Friday, Feb. 8, 2008

2006 All-County Cross Country Team: Champions lead all-county team

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Boys’ Runner of the Year

Kelli Thibou

Without question, Thibou was the best male runner in the county this season. Thibou, who is all but certain to earn a college track or cross country scholarship, ran personal bests at a number of courses including at Fort Washington, where he ran less than 17 minutes for the first time this season. Thibou’s best race was the state championship, where he finished a career-high third, just 8-tenths of a second out of second place. The Eleanor Roosevelt senior won every county dual meet he participated in this season.

Girls’ Runner of the Year

Marika Walker

Few female runners in the county’s history can match what Walker has accomplished the past two seasons. The Eleanor Roosevet senior joined Bowie’s Kris Kavetski (1980 and 1981) and Robin Quinlan (1985 and 1987) as the only girls to win two individual state championships, winning this year and last year. Walker posted the tenth-best time (19 minutes, 19 seconds) at the Hereford High state championship course in 2005, only to post the ninth-fastest time in 2006 (19:14).

Coach of the Year

Bruce Schaper, DeMatha: Schaper was unsure of the Stags in the preseason, and with fair reason. DeMatha was headed into the season with a top five group composed of two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and a senior. Schaper was able to take a youthful squad and make them champions as the Stags’ easily won the 2006 WCAC championship at Lake Fairfax, Va. Schaper coached the Stags to their first WCAC team title since 1996.

Boys’ First Team

Cory Puffett, freshman, DeMatha: Puffett was the Stags’ best runner for part of the season. He and fellow first-teamer Robert Paterson became the first two DeMatha runners in more than a decade to run less than 17 minutes on a 3.1-mile course. Puffett was the Stags’ top finisher (fifth-place) at the 2006 Maryland⁄District of Columbia Private Schools Championships and also finished second individually at the WCAC Championships.

Robert Patterson, sophomore, DeMatha: Patterson captured the WCAC title on the difficult course at Lake Fairfax, Va. with a time of 17:55. Patterson and his teammates captured the WCAC boys’ team title in the process. He was the Stags’ top finisher in more than half of their races this season.

Jeremy Bowers, junior, Eleanor Roosevelt: Bowers has a good shot at being the county’s top public school runner in 2007 based on his performance in 2006. Bowers finished second in the 2006 4A South Region championship and joined teammate Kelli Thibou as the only county runners to run under the 17-minute mark (16:59) on the Fort Washington course this season. Bowers also made great strides on the state championship scene, with his 28th-place finish at Hereford High and ran the third-best time (17:57) of any county runner at the state championships this season.

Donald Lockhart, senior, Eleanor Roosevelt: When the stakes got high, the Raiders could count on Lockhart to come through with his best performances. Lockhart was one of only two county boys to finish in the top 20 (19th place) at the state championships at Hereford High, running nearly 20 seconds better this year (17:43) than he did at the state championships a year ago. Lockhart also finished third at the 4A South Region meet.

Jerod Franklin, senior, Charles H. Flowers: The Jaguars did not have a complete boys’ team this season, but could always count on Franklin having a good finish. Outside of Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin was the top boys’ finisher at the 2006 state championships. Franklin also was one of the more consistent runners in the county this season as he finished in third place at the 2006 county championships and followed up that performance with a fourth-place finish at the 2006 4A South Region championships.

Girls’ First Team

Jennifer Redmon, senior, Eleanor Roosevelt: Redmon captured her fourth all-county first-team honor this season and had the numbers to back it in 2006. Knowing her team was shorthanded heading into the state championships, Redmon finished in a career-best fourth place in the state this season. Redmon also finished second behind teammate Marika Walker at the 2006 county championships, while setting a number of personal records on various courses throughout the season.

Tyreka Arrington, sophomore, Eleanor Roosevelt: Arrington figures to be a part of a Raiders’ girls team that has a legitimate shot at winning a fourth consecutive state championship in 2007. She finished ninth at the 2006 state championships after not finishing in the top 30 in 2005. She also finished third at the county championships and ran a better time on the state championship course at Hereford High (20:19) than she ran the slightly easier course at Fort Washington Park (20:34).

Brittany View, junior, Eleanor Roosevelt: View had a career year in 2006 and perhaps set the standard for herself for next fall. With Raiders’ coach Desmond Dunham resting his five best runners for the 4A South Region championships, View proved how deep Roosevelt’s squad was by winning the first region title. View ran exactly one minute faster at the 4A South Region meet (20:34 seconds) than she ran in her fifth-place finish at the 2006 county championships.

Denise Smith, senior, Charles H. Flowers: With many of the headlines this season devoted to Roosevelt’s strong performances, Smith managed to keep the Jaguars’ girls in the news. Like teammate Jerod Franklin on the boys’ side, Smith has been consistent over the past several seasons. She was the top county finisher not from Roosevelt at the 2006 county championships (sixth-place finish). Smith paid more attention to how her team fared in the standings than herself.

Eunice Jones, senior, Central: Following in the footsteps of Central High graduate Jemu Zar Zar, Jones had a standout season and battled the unfamiliarity of the 2A South Region championship course at Patuxent High to finish 12th and qualify individually for the state meet. In the state championships at Hereford High, Jones ran 22:37, good enough for 28th place in the 2A state meet.

Boys’ Second Team

Mike Gallion and Ibrahim Jawara, Parkdale

Yeabsera Worku and Hammed Massaley, High Point

Brandon Dean, Henry A. Wise

Ermias Gherense and Luqman Lawal, Bladensburg

Bpaaki Vandi, Central

Darnell Primus and David Osano, Roosevelt

Brian Suber, Gwynn Park

Sean Love, Douglass

Girls’ Second Team

Kianna Martinez, Alexis Walls andDesiree’ King, Oxon Hill

Anika Stark and Erin Ross, Bowie

Shanita Williams, Henry A. Wise

Christian Hickson, Tashima Stevens and Christine Danielson, Roosevelt

Zenobia Johnson, Bladensburg

Tonica Vickery and Nicole Franklin, Largo