Tricia O'Connell (Catonsville), Kacie Remeto (C. Milton Wright), Dusty Lieb (Archbishop Spalding) and Justin Marvel (Severna Park) were the front-runners in the big races at the Anne Arundel County Cross Country Invitational yesterday.
But it was the competition among teams that had hundreds of spectators hustling around the 3.1-mile course at Annapolis High seeking a better view of the runners.
In the boys' large-school title run, for example, the overall difference in time between the five scorers of victor Severna Park and runner-up C. M. Wright was less than one second per runner, the former prevailing, 54-57.
Meanwhile, in the girls' large-school race, runners from C. M. Wright, Severna Park and Eleanor Roosevelt dominated, grabbing all but one of the first 18 positions. They were not evenly split, however, Remeto (19 minutes, 46 seconds) and Heather McHugh (20: 11) pacing top-rated C. M. Wright's juggernaut to a 1-2-4-5-7 finish and 19 points. State champion Severna Park was next with 50 points, followed by Roosevelt with 57.
In the small-schools competition, O'Connell (19: 53) and Lieb (16: 55, the best time of the day) were off by themselves at the finish but weren't able to pull their teams to victory.
Catonsville finished second to Spalding among the girls, U'Tonna Sherrod, Kelly Zuknick and Grace Wetzel finishing 2-3-4 behind O'Connell while Spalding was scoring 55 points.
Lieb's time was 15 seconds better than the rest of the 96-runner field, and, if Wakefield, Va., hadn't spoiled things by scoring 64 points, they might have gone to fractions to determine the team title.
Gilman, with Mike Lipman (17: 48) and Mike Krueger (17: 49) finishing 4-5 for scoring purposes, finished second with 114. Spalding was third at 119.
Calvert Hall, which had ruled this event the past several years, couldn't challenge Severna Park and C.M. Wright seriously, both teams getting a sixth runner (blocker) across the finish line before the Cardinals scored their fifth man.
All told, there were 10 races and 32 schools were represented.
Bryn Mawr, in the girls' race, and Wilde Lake, in the boys' competition, won over rivals by the same margin (eight points) at the Mervo Cross Country Invitational in Herring Run Park. Nyam Kagwima (20: 36) paced Bryn Mawr past Wilde Lake, 61-69, while Wilde Lake's depth paid off in its 50-58 victory over Liberty.
Clevon Johnson (18: 01) of Woodlawn won the boys' race.