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Blazers kick into high gear

November 04, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - If next weekend's Maryland State Cross Country Championships are the Olympics, then Thursday's Class 1A West meet was the Olympic Trials.

That's why the Clear Spring boys team didn't make such a big deal about winning the region title - the Blazers' first in program history.

"As (Clear Spring coach Jaime Mason) says, 'No one remembers who wins the Olympic Trials,'" said Josh Keyfauver, who led the Blazers with his seventh-place finish. "'It's who wins the Olympics.'"

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The Clear Spring boys want to be remembered as state champs.

"We weren't really focusing on today," Keyfauver said. "We were just using this as a gauge to see who we have to go after next week."

Now, the Blazers might be the ones to chase. They beat two-time defending state champion Beall 52-62 on Thursday. Williamsport finished third in the 11-team field with 131.

"I'm glad we have a little cushion, but I still say it's going to be pretty close," Keyfauver said of the state meet. "We're not going to sleep any easier."

Fort Hill senior Mohomed Khelapha won the individual title, running the 3 miles in 16:27. Williamsport's Justin Cole was the top area finisher, placing fourth in 17:00.

The Blazers dominated with their pack as only 31 seconds separated their first and fifth runners. Following Keyfauver (17:08) closely to the finish line were teammates Ben Courter (ninth, 17:18), Dustin Adams (11th, 17:22), Cory Horton (12th, 17:25), Justin Grove (18th, 17:39) and Ryan Shifler (21st, 17:49).

"The boys have really come together," Mason said. "They do everything together. They're competing against each other out there, but they're also supporting each other."

The Williamsport girls took three of the top five places and five of the top 15, scoring 30 points to run away with their fourth straight 1A West title. Southern Garrett (82) and Smithsburg (92) were second and third.

"Four in a row, that's good. That's a worthy thing," said Williamsport coach Randy Buchman, whose girls have won states two of the last three years. "Their talent always carries them through. Hopefully it carries them through another week."

Makenna Hardy placed second in 21:00 to lead the Wildcats. Allegany sophomore Lauryn MacFawn ran unchallenged to the victory in 19:21.

"We knew right away we weren't going to beat her," Hardy said. "We just kind of stuck with the pack. That's been our thing this year."

Brunswick's Laura Rupprecht took third in 21:03 and Wildcats Theresa Ruland (21:10) and Laura Forsythe (21:12) were fourth and fifth. Jordan Atha (13th, 22:36) and Meghann Weaver (15th, 22:44) completed Williamsport's scoring.

"This is one of the tougher regions, so this gives us a lot of confidence," Hardy said.

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