Dunbar's Jackie McCalop didn't disappoint anyone in her Interhigh cross country debut. She was picked as the coaches' preseason favorite to win the girls individual title, even though she is a sophomore.
She easily won the girls section (17:57.0) of the H.D. Woodson Development meet last Wednesday at Kenilworth Park. She was 57 seconds ahead of teammate Tina Johnson, who came in second.
McCalop had won the junior high cross country individual title last year for Stuart.
The Interhigh has a history of developing top sophomores for cross country. Last year, Ballou's Doris Grooms, who is now a junior, was the league's top runner.
"I felt kind of nervous," McCalop said after her race. "I was thinking about winning. I should have done better and I have done better."
This may be the year of the sophomores in Interhigh cross country. The first five finishers in the girls division were 10th-graders.
Besides McCalop and Johnson (18:54.0), Monique Blazio of H.D. Woodson placed third (18:57.0), Lesile Coney of Dunbar fourth (19:10.0) and Helen Andrews of Dunbar fifth (19:33.0).
The performance of Andrews, Coney, Johnson and McCalop earned the Crimson Tide the victory with 19 points. H.D. Woodson finished second at 39 and Wilson followed with 42.
"I was real scared running against older girls," said Blazio, who transferred from Elizabeth Seton. "I was trying to get in front of Dunbar. Our goal is get Dunbar (preseason favorites). We want to prove them wrong," she said.
"I was wondering whether I was going to win or lose. I didn't want anybody to beat me," said Andrews. She hopes to stay in the top five throughout the season.
Ballou won the boys division with 38 points, with H.D. Woodson's Tim Moore the individual champion in 18:44.0. Two of the top five runners were sophomores: Lushia Taliaferro of Woodson third (18:52.0) and Maurice Miller of Coolidge fifth (19:28.0).
Ballou's Michael Williamson was second in 18:49.0 and his teammate, Barrington Nash, was fourth (18:53.0). Ronnel Gorham, ninth in 20:08.0, and John Branch (20:10.0) were other Knights in the top 10.
Following the Woodson boys were Ballou at 52 and Wilson at 60.
Spingarn, the only school that did not participate, started its annual road show by running two dual meets in Newark, N.J., last week.
The Green Wave ran against Barringer-Vailsburg Tuesday and the powerful West Side-East Side, the Newark city champion, Wednesday.