After a summer of intensive training, Eleanor Roosevelt senior Greg Early could have been burned out for this cross country season.
But he allayed such fears at the Pallotti Invitational yesterday, holding off a stubborn Vince Hancock of Lake Braddock in the seeded section to break the three-mile course record of 14 minutes 48 seconds with a 14:42.
"I never expected this; I was surprised it was so tough," he said. "I've never faced that kind of pressure here."
South Lakes senior Anne Evans scored her second major invitational victory of the season, running away from the girls seeded section to win by 12 seconds in 17:44.
Early is trying to make the most of his final season. Last year, a highly successful season ended in disappointment when he was beaten in the final yards of the state meet. He said much of his work this summer centered on toughening his mental outlook. If yesterday's effort at Laurel Recreation Center was any indication, Early's work was worthwhile.
"We pushed the pace hard, I had to get tougher then him," he said. "Most of that was mental toughness I had to overcome."
Early trailed the entire Lake Braddock team through the first quarter-mile, then took the lead as the runners entered the woods. From then on, he and Hancock were separated by no more than a few feet until the final hill, when Early surged away. Hancock clocked 14:48 for second, tying the former meet mark.
Evans missed most of the season last year with torn ligaments in her ankle and she's wasting no time making up for lost time, winning the Northern Region Athletic Director's meet two weeks ago and winning decisively here. She overtook leader Steffi Rausch of Howard, who dropped out of the race after the first half-mile. By the final incline, Evans had 100 yards on Lake Braddock's Tara Bowman, who finished second in 18:07.