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Centofonti has 'a pretty good feeling about this season'

September 21, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

At the Brunswick Cross Country Invitational last Saturday, Smithsburg junior Corey Centofonti found himself in a place he'd never been before at the finish line.

First place.

"That was my first varsity win. It just shocked me," said Centofonti, who topped the field of 109 runners on the 3-mile course in 16 minutes, 53 seconds. "It's a good feeling. I never had that feeling before."

Williamsport's Justin Cole and Jefferson's Cory Hampshire - both Herald-Mail All-Area First Team runners last fall - finished second and third, respectively, in 17:01 and 17:09.

"I just wanted to stay with Justin Cole because I know he's really good," said Centofonti, who finished 19th a week earlier at the Frank Keyser Invitational - 14 places and 37 seconds behind Cole. "He used to just crush me."

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Centofonti stayed with Cole until late in the race, when he surprisingly gapped him.

"I wasn't expecting to pass him, but he started dying at the end," Centofonti said. "I just wanted to beat Cole at least once this season."

Centofonti said his goal has been to place in the top five in Maryland Class 1A at the state meet in November. Saturday's victory has only increased his confidence.

"I don't want it to get to my head, but I have a pretty good feeling about this season," he said.

Buser still unbeaten

Berkeley Springs junior Rachel Buser - the two-time West Virginia Class AA-A defending state champ, two-time Herald-Mail Runner of the Year and owner of several area course records - is off to a 5-0 start this season.

She hasn't been beaten in one of her high school cross country races since early in her freshman year.

"Rachel's been challenged this year," Berkeley Springs coach John Rowland said. "It's been tough."

At the Forest Festival Invitational on Davis & Elkins College's gruelling 5K course last weekend, Buser edged Fairmont Senior freshman Chelsea Clark by 1 second - the smallest margin of victory of her prep career.

"The Clark kid was leading at the 2-mile mark by about 14 seconds," Rowland said. "But the neat thing about Rachel is that she's an incredible competitor.

"She caught the girl on a hill at about 2.8 miles and they just battled neck and neck, and Rachel just finally made a break from her."

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