Co-Runners of the Year
Josh Davis, Sr., Westminster: The hard-working senior finally gets his just reward. After entering the postseason with one career victory, Davis came away with wins at both the county and regional championships, then went on to take third at the Class 4A state meet to help the Owls capture the team title. The team's No. 2 runner since his freshman year, backing up Runners of the Year Greg Fisher (1996) and Jason Santucci (1887 and 1998), Davis trained hard and patiently waited for his chance, battling through injuries that forced him to sit out the indoor and outdoor track seasons his junior year. "I've waited for this for four years," he said following his first county championship. Said co-Runner of the Year and teammate Jesse O'Connell: "No one is prouder of him than I am."
He also took third at the Peter Garaghty Invitational at Mount St. Mary's, fourth at the Westminster Invitational, sixth at Boonsboro's Frank Keyser Invitational, seventh at the Central Maryland Conference championships and ninth at the prestigious Hereford Invitational.
Jesse O'Connell, Sr., Westminster: Along with Davis, O'Connell gave the Owls the best one-two punch in the state. The 6-foot-5 athlete, who has exceptional speed for his height, took second at the county championships, fourth at the region and Central Maryland Conference meets and second at the Class 4A state meet. He also finished an impressive fifth at the Hereford Invitational, helping the Owls to the title.
Just as important, he was a vocal team leader who helped drive teammates to perform at peak levels. "He's a great leader and the most organized runner we have," said coach Dave Cox. "He's motivational, vocal and very interested in pushing other runners on the team."
Other highlights of his season were third-place finishes at the Westminster Invitational and Frank Keyser Invitational at Boonsboro High and a second at the Garaghty Invitational at Mount St. Mary's. Also a middle-distance standout in track, he captured county, region and state titles in the 800 meters last spring.
Coach of the Year
Dave Cox, Westminster: The Owls graduated their top runner in two-time Runner of the Year Jason Santucci, but didn't miss a beat, winning their 16th straight county championship before picking up their fourth straight Class 4A state title. Though the team certainly had no lack of talent -- led by Co-Runners of the Year Josh Davis and Jesse O'Connell -- Cox, a third-year coach, managed to squeeze every ounce of potential out of his athletes.
At the county meet, Westminster captured five of the top seven spots to easily hold off second-place South Carroll. At the Class 4A state championship, the Owls amazingly put four in the top seven to dominate powers like Severna Park, Gaithersburg and Walt Whitman. No other team had more than one in the top 10.
It was also this "pack mentality," as he calls it, that led to one of his fondest memories in recent years -- a win at the Hereford Invitational, where Westminster placed five in the top 23. "They're intelligent guys, and I really feel like they're some of the leaders in the school," Cox said of his runners. "There's a very strong team element. If we focus on just five runners, then we can't be successful."
Matt Adami, Jr., South Carroll: The talented junior had a season to remember, taking third at the county championships despite a bout with the flu. He then took second at both the region and Class 3A state meets, leading the Cavaliers to a runner-up state finish behind River Hill. Also a track standout, this is his second straight year as a first-team selection.
Dominique Cook, Jr., Westminster: The up-and-coming junior wrapped up another impressive season with a seventh-place finish at the county championships, helping Westminster to its 16th straight title. He also took ninth at the Westminster Invitational, 18th at the Frank Keyser Invitational and 36th at the Class 4A state meet at Hereford High.
Tristan Gilbert, Sr., Westminster: Seven was a lucky number this fall for the Owls senior, who took seventh place at both the Frank Keyser and Westminster invitationals before also taking seventh at the Class 4A state championships, helping the Owls to their fourth straight team victory. He also finished sixth in the county and fifth at the Peter Garaghty Invitational.
Bobby Mead, Jr., South Carroll: Along with teammate Matt Adami, Mead gave the Cavaliers a powerful combination. After winning October's Westminster Invitational, beating Adami by two seconds, he went on to take fourth in the county, third in the region and sixth at the Class 3A state meet, where he helped his team to a runner-up finish. Also a standout miler, he has the ability to excel at anything from 800 meters to 3,200 meters on the track.
Kevin Pool, Jr., Westminster: One of the Owls' top three runners, along with Josh Davis and Jesse O'Connell, Pool was a consistent scorer for the Class 4A state champions. He took fourth at the Peter Garaghty Invitational, fifth at both the Frank Keyser Invitational and Westminster Invitational before taking fifth in the county, second at the regions -- to Davis -- and sixth at the state meet.
Runner of the Year
Colleen Lawson, Jr., North Carroll: The junior repeats as Runner of the Year following yet another stellar season that culminated with a Class 3A state championship. Though not always dominating, she consistently did whatever was required to pull out big victories, all the while scoring big points for the upset-minded Panthers. She won the Carroll County championship by 19 seconds over Tara Callegary, the Class 3A West Region championship by four seconds over Walter Johnson's Jenny Bodine and the Class 3A state championship by 14 seconds over River Hill's Lee McDuff.
She also took second at the Westminster Invitational and led her team on an improbable run, which saw it go from last to first in the county by knocking off four-time defending champion Westminster.
After starting last season on the soccer team, Lawson has emerged into a talent that's sure to grace the record books for years to come.
The best thing for the Panthers is that Lawson and every other integral member of the team is set to return next season for what's certain to be a strong run at a state title.
Coach of the Year
Kourtnay Purcaro, North Carroll: To see why Purcaro is Coach of the Year, one need look no further than October's Carroll County championships at Western Maryland College. There, a year after finishing dead last, the Panthers upended four-time defending champion Westminster to put an exclamation point on an improbable worst-to-first season.
In a county where the Owls have long reigned supreme, Purcaro's Panthers started the season with modest expectations, simply hoping to finish among the top three. Soon those expectations changed, especially after North Carroll finished ahead of Westminster at both the Westminster Invitational and Central Maryland Conference meets.
A week after taking fourth in the CMC, the Panthers came back just a week later to place all seven of their runners in the top 13 at county championships. Said Purcaro following the meet: "They had a greater desire today to come in first." From there, the team, led by Runner of the Year Colleen Lawson, went on to take second at the regional and Class 3A state meets, both to Montgomery County powerhouse Walter Johnson.
Tarynn Barker, Soph., North Carroll: Another big reason for North Carroll's resurgence, Barker showed loads of potential in her sophomore year. She did some of her best work in the post-season, finishing sixth in the county -- helping the Panthers to a win over four-time defending champion Westminster -- before taking 13th at Class 3A state meet at Hereford.
Tara Callegary, Soph., Westminster: There was no sophomore jinx for this Owls standout, who again finds a spot on the first team. The Carroll County runner-up took third at the Frank Keyser Invitational, fifth at the Westminster Invitational and ninth at the Class 4A, East regional, before finishing a strong 11th at the state meet. She was consistently the top runner on a team that took second in the county.
Kate Henshaw, Jr., Westminster: This talented junior was consistently the second-best runner on a Westminster team that finished runner-up in Carroll County. She took third at the county meet after finishing sixth at the Westminster Invitational and eighth at the Frank Keyser Invitational. She went on to place 12th at Class 4A, East regional and 28th in the state.
Amy King, Soph., North Carroll: The sophomore showed some of her great potential through the season, taking 14th at the Westminster Invitational before finishing seventh at the Carroll County championships at Western Maryland College. She went on to place 31st at Class 3A state championships, helping her team to a second-place finish.
Lindsey Schwartz, Soph, South Carroll: The sophomore was a very bright spot on a Cavaliers squad that didn't have much to cheer about this season. After finishing fifth at the county championships, she went on to take ninth at regionals and 17th at the Class 3A state meet at Hereford High. She should only continue to improve.
Cheryl Williams, Soph., North Carroll: The emergence of Williams was a major reason why North Carroll vaulted into the county's top spot this season. She was a consistent performer who took ninth at the Westminster Invitational before really turning it on for the post-season, finishing fourth in the county, third in the region and 10th at the Class 3A state championship meet.
The Baltimore Sun 1999 All-Carroll County cross country teams were selected by Rich Scherr after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.