More than 100 cross country teams and about 2,600 runners will converge on Hereford's demanding three-mile course for the 12th annual Bull Run Invitational on Saturday.
All but one of The Sun's Top 10 boys and girls teams will compete in the event that draws from all over Maryland as well as from Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Washington.
No. 1 Calvert Hall is the only ranked team not in the field, but No. 7 Loyola, which finished second in last season's elite boys race, will try to move up a spot. Also in the elite field are No. 4 Mount Hebron, No. 6 Bel Air, Archbishop Curley, Centennial, Friends, North County, Perry Hall, South River and Westminster.
Calvert Hall will be running in the McDonald's Cross Country Festival in Richmond, Va., where they finished second last season.
On the girls' side, Hereford's Kristen Malloy is the defending champion. She will run in the girls elite race along with her No. 8 Bulls team. Also in the elite girls field: No. 1 Dulaney, No. 2 John Carroll, No. 3 Severna Park, No. 6 Howard, Bel Air, South River and Westminster.
One of the most prestigious high school cross country events on the East Coast, the Bull Run will begin at 9 a.m. with the boys large schools race. The boys elite race begins at 11:10 a.m., followed by the girls elite race at 11:40 a.m.
Comets' 'D' makes stand
The Catonsville defense didn't have its best effort in last week's football game against Franklin. The Comets gave up 28 points in the first half alone, but one decisive stop turned out to be enough for a 38-35 victory.
After being down 28-6 at halftime, the Comets rallied to tie the score at 35. Franklin then drove to the 50-yard line with 2:05 left in the game.
The Indians went for it on fourth-and-one, but the Catonsville defense stuffed the run.
"We sat down at halftime, and we knew we could compete with Franklin," Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said. "I told them we needed to come out and leave it out on the field."
The Comets turned to workhorse running back Reno Jiggetts to seal the win. Jiggetts ran the ball five straight times for 45 yards, setting up a game-winning field goal from Dan Vanik. Jiggetts finished with 261 yards and four touchdowns on 49 carries.
Catonsville (2-1) will need to have a similar effort for its next game. The Comets play No. 10 Parkville (3-0) at 7 on Friday night.
"This propels us into a tough game against Parkville, which is our homecoming game," Hambor said. "If we can put four quarters together, we can beat Parkville, if everything falls right for us."
Finding their stroke
Loch Raven's field hockey team wasn't even mentioned in preseason, but the Raiders have quickly jumped into contention thanks in large part to goalie Kirsten Kyne.
The junior, in her first season as a starter, made eight saves against nine penalty strokes to lead the Raiders to shootout victories over defending Baltimore County champion Dulaney and runner-up Hereford last week.
"I knew she was going to be pretty good," Raiders coach Danielle Grzebein said. "We brought her up for the regional semifinal game against Hereford, and we ended up losing, 2-1, but she did a very good job. She's come through the rec programs, and she goes to camps."
Against Dulaney, Kyne made 15 saves during regulation and overtime and did not allow a goal during the shootout. At then-No. 10 Hereford, Kyne stopped 12 shots from the Bulls and then four more in the shootout.
Alexa Demski, Kathryn Franke and Devin Reilly scored in the shootout against Dulaney, while Franke and Lindsey Ferris scored against Hereford.
Grzbein said talent and speed have been the key factors for the No. 14 Raiders, who were 5-0 heading into yesterday's game at Pikesville.
Catherine Vane, Kelly Stack and Christina Habicht have been key on defense, and Ferris, Demski and Franke control the midfield. There's a balanced attack paced by Allison Brown, Kayla Stolins, Amanda Mittlekamp and Julie Penhallegon.