In the 11 years that veteran North County cross country and track coach Ed Harte has been assembling the field for his Knights' Invite, he's always tried to bring in the cream of the crop.
Mission accomplished for tomorrow's running extravaganza set to fire off at 3:30 p.m. at Baybrook Park in Brooklyn (off Church Street near the Myers Pavilion).
Harte has managed to round up his most, if not the most talented field to compete in the 3-mile cross country romp atop Sixth Street Field.
Some 26 schools, nine of them ranked in either The Sun's girls or boys top 10's, the girls defending champion and last weekend's gold- medal winners at the prestigious Spiked Shoe Invitational will all be on hand tomorrow.
"I'm pretty excited about this one," said Harte, an avid runner himself who lives and breathes the sport.
"We've got a lot of quality runners coming into Baybrook."
No. 3-ranked Broadneck's Lauren Riesett, a '99 county champion and region runner-up, took the gold medal in last year's Knights' Invite in a time of 18 minutes, 57 seconds.
Riesett will be challenged by sophomore Nyam Kagwima of No. 5 Bryn Mawr, top-ranked C. Milton Wright's Kacie Remeto and Cara Wettlaufer, No. 10 Archbishop Spalding junior U'Tonna Sherrod and possibly Becca Funk of No. 4 Severna Park.
Kagwima won first place in the Spiked Shoe at Johns Hopkins University last weekend with a time of 20:48 over the 5K course with Remeto and Wettlaufer sixth and seventh, respectively.
Other top girls' teams competing are Towson with Anastasia Mukhina, No. 9 Harte's North County with Kelsey Scheitlin, Notre Dame Prep, McDonogh, Perry Hall, St. Mary's and Catholic.
On the boys' side, Spalding's Dusty Lieb and No. 5 C. Milton Wright's Pat Bailey, who finished 1-2 in the Spiked Shoe, are the favorites along with Matt Schelberg of No. 10 Loyola. A couple of county harriers in Meade's David Pickett and Justin Marvel of fourth- ranked Severna Park are sleepers.
Lieb won the Spiked Shoe with a time of 17:04 with Bailey 18 seconds back at 17:22.
Perry Hall, last year's Baltimore County champion, Archbishop Curley, Towson, Parkville and Montgomery County's Magruder are also among the boys teams which include all 12 Anne Arundel public schools.
Craig Haas and Jeff Blass lead Arundel while Broadneck's pacesetter is Steve Weller and Tim Pratt is the man to watch from North County.
Spalding standout distance runner Lieb carries a 4.3 grade-point average and 1,450 on his SAT. ... Last spring's second-team All-County 2B Matt Cipollone of Severna Park made the University of Maryland fall baseball team as a walk-on.
Top candidates for the vacant North County baseball head coaching position are Knights assistant baseball and football coach Dave Doy and Glen Burnie JV baseball coach/amateur umpire Dan Mangum Jr. ... No. 3 Mount St. Joseph junior QB Joe Peeler, who tied a school record for most TD passes (5) in a game, one short of the state record (6) shared by Tom Terry of Annapolis (1970) and North County's Eric Howard (1992), is a Pasadena resident.
Anne Arundel County got shut out in this week's Associated Press football Top 20. Annapolis was No. 20 in the first poll, but fell out after losing, 38-28, to Old Mill with the latter getting votes along with Severna Park in this week's rankings topped off by The Sun's No. 1 team, Gilman.
Apologies to one of the county's top volleyball players in Severna Park's returning All-County junior hitter Lauren Klau. We regret that her first name was wrong in The Sun's special preview section.
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