North County cross country coach Ed Harte is excited, and he has a right to be.
His fourth annual Knights Invitational set for tomorrow at Baybrook Park in Brooklyn/Brooklyn Park has grown into a showcase of the metro area's top runners.
Since its humble beginnings as a meet consisting basically of Anne Arundel County teams, it now includes Perry Hall, McDonogh, Loyola and such top-notch county teams as Old Mill, Annapolis and Broadneck.
"It's become one of the top meets around and we're very proud of it," said Harte.
Baybrook Park is unique, sitting atop 6th Street Field with its baseball diamonds overlooking Baltimore City.
The city/county line runs right through the open fields and Church Street, where the race begins.
The boys start running at 4 p.m. at the corner of Church and West Bay Avenue , and the girls start at 4:30 p.m.
Kudos for Nicolini
Old Mill cross country coach Gary Bater said that premier Annapolis runner Kristen Nicolini not only is blessed with marvelous talent and endurance, but also possesses the intangibles.
"Kristen brings such a positive attitude to her team that makes her that much better," said Bater.
Patton rolls out of town
For the first time in about 20 years Jim Patton is not an assistant cross country coach at Severna Park.
Patton took his family and guitar to Texas in hopes of making it as a singer in a rock and roll band and with his former Baltimore-based group, Edge City.
Hall of Famer
Mike Coyle, possibly the greatest quarterback in Arundel High history, will be inducted into the Shepherd College Hall of Fame in mid-October.
The left-hander, who led the Wildcats into the state playoffs three straight years, rewrote the record book at Shepherd.
Coyle, who resides in the Annapolis area, was the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year from 1982 through 1984.
He and his brother, guard Sean Coyle, were named to the Anne Arundel County Sun All-'80s Team in December 1989.
Old-timers finish strong
Anne Arundel County's eight Senior Men's Softball teams (ages 50-55) that qualified for the senior nationals in Phoenix, Ariz., didn't come home with a national championship, as Betty & Jakes did last year, but three of them finished in the top 12 -- Spindler's Rolloff (fourth), Betty & Jakes (eighth) and Corrigan's Insurance (12th).
"California won it and dominated the tournament," said George Kelch of Spindler's.
Sounds of Elliot
Glen Burnie grad Elliot Buclous is making a lot of noise in more ways than one -- as player-coach of the Gardner's Class D softball team, as a member of the Tuesday Men's Metro Bowling League at Bowl America, and as lead singer of his own Laser Karoke, D.J. entertainment service.
Fall baseball notes
County resident John Hall, the roving pitching coach, has moved from Catonsville Community College to Anne Arundel Community College as an assistant on Clayton Jacobson's staff.
Hall also is expected to take over as coach of the Mayo American Legion team if Bernie Walter sticks to his retirement threats.
Hall has been the Mayo pitching coach the past couple of summers.
Walter also has hinted that he might step down as Arundel High's head coach as well, but nobody believes him.
Walter's daughter, Kelly, a former standout soccer, basketball and softball player at Andover High, has opened her own restaurant, Nabbs Creek, in the Solley area.
Kelly, a member of the Anne Arundel County All-County Academic-Athletic Team in 1984, was a 3.8 (GPA) student who earned 11 varsity letters.
* North County pitcher Mike Wooden, who has scholarship offers from several schools, including North Carolina State, has been invited for a visit to one of the nation's top baseball schools in Arizona State. Wooden hopes to visit the school in a couple of weeks.
Lee Rogers, who has elevated the Arundel High girls basketball program to one of the area's best, will conduct a basketball clinic for girls ages 10-15 on Saturdays, Oct. 1, 8, 22, 29.
Rogers and staff will conduct the clinic from 9 a.m. to noon at Arundel High in Gambrills for a registration fee of $50.
For information, call Rogers at (410) 674-6500.