Catonsville's Bridget Olp just hoped to stay near the front in yesterday's Baltimore County cross country championships at Hereford High.
She never expected to lead the way.
The junior overcame a sprained left ankle, contact lens problems and self-doubt to win the meet in sur-prising fashion, beating Towson's Becky Foster and Perry Hall's Megan Makowski.
Meet favorite Krissy Jost of Perry Hall, who had beaten Olp badly in two previous meets, finished fifth, more than 34 seconds behind the winning time of 19 minutes, 22.01 seconds.
"I can't believe I won it," said Olp, who took second behind Dulaney graduate Amanda White at last year's meet. "I was just planning to stay behind Krissy and try to catch up near the end."
But Olp passed Jost near the 2 1/2 -mile mark, breaking away from the lead pack in the woods.
She said the sprained left ankle she suffered at last week's Southwest Invitational didn't bother her that much, though a dislodged contact lens did.
"I couldn't really see," Olp said.
Catonsville's Jamie Davies won the boys race in 16:17.37.
He had to hold off Frank Trimble of Perry Hall, who was close by much of the way.
Leading by three seconds approaching the 2 1/2 -mile mark, Davies put his legs into overdrive, gaining five seconds on the final hill to pull away.
"I came out here knowing he'd push me, but I didn't realize just how hard," said Davies, who won the meet for the second straight year.
"I was pumped for the hills a lot. Every hill I gained some distance.
"On that final hill, I just said, 'There's just no way I'm losing this.' Despite Catonsville's presence at the front of both packs, the Comets were not able to knock county powers Dulaney and Perry Hall from the top of the team standings.
Dulaney won the girls team championship, finishing with 43 points to beat out Perry Hall (50) and Catonsville (59).
The Lions placed five runners among the first 16: Dishina Davis (fourth), Meghan White (sixth), Melissa Wilson (eighth), Ashley Dorr (ninth) and Patty Zahner (16th).
The boys team title went to Perry Hall, which placed five among the first 15 to capture its eighth straight county championship.
Leading the way for the Gators were Trimble (second), Joe Leilich (fourth), Richard Herpel (ninth), Bret Lurz (11th) and Chris Marye (15th).
Catonsville finished second with 77 points, and Parkville was third with 96.