History shows that no champion of the Bull Run Invitational had ever repeated that effort. Yesterday, two runners rewrote that history in less than 21 minutes.
Seniors Lee McDuff of River Hill and Mike Myers of Eastern in New Jersey captured individual titles in the large schools and elite divisions, respectively, to headline the fifth annual Bull Run Invitational at Hereford High School in Parkton.
McDuff, who grabbed the crown last year in the same division, finished the 3-mile hilly course in 20 minutes, 11 seconds. Although her time was slower than her winning time of 20:04 last season, McDuff said she felt more energetic yesterday.
"I just wanted to come out and run a really strong race," said the two-time All-Met runner. "There were a few times when I felt tired, but I felt the kick and was much more refreshed."
McDuff's finish, which was 18 seconds better than runner-up Mary O'Connor of Edison, N.J., helped propel the No. 3 Hawks to a team championship in the large schools division.
Courtesy of performances by Susan Wilson (10th place), Anne Cunningham (11), Peggy Chu (14), and Jennifer Green (33), River Hill skipped past Broadneck, 69-84.
Myers won last year's elite division with a time of 16:38. Yesterday, he bettered that time by 38 seconds, blasting the course record of 16:19 set by Jon Thelen of Susquehannock, Pa., in 1997.
Finishing one second behind Myers was Dustin Lieb of No. 10 Archbishop Spalding, who also finished second last year in the small schools division. The senior who won the Knights Invitational last Friday applauded Myers' effort.
"He ran really great," Lieb said. "I just tried to stick with him toward the end and kick with him, but he had too much speed."
Good Counsel of Montgomery County won the team title in the elite division, defeating top-ranked South Carroll, 106-149.
In the girls elite race, junior Tenke Zoltani of second-ranked Dulaney erased some bad memories with a winning time of 19:10.
Zoltani, who failed to finish last year's event due to shin splints, finished with a comfortable lead over Karen Pulliam of Quince Orchard (19:23) and defending champ Emily Buzzell of Middletown (19:57).
"The pace went out too fast last year, which is why I hurt my shins," said Zoltani, last season's All-Met Performer of the Year. "I decided to run at my own pace and not follow Emily."
The team championship went to defending champ Middletown, which edged top-ranked C. Milton Wright, 84-91.
In the boys large schools division, Will Murdock of No. 8 Bel Air crossed the finish line first with a time of 17:04. The junior, who defeated Woodlawn senior Alexis Rice (17:15), said he was delighted about improving on his sixth-place performance of last year.
"I really didn't have winning on my mind," Murdock said. "I wanted to place in the top five. If I was only fourth or fifth, I would've still been happy."
Towson had a day to remember in both the boys and girls small schools divisions. The second-ranked boys captured the team crown, squeaking past Middletown, 94-97.
And in the girls races, junior Kori Koch won her second consecutive invitational with a time of 19:40, while the No. 9 Generals eased past Bryn Mawr, 118-131, for the team championship.
Koch, a transfer from St. Paul's , was running at Hereford for only the second time in her high school career.
"It's pretty much all uphill," she said. "I just wanted to run as fast as I could during the flatter parts and keep the leads on the hills because I'm not very good on hills."