"It was the best track meet I've ever watched," said Oakland Mills indoor track coach Caskie Lewis-Clapper.
She was exuberant after her Scorpions totally dominated the county championships Wednesday at the 5th Regiment Armory. Oakland Mills trounced runner-up Centennial, 113-78.
It was Oakland Mills' third straight county title and the fourth in Lewis-Clapper's five years of coaching. The Scorpions won seven of12 events.
Meanwhile, Hammond dominated the girls championship, besting runner-up Glenelg, 125-93. The Golden Bears won eight of the 12 events in capturing their second title. They won in 1987.
Both teams were expected to win, but not by such wide margins.
"We looked good on paper, but I was really surprised at the final score. Almost every one of our kids ran a personal best," Lewis-Clapper said. "They all peaked at the right time."
Eric Graham won four golds and Ricky Gray won three to pace the Scorpions' victory.
Graham set a personal best, winning the 300-meter run in 36.7 seconds as teammate Gray finished second in 37.9. Graham's 6.5 seconds wasn't his best, but it was good enough to win the 55-meter -- over Howard's Jon Armstrong, who finished in 6.6.
And Graham was part of winning relay squads at 1,600 and 800 meters.
Gray also had a super day, though he had his doubts heading into the competition. "I was nervous until after I finished second in the 300, and then I got really psyched up for the 500," Gray said.
He sliced two seconds off his best time by running a 1:09.5, and beat Atholton's Tony Dedmond (1:10.2).
"I started in front but Dedmond took the lead in the first lap," Gray said. "Then I passed him on the first curve of the last lap in a surprise move, because you usually don't pass on a curve. I didn't think he'd be looking for me."
Dedmond had beaten Gray in the outdoor quarter-mile last spring, so Gray had extra incentive.
Gray also was partof the winning 1,600 and 800 relay squads. Mark Alston and Todd Colby rounded out the 800 team and the 1600 included Joe Drissel and PhilCassel.
The Scorpions' winning 3,200-meter relay team -- Tim Brenza, Bill Dye, Paul Schoeny and Drissel -- set a school record of 8:31.7.
Drissel also finished second in the 1,600-meter run.
Top-seeded Blaine Hart won the pole vault for Oakland Mills with an 11-foot-6 effort.
"We also had a lot of surprises, like Ron Aughenbaugh taking a fifth place in the shot put," Caskie-Lewis said. "A lot of people scored points that we hadn't expected."
Despite the heroics of Graham and Gray for the winning team, the meet's MVP award went to Centennial's Pat Rodrigues, the super distance runner who won three events and set a county record in the 3,200 meters.
Rodrigues, a three-time state cross country champ, blazed to an incredible 9:34.5 inthe 3,200, defeating runner-up Gerard Hogan (10:16.8) of Glenelg by more than 40 seconds.
Rodrigues won the 1,600 in a scorching 4:28.5 over Drissel (4:36.5), and completed his hat trick by winning the 800 in 2:04, his closest race of the day. Runner-up Greg Yancey of Howard ran 2:04.8.
"Rodrigues is just one very talented runner," Lewis-Clapper said.
With Oakland Mills winning seven events and Rodrigues winning three, that left only two for the rest of the county.
Kevin Peters of Atholton gobbled up the shot put gold medal with a 40-foot, 1 -inch toss. Mark Salerno of Hammond was second at 39-10 .
Mike Goldberg of Glenelg won the high jump at 5 feet 10. Mike Abramsof Howard was second at 5-6.
In the team results, Glenelg finished third with 73 points, Howard fourth with 57, Atholton fifth with 39, Hammond sixth with 12, Wilde Lake seventh with six and Mount Hebroneighth with one.
Lewis-Clapper's teams have won two regional indoor titles but have never won a state indoor title.
"We've come real close twice, losing by a point one year," she said.
The girls portion of the county championships belonged almost entirely to Hammond.
Jackie Rieschick led the Golden Bears with three individual victories in the 500, 800 and 1,600-meter runs. She also won a fourth gold medal by anchoring the winning 800-meter relay team and was chosen meet MVP.
Rieschick, a junior, didn't set any county recordsor record any personal bests. "She was trying to save herself in some events and coasted in her 800 relay leg," Hammond coach Pete Hughessaid. Last year, Rieschick set the county record in the 500.
In the 1,600 she ran 5:42.1 and beat runner-up Kate Terry (5:45.8) of Glenelg.
In the 800 she ran 2:29.4, defeating Vonda Jones (2:32.3) ofAtholton.
In the 500 she ran 1:24.5 to edge teammate Kisha Jett (1:25.3).
Jett also was sensational for the Golden Bears, winning two individual events. She captured the 300-meter run in 43.4 over runner-up and teammate Mekka Richardson (44.2). Jett also won the 55-meter -- in 7.3 over Richardson (7.5).
Richardson, second twice, did get a taste of the gold by winning the 55-meter hurdles in 8.9. Hammond's Kristina Borys was second at 9.6. Hammond had four seconds to gowith its eight firsts.
Rhonda Johnson kept the gold flowing for Hammond by winning the shot put at 32-3. Elise Goldstein of Centennialwas second at 31-7.
"We're very pleased with the hard work the girls have put in," Hughes said. "They set their goal on this early in the season."
The team has only 14 girls including seven freshmen, three juniors and four seniors.
With Hammond winning eight of the 12 events, that left only four for the rest of the county, and Glenelg won all of those.
The Gladiators excel at distance running and won the 1,600-meter relay (4:32.0) and the 3,200-meter relay (10:47.4).
Kate Terry won the 3,200-meter run in 12:41.8, well ahead of runner-up Laurie Atherholt (13:01.0) of Atholton. Terry's older sister, Kristina, the favorite in that event, missed the meet due to illness.
And Mary Rose Rankin of Glenelg won the high jump at 4-10 ahead of Atholton's Rebecca Turner who also jumped 4-10.