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Centofonti has no regrets

December 12, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

Cross country races hurt. As the pressure and pace both increase, so does the pain.

"I just push through it, shut it off," Smithsburg senior Corey Centofonti said. "You have to be mentally tough. The will has to be stronger than the skill.

"I always live by (Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver's) quote. Two years ago he told us, 'The pain of regret lasts a lot longer than the pain of any race.'"

Looking back at this past cross country season, Centofonti - The Herald-Mail's 2007 Washington County Boys Runner of the Year - said he has no regrets.

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He peaked at the right time. After winning the Don Stoner Invitational on his home course on Oct. 13, he captured titles at the MVAL Antietam and Washington County championship races - leading the Leopards to team titles at both - and placed second at both the Maryland Class 1A West and state championship meets.

His two setbacks in those final races both came against Northern Garrett star Ryan Bowser, who won his second straight state title.

But Centofonti didn't concede easily to Bowser on the hilly 3-mile course at states.

"I thought I had him, honestly," Centofonti said. "I passed him after the second mile and gapped him by 5 meters. But he was way too strong going up the final hill, and I couldn't get him."

Bowser crossed the finish line in 16:39 - 10 seconds ahead of Centofonti.

"At least I pushed the pace, so I can live with myself," Centofonti said. "My last race, I didn't want to look back and think that I might have been able to do something better."

Had the county runner of the year been decided in early October, the honor would have gone to Williamsport junior Michael Lilley. He had little difficulty beating Centofonti during the first half of the season.

Centofonti won the MVAL Antietam title after Lilley, who had a sizable lead late in the race, took a wrong turn and dropped out. And Lilley never got back on track against the Smithsburg senior, finishing second at the county meet and third at both the region and state meets.

"I've had a great rivalry with Mike, and he's beaten me a lot. But the end of the season is when it counted," Centofonti said. "I really didn't care about a lot of the invitationals. I mean, I wanted to run well for the team, but I wasn't really worried about where I placed until the end of the year."

"It's not so much who wins in September as it is who wins in November," Shriver said. "Corey bought into that and we worked on our training for that. If he wasn't at his peak at states, he was very close to it."

Joining Centofonti on the All-County First Team are:

· Michael Lilley, Williamsport - The junior placed second at the county championships. He was third in 1A West and third in Maryland 1A.

· Ben Courter, Clear Spring - The senior placed third at the county championships. He was sixth in the MVAL Antietam, sixth in 1A West and seventh in Maryland 1A.

· David Wilson, Smithsburg - The sophomore placed fourth at the county championships. He was fourth in the MVAL Antietam, 11th in 1A West and 10th in Maryland 1A.

· Cory Horton, Clear Spring - The junior placed fifth at the county championships. He was fifth in the MVAL Antietam, seventh in 1A West and sixth in Maryland 1A.

· Zach Cross, Smithsburg - The junior placed sixth at the county championships. He was seventh in the MVAL Antietam, 20th in 1A West and 27th in Maryland 1A.

· Wade Miller, Clear Spring - The senior placed seventh at the county championships. He was eighth in the MVAL Antietam, 21st in 1A West and 34th in Maryland 1A.




All-County Second Team



Jordan Acton, Jr., Boonsboro

Rio Ferrario, Jr., Williamsport

Nathanial Clark, So., Williamsport

Ben Kofoet, So., North Hagerstown

Charles Abeles, Jr., North Hagerstown

Brandon Mauck, Jr., South Hagerstown

Phil Shriver, Sr., Smithsburg

The All-County runners were determined by the county championships. The Runner of the Year was chosen by The Herald-Mail sports staff.

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