One of the problems of having a strong, veteran team, as South Carroll High School does in cross country this season, is that winning isn't always a measure of success.
The Cavaliers, with Bobby Mead and Matt Adami leading the way, placed four runners in the first six positions in a quadrangular meet against Carroll County teams yesterday, but team members and coach Rob Pennington weren't jumping through hoops afterward.
"The win's OK," said the coach, following the team's victory over North Carroll, host Liberty and Francis Scott Key, "but we'll have a long talk about this before practice [today].
"We lost a lot, our No. 2 and No. 4 runners off last year's team, but the guys coming back should have filled in by now."
At a workout late last week, everything appeared to be on schedule. Then, yesterday, certain runners expected to contribute faltered. "Maybe the long weekend and the rain had something to do with it," said Pennington.
In the girls' race, North Carroll gave indication it will be a force to be reckoned with in the county championships and beyond by finishing 1-2-5-6-8 to easily outdistance the opposition.
Colleen Lawson, the county and state Class 3A champion, showed she's fit by winning the 5K by 30 seconds over teammate Cheryl Williams. Torin Burker, Sandy Wetzer and Amy King were the other scorers.
Mead, Adami and a couple of their teammates took it out early and, after about a mile, the lead pack contained six South Carroll runners, two from Liberty and two from North Carroll.
Another mile along, however, and Mead became antsy. "I just felt it was time to run a little harder, and we went from there," said the junior.
"Matt Adami stuck for a little bit, but the coach always says if we feel we can go harder to push it. Once the pace goes up, and it was me pushing it, I'm confident I can keep it up."
Mead's winning time of 18: 19 was reasonable, considering the often heavy footing, the heat (86 degrees), humidity (70 percent) and the fact this was the first race of the season. His margin of victory was about 100 yards.
"It's sure the team has got to get together and get a few things straight," said Mead.
"We have to do a lot better from now on. Last year, we were better and, sometimes, we tended to skate through meets where the competition wasn't that good. We better not try that this time around."
South Carroll is the defending state champion in Class 3A, but it never was able to beat Westminster in five head-to-head duels last season, including the county championship run.
Next Wednesday is the Westminster Invitational over the Western Maryland College golf course. That's when South Carroll knows it will have to produce if it is going to match the accomplishments of last year's squad, or exceed them.
Pub Date: 9/08/99