Sergiy Zubko's dream of becoming a triathlete helped him earn his first career cross country victory.
After a summer of mixing in distance runs with swimming laps, Zubko, a sophomore at River Hill, displayed strength and endurance in winning the boys large schools race in the Interstate Classic at Clear Spring High in Washington County yesterday.
Zubko credited a twice-a-day, five-days-a-week swimming regimen for giving him the stamina to finish the three-mile course in 16 minutes, 42.9 seconds.
"In running, you breathe every time," Zubko said. "In swimming, the less you breathe, the faster you go. I guess that helped out here."
Zubko's performance helped the No. 8 Hawks post 46 points and claim victory in the invitational. Junior Nicholas Keane was second in 16:50.2, senior Daniel Loyco fifth in 17:12.5, junior Andrew Seelaus 13th in 17:35.1 and freshman Felix Stief 25th in 18:02.7.
Magruder of Montgomery County placed second in the team standings with 67 points, while Glenelg was third with 116. Oakland Mills finished ninth with 220 points.
In the girls large schools division, No. 9 Glenelg placed five runners within the top 30 to win the team race.
Senior Chelsea Kapp - running cross country for the first time - finished third with a time of 20:27.3, junior Katie Pencek was fifth in 20:55.3, junior Jessica Hibbert 14th in 21:48.3, sophomore Stephanie Sones 21st in 22:03.2 and junior Mary Novak 27th in 22:46.7.
Their times overshadowed the absences of senior Rachel Bounds, who has been battling a cold, and junior Mallory Heinke, who is recovering from a stress fracture in her lower leg.
"That's a good sign," Gladiators co-coach Steve Ruckert said of the squad's depth.
Jefferson (W.Va.) was second with 102 points, while River Hill placed third with 105.
Peter Geraghty Invitational: No. 3 Bryn Mawr fell three points shy of successfully defending the girls crown, collecting 66 points to Oakton's 63.
Mawrtians sophomore Laura Paulsen was the area's top individual finisher, placing fourth in 20:46.91. Sophomore Jessica Clark of Mount de Sales also finished in the top 10, taking ninth with a time of 21:00.61.
The Sailors were eighth with 192 points, while Notre Dame Prep was 10th with 258.
On the boys side, senior Ryan Audy of Mount St. Joseph was ninth in 17:33.49. The No. 7 Gaels posted the area's best finish by placing fifth with 142 points.