Tough Mountain Run tames Wildcats girls

September 22, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

WOODSBORO, Md. - "That hill ... God ... it was a killer."

The hill Williamsport's Laura Forsythe was referring to was the granddaddy of all climbs Tuesday at the fourth annual Mountain Run Invitational. It was about a half-mile long and hit the runners during the first mile of the 3-mile course.

While Forsythe survived it, finishing third overall in the girls race, she needed more of her teammates to climb it with her. By herself, Forsythe was no match for Westminster, which beat Williamsport, last year's girls team champion, 44-63 for the title. Frederick was third with 81.

"Obviously, it would have been nice to win," Forsythe said. "But we all know that the end of the season is more important. ... And second's still not bad. It's definitely a tough course. We always compare it to Hereford."


Hereford High School, host of the Maryland state meet each November, is where the Wildcats have shined recently. Williamsport won the Class 1A title in 2002, getting all of their scoring from Forsythe, Theresa Ruland, Makenna Hardy, Amanda Breeden and Kristin Berry, who were all freshmen, and repeated the feat last fall with the same five runners.

Now that they're juniors, they should be winning everything in sight, right?

Well, Hardy is out for the season with a stress fracture, Berry is sidelined indefinitely with some nagging injuries and Ruland, who finished ninth Tuesday as the Wildcats' No. 2 runner, is competing with a broken wrist.

"We're just focused right now on getting everybody healthy," Forsythe said.

So all in all, finishing second to Westminster, a 4A school, really isn't too bad. Eleven teams finished behind the Wildcats.

"As long as we don't lose anyone else, we still should be OK in 1A," Williamsport coach Randy Buchman said. "But I had hoped we could be among the top three or four teams in the whole state. But it looks like that dream will have to wait until next year."

Westminster junior Trisha Repsher won the race in a meet-record 20 minutes, 15 seconds, 1:01 ahead of runner-up Jamie Wright of Catoctin. Rounding out the top five were Forsythe (21:24), Frederick's Inna Potekhina (21:45) and Westminster's Carly Gavigan (21:52). Clear Spring senior Ashley Lockard, the defending 1A state champ, didn't compete due to an ankle injury, and Thomas Johnson senior Chelsea Powell, winner of the previous two Mountain Run races, is not running cross country this fall.

n Frederick senior Morgan Sowell, who used to spend his falls kicking the soccer ball for the Cadets, now is getting his kicks out of tearing up cross country races.

The first-year harrier never trailed Tuesday, cruising to the win in a meet-record 16:53, 11 seconds ahead of North Hagerstown's Hemu Arumugam, the runner-up.

"I played soccer my whole life, but I think my decision was for the best," said Sowell, a two-time Herald-Mail All-Area Second Team distance runner on the track. "Colleges are really looking at me for track and cross country. Coaches would ask me what my cross country times were, and I didn't have any."

TJ's Marshal Lawrence, last year's Mountain Run champ, was third (17:27) and Francis Scott Key's Steven Staub and Brian Leiter were fourth (17:29) and fifth (17:32).

FSK won the team title with 51 points. Westminster took second (83) and Middletown was third (108).

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