DeMatha senior runner cruises to another win
Puffett captures private schools' title; Seton basketball players headed to college
DeMatha High School senior Cory Puffett continues to distinguish himself from other county cross country runners.
Puffett captured his sixth victory in seven meets Saturday as he took the 2009 Maryland Private Schools Cross Country Championship boys' varsity large schools race.
Puffett's time of 15 minutes, 32 seconds, was significantly faster than the time he ran (16:03) in a second-place showing last season at the Derwood course located at the Agricultural History Farm Park. Even in the victory, Puffett tried to keep his performance in perspective.
"I definitely got out too hard," said Puffett, who ran the first mile of the 3.1-mile course in 4:38. "By the time I was halfway through, I had enough of a lead where nobody could catch me. I was out there trying to see what I could do. But seeing how [Good Counsel's] Kyle Graves did, I was really happy for him."
Graves took second place, 17 seconds behind Puffett (15:59).
Next up for Puffett will be the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Northeast Regional on Nov. 28 at Van Courtlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. Puffett is hoping to improve on a 32nd-place finish (16:25) from last season. The top 10 runners from the boys' and girls' seeded races will move on to the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Final on Dec. 12 in San Diego.
"I only have organized practice three times a week," Puffett said. "This is the time of year where your toughness come[s] in. You have to make sure that on days you're not with the team, you're doing something. This is really the time of year that people who are going on to nationals are going to do what they have to do. I feel like I have a good shot at making the nationals."
Seton sending pair to college
Two Elizabeth Seton High School basketball players signed national letters of intent last week to prolong their playing days, much to the delight of Roadrunners' coach Jazz Perazic.
Although the two players are headed to schools in different conferences, both said they aim to bring a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title to the Bladensburg school in their final prep seasons.
Tyaunna Marshall signed with Georgia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Janelle Murphy is headed for Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., a Division II school in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which includes Bowie State University.
"I really don't have any personal goals," said Marshall, a Gazette-Star All-County First Team selection last winter. "My only goal is to win a [WCAC] championship. I know we came close last year. Now we want to get past Holy Cross and Good Counsel. It's a big relief to sign early. I was impressed with the coaches and the players [at Georgia Tech], and I really liked the campus."
Marshall averaged 15 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2 steals per game last season as Seton advanced to the WCAC semifinals before losing to Holy Cross, 46-44.
"It's a big deal for me to sign early," said Murphy. "It was a tough decision. There were two other schools I was considering, but I liked the coach. I liked the way he ran practice. Now we want to win a championship. I don't think we have any other goals in mind."
Perazic, the Gazette-Star Girls' Basketball Coach of the Year last winter, said she is excited to send both players on to college next year.
"I'll be really interested to see Ty play in the ACC," Perazic said. "I can't wait to see her play against Maryland when they come here. I won't know who to cheer for. It's a great opportunity for her. I'm happy for both of them, and I know their parents are really proud of them."