County teams, runners cruise in 2A, 3A races; River Hill dominates 3A; Hebron, Atholton 2A titlists; Regional cross country


Howard County swept all four team and individual titles at the combined Class 3A East and Class 2A South Regional cross country championships yesterday at Centennial.

County champion Mike Styczynski of River Hill led his team to the Class 3A boys title and set the course record at 16 minutes, 22.77 seconds. The old mark was 16: 34.

River Hill, with 17 points, easily defeated runner-up Wilde Lake with 71 points. The Hawks took five of the first six places, with Steven Chu (16: 41.47) second, Shane Stroup third, Mike Flegg fifth and Wesley McCoy sixth.

"The boys ran as expected," coach Earl Lauer said. "They tied the regional record for fewest points."

County girls champion Lee McDuff won her second regional title and led River Hill's girls to the Class 3A championship in a first-place time of 19: 50.19.

Teammate Susan Wilson was second at 20: 44.87, Anna Lucas seventh, Kristina Giovanis ninth, and Peggy Chu 13th. Kristen Lewis was 15th and Laura Hostetler 16th.

"Our girls' pack was tighter, so I was happy with that," Lauer said. "And Lee [McDuff] ran well, considering no one was pushing her."

Taking five of the first six places, Mount Hebron essentially swept the Class 2A girls title with 15 points, well ahead of runner-up Centennial at 86 points.

Kate Frande led the Vikings with her first-place finish of 19: 40.51, the day's fastest girls time, three seconds faster than McDuff's in the 3A race. Frande barely lost to McDuff at the county title meet. Faye Goddard was third for Mount Hebron, Sierra Charon fourth, Lindsay Evens fifth and Kit Collins sixth.

Howard's Bridget Baker prevented a perfect day for the Vikings girls. Baker finished second at 19: 52.35 but because the Lions did not enter a full team, Mount Hebron was awarded the minimum-possible team points, 15.

Atholton won the boys Class 2A title, edging runner-up Centennial 44-46. The top Raiders included Matt Barresi (third), Steven Miller (seventh), Andrew Breen (eighth), Wesley Lipple (ninth) and Justin Cherot (17th).

Hammond's Steve Rivas won the individual title in 17: 12.16 over runner-up Shawn Spencer of Centennial at 17: 16.16. Rivas had lost to Spencer twice this season.

"I have a good late kick and like long hills, so this course was perfect for me," Rivas said. "I got out to an early lead, and no one came with me. [But] I knew the Centennial kid and I would fight it out."

The win was Rivas' fifth in nine races this season but, by far, his most significant victory.

County teams that advanced to states included Atholton, Centennial, Mount Hebron and Hammond in boys Class 2A; Mount Hebron, Centennial, Hammond and Atholton in girls Class 2A; River Hill and Wilde Lake in both boys and girls Class 3A.

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