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Three's a crown

October 16, 2005|By ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

After Williamsport's Justin Cole narrowly defeated North Hagerstown's Hemu Arumugam two weeks ago at the Don Stoner Invitational, the Wildcats junior said that race was "the wake-up call."

It was an effective one - at least for Arumugam, who has yet to fall back asleep.

The Hubs senior pulled away from Cole during the second mile and ran by himself the rest of the way Saturday at the 28th annual Washington County Cross Country Championships at North. Arumugam covered the 3-mile course in 16 minutes, 39 seconds, winning the county race for the third straight year. Cole finished second in 17:02.

"That just gave me extra motivation," said Arumugam of his first career loss to Cole. "I wanted to make sure I ran a good race today, and it really helped a lot to have someone like that to push you."

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The Williamsport girls team also won its third straight county title, the Clear Spring boys won their second straight and North senior Anna Lenhart won her first individual crown.

Arumugam said winning this year was extra special.

"This is probably the best one," he said, "because I had a little more pressure this time. Plus, it was on my home course. You can't lose on your home course."

Lenhart protected her home turf by single-handedly holding off Williamsport. She pulled away from the lead pack midway through the race and won by a comfortable margin in 20:36. The next five runners to cross the line were Wildcats Laura Forsythe (20:57), Makenna Hardy (21:00), Theresa Ruland (21:27), Meghann Weaver (21:32) and Jordan Atha (21:33). North's Brooke Pettner finished seventh in 21:34 to complete the All-County team.

"Williamsport is so good. I knew it was me against all five of them, pretty much," said Lenhart, whose older brother, Erik, was the county champ in 2000. "They were right behind me and I knew they were coming after me."

The Wildcats couldn't catch her, but no other team was even close to catching them. Williamsport finished with 20 points, North was second with 49 and Smithsburg was third with 75.

"It's been a great run," said Williamsport coach Randy Buchman, whose top four girls are seniors. "The story of this year is we're a pack team. We don't have that great individual performer, but clearly it's pack running that wins."

The Clear Spring boys took three of the top five places and six of the top 10, scoring 29 points to win easily. North was second with 56 and Williamsport took third with 74.

Scoring for the Blazers were Josh Keyfauver (third, 17:31), Cory Horton (fourth, 17:32), Ben Courter (fifth, 17:42), Dustin Adams (eighth, 17:58) and Ryan Shifler (ninth, 18:04).

"It was the first step to achieving our season goals," Clear Spring coach Jaime Mason said. "I don't know what the next step is, but we're really looking at states. Anything is in the cards at this point."

North's Wes Brutcher placed sixth in 17:52 and Boonsboro's Andrew Brabson took seventh in 17:53 for the final All-County spots.

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