WESTMINSTER — It's not enough that Westminster has the largest school in the county and that Coach Bill Hill and his staff have worked hard over the years to build a county track power.
But then the Owls are lucky enough to get talented athletes to transfer in: Jeff LiBerge from Franceand Jamahl Hogan from North Carroll.
"Nobody ever transfers to Hampstead," former North Carroll coach Henri Adami, serving as meet announcer, said with a laugh in the press box during Friday's county championships.
Because of such depth,the Owls easily were able to overcome some disappointing performances and cruise to both the boys and girls titles at Western Maryland College.
The boys won their 10th consecutive county title while the girls defended their 1990 crown.
Westminster's boys held a 51-point margin over Francis Scott Key in the final team standings, while the Owls were 63 points better than runner-up Liberty on the girls side.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the failure of LiBerge, who had the best performance in state high school history a couple of weeks ago, to clear his opening height of 11-feet-6 in the pole vault. Still, he had a pair of first-place finishes (high hurdles and shotput) and was third in the discus.
LiBerge said a combination of the especially fast surface at WMC, the time frame of his four events and the lack of practice time because of a pre-meet radio interview all contributed to the problems in the pole vault.
"The pole vault was the easiest event for me to win," he said with a laugh afterward."I could not find my steps."
He had no trouble finding his steps in the 110-meter high hurdles, though, where he set a county meet record of 14.6 seconds to nip Francis Scott Key's Kirk Lindsay.
"We don't gravitate around one person," Hill said. "We do coach more than one person in every event."
Another important finisher for the Owls was Hogan, who swept both the long and triple jumps for Westminster, which scored in every event and had three top-five winners in five events.
The other double winner in the boys meet was South Carroll's Jim Clarius, who captured both the 400 and 800.
In the girls competition, Stephanie Morningstar won three events and Westminster also dominated the distance events. The Owls had such depth that they were able to shift Morningstar from the 3,200 to the 400 (to go along with the 800 and 1,600) and still swept the top three spots in the 3,200 race.
"Westminster's very strong in cross country," Hill said. "That's a tradition at Westminster."
Despite the outstanding performances of Morningstar and her teammate, perhaps the star of the afternoon was Liberty's Julie Cox, who shrugged off recurring sinus congestion to set three county meet records in the 100, 200 and 110 hurdles.
She wasn't seriously challenged in either of the sprints, but she had to hold off a serious threat from Westminster's Kenya Warfieldto win the hurdles. Warfield added a victory in the high jump and 300 hurdles to her second-place finish.
Here are the results:
Friday at Western Maryland
Boys team scores: Westminster 121, Francis Scott Key 70, South Carroll 40, Liberty 27, North Carroll 24
100 meters: 1. Kris Brown (W) 11.1; 2. Ron Miller(N) 11.3; 3. Craig Foreman (S) 11.4; 4. Scott Kreit (F) 11.7; 5. JimHowe (L) 11.8
200: 1. Kris Brown (W) 22.7; 2. Jason Craig (W) 23.0; 3. Joe Kreit (F) 23.3; 4. Robinson (S) 23.8; 5. Fryear (S) 24.4
400: 1. Jim Clarius (S) 52.0; 2. Mark Craig (W) 52.2; 3. Gunther Kroe (W) 52.6; 4. Wade Shank (W) 52.7; 5. Pat Bosley (F) 53.2
800: 1.Jim Clarius (S) 2:04.7; 2. Brandon Duvall (W) 2:05.8; 3. Matt Avery (W) 2:06.2; 4. Joe Kreit (F) 2:07.0; 5. Mitch Jones (F) 2:07.5
1,600: 1. Matt Avery (W) 4:36.8; 2. Steve Kahler (W) 4:41.7; 3. Matt Davis (N) 4:42.9; 4. Joe Kreit (F) 4:47.8; 5. Jim Holford (W) 5:00.8
3,200: 1. Dion Stanton (W) 10:15.1; 2. Chris Zendgraft (W) 10:23.2; 3. Dave Hammel (S); 4. Mark Simmons (W) 10:42.5; 5. Jason Wilhide (F) 10:46.5
400 relay: 1. Westminster 44.1; 2. Francis Scott Key 45.6;3. South Carroll 47.0
800 relay: 1. Francis Scott Key 1:34.9; 2. Westminster 1:37.0; 3. North Carroll 1:37.9; 4. South Carroll 1:38.8;5. Liberty 1:40.0
1,600 relay: 1. Westminster 3:33.2; 2. Francis Scott Key 3:33.5; 3. North Carroll 3:39.1; 4. South Carroll 3:44.8; 5. Liberty 3:54.9
3,200 relay: 1. Westminster 8:24.2; 2. South Carroll 8:27.6; 3. Francis Scott Key 8:28.6; 4. North Carroll 9:05.3; 5. Liberty 9:25.2
110 hurdles: 1. Jeff LiBerge (W) 14.7 (meet record,old record of 14.8 set by Dennis Morrison of Westminster in 1986); 2. Kirk Lindsay (F) 14.9; 3. Jeff Brown (L) 15.4; 4. Jason Craig (W) 16.1; 5. Jay Merker (W) 16.3
300 hurdles: 1. Kirk Lindsay (F) 40.1;2. Jeff Brown (L) 42.9; 3. Jay Merker (W) 43.3; 4. Chris White (F) 44.1; 5. Jason Craig (W) 44.7
High jump: 1. Sam Perry (F) 6-5; 2. Jim Wright (F) 6-4; 3. Adam Franklin (N) 6-1; 4. Scott Lingle (L) 6-0;5. Chris Freyman (W) 5-10