to allow his desire to beat Holford interfere with the success of the Westminster team.
Jim Zoulias, Westminster, Sr. -- On a glamorous team like the Owls, it's tough for a hard-working youngster with a minimum of talent to get recognition.
But Zoulias has done it with amazing work habits, such arunning 60 miles a week in the summer. Zoulias fought his way to a ninth-place finish in the county championships at Western Maryland.
North Carroll coach Stu Krise said, "Jim Zoulias gets more out ohis talent than any runner I've ever seen."
Zoulias is also superb in the classroom with a 4.0 grade-poinaverage for four years, and he hopes to attend the Naval Academy.