The Churchill High School girls cross country team has opened the season in impressive fashion, dominating Friday's Woodward Relays.
Trailing the leader by more than 200 yards at the start of her final mile leg, Churchill junior Tammy DeVore sped past Kennedy's Maureen Conroy 50 yards from the tape.
DeVore's final mile of 5:55, coupled with her 5:56 first mile, gave her and teammate Ginger Stewart the individual (duo) title in 24:35. Churchill's three pairs compiled 19 points for the team title.
Kennedy leadoff runner Beth Jacobson had given anchor leg Conroy a lead of almost 200 yards over Woodward, its closest competition, at the final handoff. Jacobsen's splits of 5:45 and 5:58 for her two interval miles were the swiftest of the day for the girls.
"We just wanted Beth to get a big enough lead so people couldn't catch us," said Kennedy Coach Allan Bellman. "We figured Maureen could run with anybody. But what Tammy did was amazing. Like I say, nobody can catch you if they can't see you and at that last handoff, Tammy was so far behind she couldn't even see Maureen. But after the first quarter mile you knew Tammy would catch her."
Nothing so dramatic occurred in the boys race. Whitman leadoff Eric Melanie split a 5:08 on his opening mile, handing off the baton with the leaders. Within 200 yards after anchor Chris Herdt received the handoff, he opened a sizable lead the twosome increased each of the ensuing four miles. Herdt recorded the fastest splits of the day with a 4:57, 5:15, and a 5:17, beating Georgetown Prep's twosome of Walsh McGuire and John Caldwell to the tape by over 40 seconds.
"I really expected Eric and Chris to win," said Whitman Coach Tom Nawrocki. "We figured we'd go out with Eric, hoping he'd hang with the top three, which is what happened, and then Chris would make up the difference. I'd probably have to say Chris is the best in the county."
Prep's three teams finished second, eighth (Kelly Stewart, John McGuire) and 12th (Ed Keenan, Larry Elliott) for the team championship with 19 points.
"We were trying to go for the team championship, but also for the individual," said Prep Coach Mike Horsey. "I thought Walsh and John could win, but Walsh has been sick all week with a temperature of 103. He had a lot more left at the end, he was just afraid to push it."
Last year Prep's top team also finished second, but so did the team, scoring 44 points to Churchill's 28. Depth made the difference for the Little Hoyas this time around the Woodward course.
"The difference between this year and last year was that between our first and sixth man there was only a 1:02 difference in the splits," said Horsey. "Last year after our third guy the times went way up there."
Running the Brookland Park Invitational 2.8-mile course in a record-breaking 13:50.8, Glenelg senior John Scherer broke a 2-year-old record by almost five seconds at Bay Brook Park Friday. Fallston's Kevin Gebhardt, the previous record holder, went on to win the Class C state championship that year.
Loyola, paced by fifth-place finisher Mark Cucuczella, placed all five scorers in the top 15, scoring 48 points for the team championship.
Staying with the leaders through the initial stages of the race, Scherer and Bel Air's John Romano broke from the pack and ran off each other the final mile.
"We didn't discuss the meet in terms of a meet record," said Glenelg Coach Roger Volrath, "just to win. Frankly, John didn't really set a goal to win the meet, just to finish in the top two or three; personally, my goal was to win it. John's the type of person that doesn't really verbalize those types of things, he just goes out there and does it."
Scherer's foremost goal this year will be to remain healthy through all three running seasons. Two weeks into the 1982 cross country season Scherer discovered he had mononucleosis, yet he managed to finish fourth in the state meet. A bout with pneumonia in January eliminated the indoor track season and he wasn't able to run again until early in the outdoor season. At the state meet, Scherer set a Howard County two-mile record with his runner-up finish in 9:51, topping a year marred by illness and injury.
Missing the girls record by a scant one second, Aberdeen's Zenny Koehler won the 1.9-mile race in 10:23.9.