Over the past two weeks, a new standout has popped onto the metro cross country scene -- Towson's Cori Koch.
At Saturday's Hereford Bull Run, Koch won the small schools race in 19 minutes, 40 seconds, beating the next closest finisher by 40 seconds. That time would have landed her third in the seeded race, 17 seconds ahead of defending Class 2A state champ Emily Buzzell.
A week earlier, Koch won the flatter Knights Invitational at Baybrook Park in a personal-best 18:28.
Koch, a transfer from St. Paul's, finished third at the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland meet last season, her first in cross country.
Until the Knights Invitational, the Generals junior was a well-kept secret from everyone except Towson coach Ed Rafferty.
"Before she had even run a race," Rafferty said, "I said to [track coach] Ed Faya that she looks like she will definitely be No. 2 in the county. It's just going to be a matter of time to see if that No. 2 sticks or if we can challenge" defending county champion Dulaney's Tenke Zoltani.
Zoltani, last season's All-Metro Runner of the Year, ran 19:10 at the Bull Run, 30 seconds faster than Koch on the same course that they are likely to have their first meeting -- the county title meet.
Koch, who has blossomed with Rafferty's training and a solid running partner in Anastasia Mukhina (fifth at the Bull Run), has already beaten her best competition for the state Class 2A crown. Now, she can't wait for her first race against Zoltani, the defending Class 4A champ.
"I just want to go up against Tenke," Koch said. "I think running against her will help me, and I want to see how much she pushes me."
Off and running at Gibbons
Cardinals Gibbons sophomore running back Hassan Muhammad leads area rushers and scorers with 782 yards and 13 touchdowns on 70 carries for the Crusaders (4-1).
Muhammad is coming off a 254-yard, four-touchdown effort on 12 carries in a recent victory over Friends. Muhammad had 347 all-purpose yards in the game.
The Crusaders' only loss was by 21-13 to Bullis, which has a 3-0 record and one of the state's top returning running backs in Serge Tikum.
City volleyball showdown
Western and Poly will meet Friday in a non-division game that could be a prelude to the City volleyball championship.
The Doves (2-1) defeated Poly (3-2) in last year's City final for their fourth straight title. Poly's last title came in 1990.
All-City/County pick Ericka Butler (2.3 kills a game) leads the Doves along with Lillian Drumgold and Jossette Wiggins, who is serving at 100 percent.
Slowik is hard to miss
Eastern Tech's Tim Slowik Jr., a 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior lineman, has a lot going for himself besides size.
The junior carries a 3.4 grade-point average, mostly in gifted and talented courses he started taking in sixth grade, and ranks No. 17 in his class of 349 students.
Slowik, a member of a line whose average size is 6-1, 235 pounds, has missed a combined three days of school since first grade.
Cubs tennis is back
Catholic High has revived its tennis team after a 14-year absence and is competing in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference.
The Cubs, led by top singles player Laura Schuller and doubles players Rachel Caras and Amanda Kubista, did not win a match in their opener at Glenelg Country, but coach David Owens is just glad to have a team back on the court.
The Cubs have six more matches scheduled through mid-October, including two at their home courts in Clifton Park.
Stan White Jr. excelling
Gilman tight end/linebacker Stan White Jr. is shaping up in the mold of his dad, Greyhounds assistant coach Stan White Sr., an All-American at Ohio State and who later played for the Colts.
In last weekend's come-from-behind 21-6 victory over visiting Landon of Bethesda in Montgomery County, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior led the Greyhounds in receiving (four receptions, 52 yards), tackles and had a critical fourth-period interception.
The younger White clocked a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at a summer camp at Ohio State.