The major individual and team titles went out of state in the fifth annual Harford Invitational yesterday, run for the first time at C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air after four years at Harford Community College.
Portions of the 10-race program over a rolling 5,000-meter course were run in a driving rain and although it held off during the feature events, sloppy conditions were the order of the day.
Jay Wassell, of Highland Valley Regional in Blackwood, N.J., won the boys race in 16 minutes, 48 seconds, finishing 25 yards ahead of Brian Burke of Gonzaga, 16:52.
Wassell, 17, third in his state race as a junior, and unbeaten in his senior year, took charge up the final hill and held off Burke for the last 850 meters.
Sarah Hendricks, 17, a Blacksburg (Va.) senior, passed early leader Anna Quezada, of Good Counsel, and won the girls race easily in 19:31, building a 50-meter lead in the home straightaway.
Quezada, who had 200 meters on third-place Bridget Quenzer of Mount de Sales, was timed in 19:44, and Quenzer, 20:13.
North Penn, from suburban Philadelphia, the runner-up in both seeded-section races last year, won both of the team titles this time. The girls totaled 56 to 95 for Dulaney, followed by C. Milton Wright, 101; and Good Counsel, 101. The boys had 67 to 69 for Highland Regional, trailed by Perry Hall, 102; and Gonzaga, 102.
Among area finishers in the girls race, Quenzer was followed by Mary Beth Rollins of C. Milton Wright, sixth in 20:43; Suzanne Sclafani, Dulaney, eighth in 20:48; Brigid O'Connell, Catonsville, ninth in 20:52; and Kely Coogan, C. Milton Wright, 10th in 20:54.
Mike Curtis of Mervo, eighth in 17:44, and Eric Benjamin of C. Milton Wright, 10th in 17:46, were the only area boys in the top 10.
The meet attracted some 1,000 runners from 65 schools in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia. With the new course (expected to continue as the meet's home), the winning times in the seeded races became the course records.
In the small-school varsity races, Megan McGolrick of Damascus took the girls event in 21:14, and Anna Goetze of Garrison Forest was the top area finisher, fifth in 21:46. For the boys, Sean Nagorny of York Suburban placed first in 17:15; Edgewood's Jason Bullock was 10th in 18:05.
In the large-school varsity races, Stacey Simon of Highland Regional captured the girls race in 20:52, with Mia Molfino of Mount Hebron, third in 21:48. For the boys, Steve Petro of Oakland Mills was first in 17:07.