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Centennial ready to make a run at county cross country crown


The body achieves what the mind believes.

That's the message on the motivational T-shirts that the Centennial cross country teams are wearing.

That message will be tested tomorrow at the county cross country championships.

The Eagles girls team won the 25th Georgetown Prep Classic small schools Division I Saturday and will be favored to win the county title over defending champion Oakland Mills. Glenelg and Mount Hebron are expected to challenge.

Centennial's top runner, Kari Meyer, was on a college visit and didn't run at Georgetown. The top four Eagles were sophomore Sarah Ordaz, freshman Leigh Tillman, freshman Neha Amin and sophomore Rebecca Kulak.

Atholton's Dana Strickland will be favored to win, with Meyer and Glenelg's Beth Santilli hoping to pull an upset.

The Eagles boys finished 10th in the ultra-competitive seeded division at Georgetown, and did it without Tom Schappeler, who was on a college visit.

The boys were running their third race in a week, and coach Al Dodds said they may have been a little tired. Top runner Mike French was 22nd. Jeff Olenick finished three seconds behind French. Brian Higgens also ran well.

The boys are not considered the favorites to win the county championships because of two consecutive losses to Wilde Lake -- at the Lancer Invitational and in a quad meet.

The defending champion Wildecats appear poised for another strong effort led by Faisal Hasan, Mike Brosene, Marc Baron, Paul Daddio and Aaron Blum.

Wilde Lake has won three straight events -- invitationals at Arundel and Linganore and a quad meet that included Centennial, Oakland Mills and Atholton.

"We're wary of Centennial," Wildecats coach Charlie Shoemaker said. "Anything can happen."

Steve Petro of Oakland Mills is a strong favorite to win, but the field is exceptionally strong and has several potential champions such as Hasan, French, Olenick, Atholton's Zach Tropf and Glenelg's Chris Selmer.

Petro has won seven straight races since finishing second in his opening race to Calvert Hall's Cory Smith. He beat Hasan by 100 yards in the quad meet and has been running generally better times than last season's county and state champ Jeff Curtis. Petro finished second in the state Class 2A race.

He likes to go out with a quick five-minute opening mile and then build a lead. He also prefers a hilly course such as the one at Howard Community College where the county championship will be run.

"There are a lot of great runners this season and if they can stay in contact with me they'll beat me," Petro said. "I like to run away in the second mile."

He said his Oakland Mills team has its work cut out for it. "Centennial and Wilde Lake are two of the best teams in county history," he said.

Albert called it

Atholton coach Kevin Kelly credited an assistant coach for the call that led to Atholton's first football victory over Wilde Lake since 1978.

Quarterback Jason Sandner's surprise bootleg on fourth-and-goal from the Wilde Lake 4 with a minute left tied the game at 13. Sean Williams' point after won it, 14-13.

"Jim Albert called the winning play," Kelly said.

A taunting penalty against Wilde Lake after a quarterback sack on third down kept the winning drive going, or Atholton's winless streak against the Wildecats would have reached 17 years.

Strong safety J. R. Merrill earned kudos from Kelly for making nine unassisted tackles.

Top scorer back

Wilde Lake soccer forward Giordano Filipponi is eligible to return to action Nov. 1.

Filipponi, Wilde Lake's leading scorer last season with seven goals, has been ineligible because he drank a glass of wine with dinner during a school-sponsored trip to France last spring. He has played on a club team this fall.

Wilde Lake's first playoff game is Oct. 31. The Wildecats are expected to win that game against Surrattsville and advance to the next round against the Great Mills-Oakland Mills winner.

"He'll help us," said Wilde Lake coach Dave Nesbitt.

The Wildecats (4-4-3) scored only 11 goals last season and are having trouble again this year, having scored no more than one goal in nine of their 11 games.

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