Four runners heading to Foot Locker event

November 19, 1996


Staff Correspondent

Liz Lowrie said she's had only one good race in the 1996 cross country season.

She's hoping to make it two in a row.

The Urbana High School sophomore has won two consecutive Class 1A state titles. She now has her sights set on the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships-Northeast Regional on Nov. 28 in New York City.

Lowrie leads a four-person contingent from the area hoping to make a name for themselves. North Hagerstown's Kari McCarty, Catoctin's Inga Olsen and Linganore's Jonathan Hayes are also expected to compete in the 5K (3.1-mile) race.


"I wasn't gonna do it," Lowrie said. "(But) my parents decided I could do it.

"I just wanna go back and do at least as good as last year. I want to improve my time," said Lowrie, who finished 44th in about 19 minutes, 30 seconds, in last year's championships.

The four area runners met a qualifying standard for the high-profile seeded races. Lowrie, Olsen and McCarty all bettered the girls' standard of 19:50. Hayes has topped the 16:30 boys' mark.

Other runners from the area qualified for the event, but for a variety of reasons, have chosen not to participate.

Lowrie is looking forward to the Foot Locker race.

"I run it for experience," Lowrie said. "I ran for the Linganore Lightning community club. I used to go to nationals then - it was a lot easier than Foot Locker."

The first mile of the race is almost entirely flat, following a concrete path to the 1 1/2 mile point, in which runners are opposed by the park's wooded, rolling hills on a rocky path. With a half-mile to go, the course returns to its amiable flat nature, allowing the runners a fast finish.

"The course is pretty (fast)," Lowrie said. "But so many girls made it hard about 200 runners."

College recruiters will be plentiful, hovering near the finish line, scouring the high school talent in search of the next Lynn Jennings or Bob Kennedy.

The area should be well represented at the championships. Olsen finished three places and less than 60 seconds behind Lowrie in the state title race at Hereford. McCarty failed in her bid for a Class 2A trophy, finishing three seconds behind the winner. She has lost two state meets by a combined four seconds. Hayes, meanwhile, battled sickness and a poor start early in the season to come back and finish second for Linganore at a 17:01 clip, leading the Lancers to the Class 3A boys' team title.

Of course, the trip to New York is an expensive one. But in this case - just as in competition - Lowrie is one step ahead of the rest.

"I have relatives in New York," Lowrie said. "Last year, Inga went up with us, and we slept at my uncle's. We were there for three days."

And in those three days, anything can happen. In fact, most runners hope something will.

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