HAGERSTOWN -- It wasn't just that Westminster swept the girls and boys championships of the first Central Maryland Conference championships -- it was the way it did it.
The Owls had 14 boys and 14 girls competing, and all contributed to the team effort. The boys placed in all 13 events, winning seven, and the girls placed in all but the 500-meter run, winning twice.
Westminster won the boys division with 134 points, followed by Thomas Johnson, 105, and Linganore, 64. It had a much tougher fight in the girls division, before holding off Thomas Johnson, 95-90. Frederick was third, 61.
"We knew we'd be in the hunt," winning coach Jim Shank said, "but we knew TJ would be right there."
Of the other county teams, South Carroll was fifth, 27 points; Liberty, seventh, 13; and North Carroll, eighth, scoreless, for the boys. For the girls, North Carroll was fourth, 60; South Carroll, seventh, 15; and Liberty, eighth, three.
Colleen Lawson of North Carroll, and Jody Sharpe of South Carroll were the only non-Westminster county winners among the girls. Lawson won the 3,200 meters in 12 minutes, 10.7 seconds, and Sharpe won the hurdles in 9.1 seconds.
Westminster juniors Jared Craig and Jesse O'Connell each won two events for the boys, but it was the 18 points from a 1-2 finish in the high jump by Troy Borneman and Craig that helped open some daylight on the field.
For the girls, Kiara Adams and Emily Hester went 1-2 in the shot put, and Becky Kuchera won the pole vault and earned places in the high jump and hurdles -- all technique events.
Craig's double was impressive simply because he had only the girls dash for recovery time and was right back in the blocks. Although better known as a hurdler (he won by two yards), he showed good straightaway speed in the 55-meters, and out-leaned Keylan Brown of Thomas Johnson for the win.
O'Connell had a little more time between the 500 and the 800, and won each by several strides. He followed up the 800 with the Owls' anchor leg of the 1,600-meter relay.
"Those are two short events, and it didn't bother me coming back," he said of the 500-800. "This is my first year running the 500, but I'm really comfortable in the 800. I had so much adrenalin going, it was easy going on the relay.
Westminster was in position to challenge Thomas Johnson in the 1,600 relay, but Jim Garrett, after making a great effort to overhaul the TJ runner going into the passing zone, missed connections on the handoff with O'Connell.
"I wasn't sure where the end of the zone was, so I had to be careful, while making sure I got the stick," said O'Connell.
Patrick Truxillo, winner of the 300, quickly opened a 25-meter lead, and although O'Connell made one run at him in the middle of the race, Truxillo won by 20 meters.
Of Craig's stellar effort, Shank said, "That hurdles-dash combination takes a lot out of you, yet he went right over to the high jump." Borneman and Craig each cleared 5 feet 10 inches, with the former winning on fewer misses.
Jason Santucci of Westminster and Shawn Day, of Thomas Johnson, the cross country runners of the year in their respective counties, each used the same tactic to get a win. Santucci overtook Day on the last lap to win the 1,600 in 4: 29.0, and Day did the same thing in the 3,200, winning in 10: 01.8.
"Although Westminster traditionally has good distance runners, it was the sprints and relays where we came through," Shank added.
North Carroll freshman Katie Riley also earned multiple placings, with a second in the hurdles, and thirds in the dash and high jump.
Pub Date: 1/24/99