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Loch Raven's finishing draw busts Wildcats

November 14, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

PARKTON, Md. - Loch Raven's straight flush beat Williamsport's pair of aces as the Wildcats' two-year run of the Class 1A girls table ended Saturday at the Maryland State Cross Country Championships.

While Clear Spring's Ashley Lockard won the hilly 3-mile race in 20 minutes, 35 seconds, Williamsport's Theresa Ruland (20:49) and Laura Forsythe (21:31) weren't far behind, finishing third and sixth to pace the 'Cats.

But by the time Kara Hardy, Williamsport's third runner, crossed the line in 18th place, all five of Loch Raven's scorers already were in the finish chute.

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Loch Raven, the runner-up to Williamsport last year, took the eighth, ninth, 10th, 13th and 14th places, putting together a winning total of 25 points - 21 fewer than the second-place 'Cats.

"That's what wins in cross country," Williamsport coach Randy Buchman said. "Like poker, you need five good cards in your hand.

"We're disappointed, but we just ran into a great team. We didn't have our best day, but it's not like we had a meltdown. We had 46 points. That would win it here most years."

· North Hagerstown junior Hemu Arumugam, Washington County's other title contender, had a day he probably would like to forget his Class 2A run.

Arumugam - this year's MVAL Antietam, Washington County and 2A West champion - finished 28th in 18:43. He was seventh as a freshman and sixth last season.

His undoing might have come in the first mile. After getting off to his trademark slow start, Arumugam seemingly tried to make up too much ground too quickly, passing roughly 50 runners to move into fourth place by the 1-mile mark. He gradually faded during the second half of the race and nearly collapsed at the finish line.

"Bake (North coach Terry Baker) kept saying the race doesn't start until the cornfield (roughly two miles into the race)," said Cameron Hanlin, who placed ninth (18:08) to lead North to a fifth-place team finish. "That's when I started picking off people."

He never expected to pick off Arumugam.

"Ever since I've been a freshman, I've been trying to beat him. But I never had," Hanlin said. "But this doesn't count as a real win. I wish it would have been under different circumstances."

· Clear Spring's Jimmy Atkins turned in the area's top time Saturday, placing fourth in the Class 1A boys race in 17:57. Beall took the top three spots in the race on its way to a winning team total of 25 points.

"The way I look at: Beall is just a powerhouse," Atkins said. "I beat everyone out here today but Beall."

Oakland Mills finished second with 66 points. Clear Spring took third with 75.

"Third place is awesome," Atkins said. "The best Clear Spring had ever finished was fourth. We only have 400 kids in our school, and we want the rest of the state to know that we're here. Clear Spring gets overlooked in a lot of sports."

· The area's other medal winners (top-15 finishers) included:

Class 1A boys - Clear Spring's Josh Keyfauver (eighth, 18:23); Boonsboro's Matt Wood (ninth, 18:23) and Andy Brabson (12th, 18:35); Catoctin's Matty Thompson (10th, 18:25) and Williamsport's Justin Cole (11th, 18:27).

Class 2A boys - Middletown's Kyle Niemeyer (13th, 18:27).

Class 1A girls - Catoctin's Jamie Wright (fourth, 20:53) and Brunswick's Laura Rupprecht (12th, 22:57).

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