In the first and, hopefully, last 3,400-meter race held in the boys Class 1A/2A state indoor track championships yesterday, Glenelg's Gerard Hogan set an unofficial state record of 10:43.3.
Thirty-four hundred meters?
Well, uh, yes. It seems that sometime during the race an official flipped the lap number card backward rather than forward, resulting in a 17-lap race instead of 16. "My coaches were giving me signals to keep the same pace," said Hogan, a junior. "They said you have a half-mile to go, but when I went by the officials I saw five laps to go instead of four."
No matter. Earlier, Hogan had run down Milford Mill's Mike Mamo on the last lap to win the 1,600 meters in 4:42.2. The plan for the 3,200 was to do the same.
"He was going to wait and go after him [Mamo] in the last lap," said Gladiators coach Roger Volrath.
He just had to wait a little longer.
When the officials decided to let the event stand as run, Hogan had his distance double and Glenelg had just about clinched its second straight state boys title. "I was going for it," Hogan said. "I wrote it down on Jan. 1. I knew Mamo was the man to beat."
For Hogan, who placed second in the state cross country championships last fall and captained that team as a junior, running the distance double is relatively new. "He didn't start the season doubling," said Volrath. "He's been getting a lot stronger. He's doubled in the county, region, and state meets."
Hogan suffered a stress fracture running cross country as a freshman and didn't run track that year. Last year, Volrath said, "He raced too intensely during the year and got a little stale. But he worked real hard over the summer.
"He's a real enthusiastic kind of person. He's a natural team leader by example. You've got to want to have at least a dozen like that on your team, regardless of how he does athletically -- just on attitude."
Hogan applies his intelligence on the track and off it. A 4.0 student, he has taken the PSAT and scored 780 on the math portion and 650 on the verbal. "I like chess," he said. "I'm captain of the chess team. And I'm on the math team because I like the adviser. I'm going into engineering."
But first, this summer he'll go to work at the National Institutes of Health, where he has earned an eight-week research fellowship. already done some experimentation with his diet.
As a sophomore, he had a nervous stomach and often vomited during the first lap of races. "One of my coaches is a vegetarian, and he said maybe that was it," said Hogan. "I went to a summer cross country camp and he said to try it for the week. It seemed to work. Now, I don't take milk, meat or fish, candy, sodas or eggs."
Glenelg also got outstanding performances from Mark Coleman, who won the 800 meters, ran a come-from-behind anchor leg on the victorious 3,200-meter relay, and placed second in the 500 meters to teammate Eric Widmaier. The Gladiators' Jason Botterill and Aaron Browning went 1-2 in the pole vault, both clearing 11 feet.
Owings Mills sophomore Lonny Humphrey was a double winner in the sprints, taking the 55-meter -- (6.5 seconds) and 300 meters (37.1). Finishing behind Glenelg's boys (87 points) were Fairmont Heights (52) and Milford Mill (30.5).
Central's girls (95.33 points) won easily over Hammond (48), Boonsboro (33) and Glenelg (30).