Wootton's Veronica Salcido made a grand entrance to high school running last school year. Her freshman resume included a top-five finish at the Maryland cross-country championships, an indoor state title in the 1,600 meters and All-Met honors for the outdoor track season -- which included a time of 4 minutes 57 seconds in the 1,600, second best in the area.

But the Patriots' standout says that she is not going to waste much time remembering her accolades of a year ago.

"Last year's times are in the past," Salcido said. "I'm thinking about this year."

This year got off to a bumpy start, but Salcido rebounded Saturday at the Bull Run Invitational at Hereford High School with one of the area's best performances at an elite early-season meet.

Salcido finished second in the elite girls' race on Hereford's challenging 3.1-mile course through the northern Baltimore County countryside. Her time of 20:01 was 23 seconds behind the winner, Christy Johnson of Bryn Mawr, but, more important, seven seconds better than her time at the state championships last year. Hereford is the site of the Maryland championship meet.

At the Great Meadow Invitational on Sept. 10, Salcido finished ninth, a tough start to a season with high expectations. Salcido said she spent the summer working hard to improve from last year.

"I was just really pumped up, because this is the state course and I wanted to do well here," Salcido said of her Bull Run performance. "I didn't have a really good race last week, so I wanted to have a good comeback, to show that I can run a good race."

Northwest earned the elite girls' team title by outpacing Morgantown (W.Va.), 81-87. The Wildcats, led by fifth-place finisher Rachel Forcino, appear to be state contenders again, despite moving from Class 3A to 4A.

On the boys' side, Georgetown Prep senior Steven Duplinsky dominated the elite race in 16:03, beating a fellow All-Met, Chantilly's Brad Siragusa, by more than 40 seconds. The win came just a week after Duplinsky won the junior men's title at the World Triathlon Championships in Japan. His teammate, Drew Abernethy, was fifth in 17:10, and Matt Abernethy was eighth in 17:16.

In the boys' large-school race, Gaithersburg senior Ryan Janes, one of the county's top returners, won the individual title and Sherwood captured the team title.

A Tough Start

In field hockey, defending Maryland 3A champion Bethesda-Chevy Chase had a rough time making it through last Saturday's prestigious Nyborg Tournament in Baltimore. The Barons lost to No. 2 St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, 1-0, in overtime, after a Saints' shot deflected high off a Barons player into the goal.

In B-CC's second game, against host Roland Park -- the No. 2 ranked team in the Baltimore Sun poll -- the previously third-ranked Barons gave up a goal in the final three seconds of regulation and had to settle for a 1-1 tie.

The Barons achieved that result thanks largely to junior goalkeeper Claire Davey-Karlson, who had 13 saves and consistently frustrated the Roland Park players, sprawling out for many shots.

"She was amazing," Barons Coach Amy Wood said of Davey-Karlson after the game. "She stood on her head for us today. We shouldn't have made her have to do that, but she was there when we needed her to be."

Coupled with a tough 1-0 loss to Quince Orchard -- a game in which, Wood said, the Barons outshot the Cougars, 15-1 -- the results of the tournament have put Bethesda-Chevy Chase (1-2-1) on its heels to begin the year.

A slow start is not unfamiliar to the Barons. Last season, they began 0-2, losing both of their games at the Nyborg Tournament, before going 14-2 the rest of the way, including a victory over previously undefeated Severna Park in the state finals.

Special correspondent Liam Dillon contributed to this report.

Georgetown Prep's Steven Duplinsky won the Bull Run Invitational by more than 40 seconds.