A car carrying four members of the Naval Academy cross-country team may have been speeding when it went out of control and crashed near York, Pa., Monday, killing all four, authorities said last night. As officials at the academy in Annapolis reacted with shock yesterday to the athletes' deaths, investigators said witnesses indicated that the midshipmen's car was "traveling at a high rate of speed" before it twice crossed the center line of a rural road near Gifford Pinchot State Park, and veered off the pavement. The car flew through the air and struck trees before hitting the ground and exploding, Pennsylvania State Police said. One of the dead, Robert Packowski, 21, of Arlington, N.Y., who held nine varsity letters, was captain of the 1988 cross-country team and was captain-elect of the 1990 track and field squad. "It's probably the most tragic event I can remember ever happening here. And I've been here 20 years," academy spokesman Jim Kiser said of the crash. The four were among a dozen or so Naval Academy runners who were training in the state park, unaccompanied by coaches, during their summer leave. In addition to Packowski, the dead were identified as William J. Donovan Jr., 20, of Houston; Donald L. Landry, 20, of Arlington, Tex.; and Andrew G. Myers, 20, of Greeley, Colo. Last year's cross-country team won the Colonial Athletic Association championship and placed 21st in the NCAA's Division 1 National Championships in Iowa City. This year the academy is scheduled to host the National Championships at Annapolis for the first time. "We expected to have a pretty good cross-country team this year," said academy sports spokesman Tom Bates. "We thought we had a good chance to qualify." Bates said that all of the other runners who were at the park in Pennsylvania have since gone home or to the academy and that immediate plans for the team were uncertain. "We're still in the throes of trying to deal with the emotional shock," he said. Kiser said the academy plans to hold a memorial service sometime after Aug. 21, when midshipmen are scheduled to return to the academy to begin the school year. Academy runners have been conditioning annually for three years at the park, which is near the home of the cross-country team captain. They typically stay in cabins or tents for about five days of conditioning, Bates said. According to state police, the four left the park in a late-model Mustang shortly after their arrival Monday after leaving a note saying they planned to buy groceries and return. Police said the athletes were returning to the campsite on two-lane Route 177 when their car went out of control on a curve, plunged through trees and caught on fire. Witnesses reported trying to douse the flames with a garden hose.