In yesterday's Sports section, a photo accompanying Good Counsel cross-country runner Matt Hanlon's account of his participation in the Georgetown Prep Cross-Country classic depicted another runner. Hanlon's photo appears above. (Published 10/20/1999)

Each week, The Washington Post will chronicle the race experience of an area cross-country runner. Good Counsel junior Matt Hanlon has been one of the top runners in the Washington area this season and was the top local finisher at the Georgetown Prep Cross-Country Classic on Saturday in Bethesda. He placed third at 16:11.56 and was only seven-tenths of a second behind the winner, Bryce Ruiz of Jamestown High, in the most talent-rich and prestigious meet in the area. His race, as told to Post correspondent Bryan Tucker:

"It's a big invitational, so I was looking forward to it because I knew there were guys that I wanted to beat. ... I had a good race here before. I really liked the course and I thought I could do it again.

"It started off pretty fast. I stayed in the top 15. I was cruising along and at the mile mark I was in the top 10.

"Coming up on the backstretch, before the two-mile mark, where the start line was, I was picking up on people. I passed two people, so I was getting up there. I was like, `I can get these guys. I know I can do it.' That's where my coach [Tom Arnold] said I should put on a pretty hard surge and that's when I did."

Hanlon did not regret making his move.

"It was a good time to do it. If I went any earlier, I did not think I could keep it up. I think it was a good time to put it on.

"At the two-mile mark, I was in the top six and I was beginning to catch the lead pack on the last downhill. Coming down the little hill and around the bend toward the finish, I passed [Magruder's] Matt Seymour."

That's when the real race began. There were six runners about two seconds apart going into the final 100 yards. With the crowd, coaches and runners cheering, Hanlon focused on what he had to do.

"I really did not pay attention to the [crowd]. I did not hear anything. I was just trying to get the other two guys [Jamestown's Ruiz and Harrisonburg's Jorge Ruiz] up there. I started going all out and I [passed] Jorge Ruiz but at the end he got me at the finish line.

"I was surprised I was up that much. I was expecting top five but I did not expect to be that close to the leader. I was pretty close at the end. ... I was surprised about how much I improved over the course of the year."

Jorge Ruiz finished second in 16:11.36.