The River Hill boys' cross-country team, which went undefeated last year, began this season where it left off by winning the Howard County Invitational at Centennial on Friday.

The defending 3A champion Hawks placed five runners in the top 30 to finish atop the 19-team field, which included some key teams from Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Carroll counties. River Hill sophomore Alex Mahoney (12th, 18 minutes 24.94 seconds), senior Andrew Sasser (15th, 18:35.49), sophomore Michael Feroe (22nd, 18:44.09), senior Andrew Bank (24th, 18:55.21) and senior Kevin McCory (28th, 19:03.63) offset the absence of defending county champion Sergiy Zubko, who was out with tendinitis in his knees.

"To win without Sergiy was still pretty good, but I don't think we ran very well," said Coach Earl Lauer. "It's nice to win invitationals, but they are not like county or region or state championships, which are our goals. I think our guys are capable of running faster."

The Hawks finished with 101 points, ahead of Walter Johnson and Atholton, who tied for second (111 points). Atholton was led by Andrew Revelle, who won the 3.1-mile race in 17:22.08, and freshman Graham Bazell, who placed seventh in 17:58.87.

Centennial -- led by senior Dustin Yourstone, who finished 15th in 18:35.11 -- took fourth (128), and Wilde Lake, led by senior Travis Boccher (fourth, 17:51.32), finished fifth (129).

On the girls' side, Atholton junior All-Met Alison Smith won the race in 20:10.17, but Severna Park placed five runners in the top 21 to win the 16-team competition (61).

River Hill placed second (82), placing three runners in the top 10 -- freshman Katie Harman (sixth, 21:14.74), senior Bess Seelaus (eighth, 21:28.44) and sophomore Megan Yi (10th, 21:58.47).

"Severna Park is arguably the best team in the state, and we were right there with them until the end," Lauer said.

"But I don't think all our girls ran the best they are capable of, so hopefully we'll get the chance to run against them again."

Mount Hebron, led by junior Liz McCarter's 11th place finish in 22:13:44, took third (126) and Centennial placed fourth (139), led by junior Angeli Sivaraman, who finished fourth in 21:00.07.

Apel Gets Going

The Glenelg girls' soccer team couldn't have started the season better.

The Gladiators went 3-0 last week, including shutout victories over John Carroll and Old Mill on Saturday to win the North Carroll tournament.

"Right now, I feel really good about where we're at," said Coach Dean Sheridan. "All the pieces are starting to fit just right."

The Gladiators have outscored their opponents, 8-0, with four goals by junior forward Diana Apel.

"Diana is pretty much a stud for us right now," Sheridan said. "She's really been incredible for us."

Apel scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over South Carroll and the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over John Carroll, which was ranked No. 1 in the Baltimore area. Apel scored again in the team's 5-0 win over Old Mill in the championship game; juniors Amanda Feaga, Brittany Devereaux, Ann Hibbert and Blair Maxson also scored.

"I think as the tournament went on, the better we played," Feaga said. "I think in the first half John Carroll played better than we did, but in the second half we played more as a team and that was the difference."

Vikings Strong Again

After winning the county field hockey title last fall, Mount Hebron's performance Saturday showed it might be the team to beat this season, too.

The Vikings posted 1-0 victories over Maryvale and Fallston to win the Grizzly Tournament at Garrison Forrest in Baltimore and enter the week 3-0. After opening its season with a 9-0 win over Reservoir, the Vikings passed two of their biggest tests of the season.

In the championship game against Fallston, which is ranked No. 12 in the Baltimore area, senior forward Lauren Sterner scored off an assist from Courtney Reardon with just under 19 minutes remaining. Mount Hebron's defense -- led by Alex Mengel and Pia Capra -- made the lead stand as Fallston mustered just two shots in the second half.

"The two games couldn't have been any closer," said Mount Hebron Coach Jeannette Ireland. "But I loved the way our girls competed. They made some mistakes, but they made sure it didn't cost us. I thought our defense really came through for us."

Reaching High Goals

Oakland Mills Principal Frank Eastham knew his school's athletic teams were good at raising funds but said he didn't realize how good.

The boys' soccer program held a six-hour carwash Sept. 2 that raised $1,500 to donate to people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

"When I found out how much money they raised, I was shocked," Eastham said. "Usually when you do a carwash you make maybe $500, and that's on a good day; but our team had people just walking up and handing them money without even getting their car washed. It was amazing."

River Hill cross-country coach Earl Lauer talks to his team, which won the 3A boys' state title last year. The Hawks started this season by winning the Howard County Invitational in Centennial. Although happy about the win, Lauer said he thinks his "guys are capable of running faster."