With the words "If we don't take risks, we're not going to improve," ringing in their ears, C. Milton Wright's girls attempted to run personal bests in the Harford County Cross Country Championships yesterday.
None of the top five accomplished the goal, including Kacie Remeto, who was an easy winner over the new 3-mile Tollgate Recreation Complex course in 18 minutes, 32 seconds.
"That's all right," cautioned coach Murray Davis, who set up the day's plan of attack. "If you didn't run the way you wanted to, blame me. We wanted to run faster right from the start; you were following orders."
So after all was said and done and a lot of the girls had long faces when they collected their times at the finish, how did the team do?
Pitched a shutout.
Remeto's teammates Heather McHugh, Cara Wettlaufer, Jessica Hepner and Erin Shockley grabbed the next four spots as Wright scored just 15 points to 69 for runner-up John Carroll and 89 by North Harford.
It was a day for romps for the Mustangs. The boys team, led by Jake Still (16: 09), easily outpaced runner-up Bel Air, 24-54, with North Harford a distant third (91).
"We just don't go out and run," said Davis of his scheme to have his runners write down immediate and long-term objectives on index cards. "Everything we do is calculated, not arbitrary. We want the kids to have fun, yes, but we also want them to educate themselves on every aspect of running. We work at this two hours a day, six days a week."
And it shows. The girls are the No. 1 team in the metro area and the boys are ranked fifth, in The Sun's poll.
"Our objective," says Davis, "is for both squads to be state champions."
Remeto led every step on the way to her 10th victory in 11 meets. McHugh was nearly a minute behind (19: 30), while the first non-Wright runner to finish, Jessica Kearney of John Carroll, checked in sixth at 20: 24.
Still took his time getting under way in the boys' race, with teammate Mike Peterson leading the pack through the first mile. Once he got to the lead, only runner-up Will Murdock of Bel Air had a chance to catch him, and Still saw to it that this didn't happen by sprinting the last 100 yards.