The race for the boys county track championship stacks up as a highly competitive four-way contest. Hammond, Oakland Mills, Centennial and Glenelg all have a shot at the title.
Defending county champion Hammond has a strong nucleus of sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers that could carry the Bears to another title.
Junior Andrew Tetteh, last year, won the county triple jump and was third in the state triple jump. He also competes in the long jump and high jump.
Kyle Jefferson, who finished third in the county 200 meters and fourth in the high jump returns for his senior year.
Senior Cliff Epps should be extremely strong in the 100 --. And senior Kwami Mensa is looking good in both the 100 and 400.
Two sophomores should help a lot. Chris Jefferson, Kyle's brother, will compete in the triple jump and long jump, and Robert Sharp will run the 110 and 300 hurdles.
"We are almost as strong as last year, except thisyear we don't have equal strength at shot and discus," Bears Coach Pete Hughes said.
Although Hammond is a definite contender, OaklandMills may rate a slight edge at this point.
The Scorpions won thestate Class 3A indoor meet and have the key members from that team out again this spring.
So are a lot of other athletes. Oakland Mills has a huge squad of 55.
Senior Eric Graham is the top-rated sprinter at 100 and 200 meters.
Senior Joe Drissel is one of the county's all-time top distance runners and two-time defending state champin the 1600 meters. And senior Blaine Hart and junior Todd Colby aretwo of the top pole vaulters in the county.
Other strong distancerunners include seniors Bill Dye, Ken Plasse and Brandon Hart and juniors Mike Vanghel and Tim Brenza. Senior Ricky Gray is an excellent 400-meter runner.
"We'll be strong in almost all the relays because we have good depth and strength," Scorpions Coach Gerry Clapper said. "The field events are what usually hurt us."
The Scorpions finished only third in last year's county meet.
Centennial finished second in the county, first in the region and fourth in the state last year and the Eagles will be strong again.
Senior Pat Rodrigues wonthe county, region and state 3200 meters and is going for his fourthstraight state title in that event.
Four sophomores, Chris Bosely, Nate Bucks, Mark James and Jason Knight will also run middle distance and distance events.
The Eagles have senior Andrew Younkin and junior Eric Weinig in the hurdles. They have senior Roger Stott running the 100, 200 and the long jump.
Senior Ben Both will throw the shot and run the 100.
Centennial has sophomore Zach Kozma in the pole vault and sophomore Andy Mauerman in the high jump. Junior Chris Hartman is a jumper and sprinter, and junior Bill Woodford throws shot and discus.
Sophomore Jeff Linden is a hurdler. Freshmen Randy Slate is a sprinter. And juniors Keith Green and Kevin Green, twin brothers, are also sprinters.
"We have a lot of young guys but we arelooking for a top-three finish," Eagles Coach Al Dodds said. Centennial has a large squad of 48.
Glenelg is coming off a state Class 2A indoor track championship and will be strong in middle distance anddistance running.
Senior Gerard Hogan and junior Joe Rankin are the top distance runners. Hogan won the 2A state indoor 3200 and 1600.
Senior Eric Widmaier and Mark Coleman will be tough in the 400 and 800 meters.
Junior pole vaulters Aaron Browning and Jason Botterill are two of the best in the county. And sophomore Mike Goldberg won the county indoor high jump championship.
Others who may help are junior Jeff Slack in the high jump, sophomore Renard Brown in the 400 and 800 and senior Rob Fersch in the 1600.
"Oakland Mills willbe tough to beat in the county, but things look good for us in the region and state," Gladiators Coach Roger Volrath said.
"But even there it will be tougher than indoor because more schools field outdoor teams."
Beyond those four top teams the concentration of talent thins quite a bit.
Howard has only 15 athletes on its team, but senior Greg Yancey will be strong in the 800 meters where he finished fourth in the state.
Senior Chuck Jett in the triple jump and junior Al Heppner in the 3200 may score some points.
Senior John Finneyfinished fifth in the state long jump last year.
"We're just going to concentrate on certain areas and try to do well there," Lions Coach Dave Ditman said.
Atholton has only six people with experienceon its team of 29.
But junior Tony Dedmond is defending county champ in the 400 meters, senior Joe Yankle throws the shot and discus, junior Mark Stahl is a promising 800-meter runner and sophomore BrianTownsend is up-and-coming in the 1600 and 3200.
"Townsend should score in the state mile because he ran a 10:20 indoor," Raiders CoachSue Stahl said.
Wilde Lake has a couple of good sprinters in senior Raphael Wall and sophomore Reggie Alston.
A couple of distance runners, senior Jason Bork and sophomore Larry Sheffield also show promise.
"Our relays should be strong," Wildecats Coach Rich Stebbins said.
Stebbins, a first-year coach, has an outstanding background. In 1964 he won a gold medal in the 4x100 relay at the Olympics in Tokyo.
He also played wide receiver for the New York Giants in 1967 and for the Houston Oilers in 1968.
Stebbins said he coached football and track at Howard University for five years before spending the last 10 years in sales.
Mount Hebron has a much bigger turnout,from 10 last year to 30 his year, but still is young and inexperienced.
The Vikings have senior Corey Jackson in the shot and distancerunning. Senior Don Choate runs the 1600 and 3200 meters, and sophomore Jesse Barnes runs the 800 and 1600.