On the girls' tennis and lacrosse teams at Potomac School, Cara Kiernan's passion for running made her a little bit different. This fall on the cross-country team, it helped make her a champion.

Kiernan, a senior running cross-country for the first time this year, captured the Independent School League championship yesterday at Episcopal in Alexandria, winning the 14-school meet in 18 minutes 56 seconds on the five-kilometer course. She finished 1:06 ahead of second-place Elizabeth Harrison of Episcopal and led the Panthers to a team victory with 62 points.

"I always loved running when we did it in [lacrosse and tennis] practice," said Kiernan, who dropped the team sports last spring when Coach Mike Schroer coaxed her into trying competitive running. "When we had drills, that was not my favorite part of practice. They sort of ended up getting repetitive. But there really is a 'runner's high.' . . . I've never been so motivated."

Kiernan ran the first mile and a half at a slower pace than usual, helping teammate Charlotte Lawson stay with the leaders. Lawson finished sixth in 20:52, and her teammates Molly Langer (13th), Elizabeth Fabiani (17th) and Natalie Banks (25th) also scored for Potomac School. Holton-Arms was second with 67 points, followed by Episcopal (72) and National Cathedral (77).

"This was definitely a team thing -- we were just really ready to run," Kiernan said.

Also at Episcopal, Georgetown Prep placed five runners in the top 10 to capture the Interstate Athletic Conference title. Lance Burleson, Steve Duplinsky and Matt Piazza finished third through fifth for the Little Hoyas, Dave McKenzie was sixth and Jimmie Guntle was 10th for a team total of 28. St. Albans was second with 34 points, followed by Episcopal (86).

St. Albans' Peter Mueller and Matt O'Brien tied for first, crossing the finish line together in 16:37, holding hands with their arms raised. Burleson finished in 17:10.

Share, and Share Alike

Glenelg won its 24th straight Howard County football game and longtime Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall claimed his 250th victory, but the Gladiators and Wildecats will have to share this year's county title.

Glenelg senior running back Kevin Ganascioli ran for 155 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in the Gladiators' 28-26 win over River Hill, which ended the Hawks' slim playoff hopes. Ganascioli, who played quarterback his sophomore season, also connected with Glenelg's current quarterback, Tim Phelps, on a 13-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the deciding score.

Wilde Lake senior running backs A.J. Case (19 carries, 148 yards) and Austen Merrills (17, 190) each rushed for two touchdowns in the 17th-ranked Wildecats' 43-22 win over Mount Hebron.

Because of a scheduling glitch, Glenelg (10-0, 8-0) and Wilde Lake (10-0, 8-0) did not play this year, allowing the Gladiators to defend their county title and the Wildecats to claim a share of their county-best 16th championship. . . .

Tim Hightower carried 24 times for 166 yards as visiting Episcopal won its 102nd annual meeting with Woodberry Forest, 35-7. Woodberry Forest leads the series, the longest continuous rivalry between prep schools in the South, 49-45-8.

Correction

A caption in yesterday's editions incorrectly identified a Patuxent volleyball player. The player is Katy Zimmermann.

-- Todd Jacobson

and Brandon M. Bickerstaff