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Centofonti takes scenic route to Antietam finish

October 20, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

SYKESVILLE, Md. - In the results, Smithsburg's Corey Centofonti is the MVAL Antietam boys cross country champion.

But in Centofonti's mind, Williamsport's Michael Lilley is the winner.

That's the kind of confusing mess a wrong turn in Friday's combined Antietam and Piedmont boys race caused at Liberty High School.

Roughly two miles into the 3.1-mile race, the top six runners - Lilley, Centofonti, Catoctin's Ceth Parker, Smithsburg's David Wilson, Clear Spring's Ben Courter and Middletown's Jimmy Greene - were led astray by a person manning a turn.

Lilley, at the time, had a commanding 20-second lead. By the time he realized the mistake, he was nearly 200 meters off the course, so he stopped.

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"My momentum was just broken, so I dropped out," Lilley said. "I was so far in front, I had no chance to get back. It's just horrible. What a waste of a day."

The other five turned around and got back in the race, and Centofonti - who had been in second place - flew past nearly 20 runners in the final mile to win in 18:11.

"I just went numb after that and was like, 'I'm going,'" Centofonti said. "I just channeled my anger."

He held off Parker, who also made up lots of ground, by 5 seconds.

"It doesn't feel as good, though, because I didn't beat (Lilley)," Centofonti said. "He would have won."

Greene finished third overall and first in the Piedmont in 18:17. Antietam runners took the next three spots - Brunswick's Scott Moser (18:19), Wilson (18:25) and Clear Spring's Cory Horton (18:26).

"I'm really proud of (Centofonti and Wilson) for getting back on the course and battling back," Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver said. "That showed a lot of character and really helped the team."

Smithsburg swept the Antietam team titles, ending the Clear Spring boys' two-year reign and the Williamsport girls' four-year reign. The Blazers and Wildcats both had to settle for second Friday.

The combined Antietam and Piedmont girls race followed the boys and went much more smoothly.

Williamsport's Tracey Forsythe dominated, winning convincingly in 20:48. Smithsburg's Natalie Mancini was the runner-up in 21:27, Brunswick's Sara Fisher placed third in 21:31 and Middletown's Kristin Wilson finished fourth and first in the Piedmont in 21:35.

"I just felt good before I started, and everything went the way I wanted it to," Forsythe said.

Lilley wished he could say the same.

"It makes me so mad," he said. "I had a huge lead. I was making the race mine. ... This just pumps me up more for counties."

The Washington County championships will be held Oct. 27 at Smithsburg.

NOTES: The Antietam and Piedmont races were combined Friday to help avoid inclement weather. ... The Middletown girls and Walkersville boys won the Piedmont team titles. ... North Hagerstown's Brooke Pettner finished third among Piedmont girls in 22:25 to lead the runner-up Hubs.

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