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Hampshire says 'uh-uh' to challenger

October 08, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

CLEAR SPRING - In his desperation kick to the finish line, Northern Garrett's Ryan Bowser almost took out Jefferson's Cory Hampshire - the defending overall champ - and Williamsport's Justin Cole - the defending small-school champ - in one fell swoop at the Interstate Classic cross country invitational Saturday morning.

Almost.

"I saw him coming," Hampshire said. "And I was like, 'Uh-uh, you're not going to catch me.'"

Hampshire, who once had a commanding lead, held off Bowser by 3 seconds, winning in 16:20 on Clear Spring's 3-mile course.

"I knew (Bowser) and (Beall's James Carney) were the best in Maryland 1A," Hampshire said. "I'm just glad I won it two years in a row."

Bowser settled for the small-school title in 16:23, while Cole was third overall in 16:29, Carney was fourth in 16:31 and Williamsport's Mike Lilley edged Smithsburg's Corey Centofonti by a fraction of a second for fifth in 16:40.

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"Even though I got beat by Bowser, I'm happy with my time," Cole said. "He's in my sight now for states."

The Williamsport girls and Clear Spring boys - both reigning Maryland 1A state champs - successfully defended their small-school team titles.

Williamsport's Jordan Atha (20:21), Tracey Forsythe (20:28) and Kara Hardy (20:57) swept the top three spots in the small-school division as the Wildcats held off Smithsburg, 35-43.

"I thought we'd do well, but I didn't expect a 1-2-3," Williamsport coach Randy Buchman said. "It's hard to beat a 1-2-3. Our top runners close together like that has been our strength the past few years."

"It's exciting with counties and MVALs coming up," Atha said. "They're the important ones when you really have to start doing well."

The Clear Spring boys, led by Dustin Adams' sixth-place finish (17:07) in the small-school division, won with 65 points - 13 fewer than runner-up Beall - despite the DNF of Ryan Shifler, one of their top runners, due to illness.

That's how strong the Blazers are right now.

"It makes me feel a little better, but it also makes me nervous," Clear Spring coach Jaime Mason said. "We have to stay healthy."

River Hill's Katie Harman was the big-school and overall girls champ in 18:46. Jefferson's Brooke Boening, was the top area girl, placing third in 19:26.

The Severna Park girls and River Hill boys were the big-school team champions.

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