Bowie principal Patricia Brooks announced yesterday that the fifth-ranked Bulldogs girls varsity soccer team will have to forfeit its first two games of the season because of an academically ineligible player, stating that it is a "foregone conclusion."

"It was an extenuating circumstance and it was not a result of an attempt to slide in an ineligible player," Brooks said.

"It is not an excuse for what happened and it is an unfortunate situation. It is unfortunate for the team, the school and the community."

The two games in question are a 2-1 victory over Spalding on Sept. 13 and a 0-0 tie with Thomas Johnson on Sept. 18. Brooks declined to give the name of the player but said the player in question "was very important to the team," and it was "highly unlikely" that the player could return this season.

Brooks said other penalties are possible for the Prince George's County 4A school, pending a decision by Owen Johnson, the Prince George's County director of athletics.

It was the first time in the five years Brooks has been principal that the Prince George's County 4A school has had to forfeit any athletic contests.

Athletes need a 2.0 grade-point average from the previous semester in order to be eligible to play sports at the school.

The player in question had "an extenuating circumstance" from the previous semester and it was not caught until the eligibility list was rerun on Sept. 24, according to Brooks.

Bowie, one of the area's top teams, has advanced to the Maryland 4A tournament semifinals the past four seasons. The Bulldogs are now 1-2 on the season since the ineligible player did not play against Parkdale, a 11-0 win, on Sept. 24.

Hanlon a Rising Star

Good Counsel cross-country runner Matt Hanlon continues to turn in impressive performances in only his second year.

Hanlon, a junior, captured the individual boys title, setting a meet record in 16 minutes 32.7 seconds at the fourth annual Mercersburg Cross-Country Invitational on Saturday.

The old record was 16:58, set by Rudd Olmstead of Woodberry Forest in 1997. Hanlon finished fourth at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Sept. 18.

Hanlon's performance, followed by second-place finisher and sophomore teammate Kevin Graves (16:56.2), helped the Good Counsel boys team win the team title, 37 to 93, over St. Albans.

"[Hanlon] is now beginning to understand how to run a race and has confidence," Good Counsel Coach Tom Arnold said.

"Those two things combined with his talent has allowed him to shine."

In the girls events, Good Counsel junior Kim Hurney captured the individual title with the third-fastest time ever at the meet in 20:07.5.

The Wheaton school also won the team title as senior Erin Blaustein finished third overall and junior Katie Lapp placed fourth. It defeated National Cathedral, 45 to 67. . . .

George Mason High junior Carolyn Menzie placed third in the women's division of the Women's Center Tysons 5K road race Sunday with a time of 25:38.

Beth McCann, 39, won the women's race in 20:55.