With less than 200 yards to go in the boys race of yesterday's Meade Cross Country Classic, Loyola's Matt Schelberg seemed headed for a gold medal. The host school's David Pickett had been pressing for half-a-mile, but he just couldn't put a dent in Schelberg's 40-yard lead.
Suddenly, Schelberg slowed down, unsure if he was on course. In an instant, the runners were even, and being under a full head of steam, Pickett prevailed in a sprint in 18 minutes, 29 seconds, four seconds ahead of Schelberg.
"Frustrating," the runner-up said of his faux pas. "I've been pointing toward this race for two weeks, and I think I would have won if I didn't lose the orange line after the last turn."
Loyola missed the course review, arriving at Blob's Park, alongside the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, only 20 minutes before race time because of traffic problems. But Schelberg finished second in last year's race, so the finish should have been familiar.
"Probably," he said, "but when I veered to the left, maybe I panicked a bit. I had lost all my momentum."
Loyola finished second in the team competition, too, Whitman High winning easily with its five scorers crowded into the first 19 finishers. McDonogh, Perry Hall and Oakland Mills completed the top five over the 3.3-mile layout.
In the girls race, Parkville's Christie Myers (21: 57) won by five seconds over Towson's Anastasia Mokhina, and teammate Sheree Geroux finished fourth (22: 16). But this and freshmen Katie Drumm and Meghan Bailey finishing 19th and 20th wasn't enough to lift Parkville to the team title.
It finished second to Mount de Sales, whose 6-7-10-13-14 blitz was led by Megan Adams (23: 18) and Lara Wittstadt (23: 36). Perry Hall, Towson and Catonsville finished third, fourth and fifth.
St. Paul's Invitational
St. Paul's boys put just one runner in the top 10, Nick Van Sant at No. 7, but the Crusaders' depth paid off in squeezing by Mount Hebron and Glenelg by two and four points, respectively, at its invitational meet yesterday. Glenelg's John Goldsmith won the boys 5-kilometer by 18 seconds over Severn's Chris Foster in 17: 35.
It was even closer for the top two spots in the girls competition, Glenelg nipping Mount Hebron, 51-52. Mount Hebron's Kate Frande (13: 27) breezed by 45 seconds in the girls 2.1-mile race.