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McAbee, Hubs quiet foes at Stoner Invitational

September 12, 1998|By RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

SMITHSBURG - The silence was Alex McAbee's cue.

His cue to take off, his cue to win the boys big schools A race at the Don Stoner Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Smithsburg High.

For the first half of the 3.1-mile race on a hilly layout in 91-degree heat, McAbee, a North Hagerstown senior, diced with teammate Chris Pereschuk and a couple others who had a notion of winning. But the sounds of footsteps and heavy breathing behind him faded from McAbee's perception about 1 1/2 miles in.

"I always listen. I heard them fading,'' said McAbee, who wisely chose sound rather than sight to check out his opponents.

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Generally, cross country runners who turn their head to see who's behind them do so because they're growing weary. It's a sign that they can be had. But McAbee didn't look and didn't need to. He figured it was time to take off.

"I felt good,'' he said. "(But) I knew I was taking a risk.''

His bolt from the pack turned out to be a good risk.

"I was keeping a nice mental discipline going,'' he said.

Nice enough to build a comfortable lead and win in 17 minutes, 25.1 seconds, a 13.4-second margin over Colin Russell of Francis Scott Key.

Pereschuk finished fifth, Erik Lenhart 10th, Brad Mentzer 12th and Johnavin McKinley 15th to give North the team title with 37 points. Boonsboro was second with 72.

The girls made it a sweep for North in the big schools A races. Kari McCarty held off an early challenge from Boonsboro's Angie Rhoderick to win in 21:00.6. Rhoderick took second in 21:17.6.

The North girls placed four runners in the top 10 and six in the top 19 to score 43 points to 53 for runner-up Boonsboro.

Rhoderick led McCarty a little more than a half mile into the race. But about a minute later, McCarty passed Rhoderick and built a five-second lead at the mile mark in 6:14. She controlled the race the rest of the way.

North coach Frank McAdoo said the meet, the third of the season, was key for the Hubs because "in the first two, we came up a little short.''

He said the B team changed North's momentum in Saturday's first race. North placed seven runners in the top 10.

"The B team challenged the next two teams to win,'' McAdoo said.

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