Oakland Mills senior Steve Petro and Dulaney junior Meghan White took different paths to the finish line at yesterday afternoon's Westminster Invitational.
Petro had built enough of a lead early on that when he temporarily missed a turn down the stretch of the course at Western Maryland College it didn't matter.
White's effort was like a flashback to last year when she came from behind in the final 20 yards to win the race. This year, she caught North Harford's Megan McNew down the final hill to capture her third straight Westminster Invitational and lead the Lions (62 points) to the girls title. Linganore finished second with 80, followed by C. Milton Wright (119).
Centennial, behind a second-place finish from Mike French, claimed the boys team title with 57. The Eagles were just in front of host Westminster, which got a fifth-place finish from Mike Recek to take second with 64. Linganore took third with 97 points.
Petro's biggest competition last season came from teammate Greg Curtis, who graduated with most of the first-place finishes. This year, it's Petro's time to take charge. He covered the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes, 33 seconds to lead the Scorpions to a fifth-place team finish.
"My strategy today was to go out hard and lose everyone early," he said. "With about 1,000 yards to go, I missed a turn by the softball field and went straight, but still ended up OK."
French finished in 16:42, improving on his 10th-place showing from last year.
"I just went out and followed my game plan. This course always played me, the hills always killed me. This year, I made a commitment not to let it happen. Team-wise, we did very well," he said.
The Eagles got a sixth-place finish from Eric Myers and placed runners at 15, 16 and 18 to offset a balanced effort from Westminster.
White was a couple of steps behind McNew with about 20 yards left when she made her move.