Chalk one up for pancakes.
That's what Perry Hall runner Krissy Jost had for breakfast before yesterday's Anne Arundel County Cross Country Invitational at Annapolis High School.
And, at least for one superstitious runner, a hearty breakfast made all the difference. The junior transfer from Queen Anne's High broke away at the 2-mile mark and went on to defeat Kristen Nicolini of Annapolis to win the A1 race by 39 seconds.
Dana Strickland of Atholton won the A2 race, and Teresa Love of Mount de Sales won the A3 race.
What made Jost's win so meaningful was that it came on the heels of her 27-second loss to Nicolini, a good friend and last year's meet winner, at the North County Knights' Invite last weekend.
"I think it's a matter of somebody having a good day and somebody just having a bad day," said Jost, who sidestepped her usual pre-race meal of cereal and a bagel in favor of flapjacks at Holley's Restaurant on the Eastern Shore -- an old family favorite.
"[My dad and I] sat down and talked about relaxing and not getting too nervous, and I think it worked."
The win, in 18:47, was Jost's second against Nicolini, and helped propel Perry Hall to a one-point victory over Old Mill in the A1 team competition. Besides Jost, Perry Hall runners Megan Makowski, Kelly Richmond and Jill Heeckendorf finished among the top 15.
Other girls team champions were Centennial (A2) and Mount de Sales (A3).
On the boys' side, it was all Calvert Hall, which placed five runners in the top eight to win the A1 title by 60 points over Perry Hall.
For coach Jim McCoach, however, it was no surprise.
"We don't do anything fancy, we just train hard and race," said McCoach, whose team also won the B1, C and D races.
"What makes it even better is that they're genuinely nice kids," he said. "They have good work ethic and still believe that hard work can get you places."
For the second straight week, Arundel's Geoff Warren beat out Calvert Hall's Jonathan Dietrich for the individual title, though Cory Smith (fourth), Kyle Martin (fifth), Doug Stewart (sixth) and Chad Hardy (eighth) played large roles in the Cardinals' team victory.