Western gets back in the running with title

May 20, 1991|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Evening Sun Staff

The ladies -- and one guy -- at Western have the City-Wide track and field championship back where it belongs, and they don't intend on giving it up anytime soon.

Northwestern won the first girls championship conducted, in 1971. From '72 through 1985, Western owned the meet, winning 14 straight titles. Breezy Bishop gave up the reins the following year, however, and Saturday's championship was only the Doves' second crown since she stepped down after the '85 season.

Western rolled with 168 points to runner-up Poly's 82, with non-scoring McDonogh also making it interesting.

Jerry Molyneaux became Western's coach last spring, when Dunbar made it three straight and a third-place finish for the Doves represented their worst showing ever in the City-Wide meet. The girls didn't know Molyneaux, premier weight thrower Dana Johnson was preparing for an important summer of basketball, and the season was a downer.

"I've been aware of Western's tradition for a long time," said Molyneaux, a 32-year-old from the Virgin Islands who specialized in the 800 meters for Morgan State a decade ago. "I knew the talent was there, but I also knew it was going to take a couple of years to get it back up. Most of the girls you see out there are new runners."

Crystal Johnson, a freshman, topped 5 feet 4 in the high jump and finished second in the long jump and 100 hurdles. Classmate Dionne Smith was third in the 100 and ran on the winning 4X100, 4X200 and 4X400 relays. Michelle Burrell, a soph

omore, won the 800 and 3,000 and was second in the 1,500 to Poly junior Anita Manning, who also showed her versatility with wins in the 100 and 200.

The upper classes did their share too. Junior Jeannette Gibbs took the 300 hurdles and Johnson easily won both weight events, including the day's only meet record, a heave of 39 feet, 3 inches in the shot put.

Johnson, bound for Tennessee on a basketball scholarship, took the 1990 campaign off, resting up for a long summer that helped her to All-American status on the court last winter.

"We needed Dana last year," Molyneaux said. "She didn't know who I was."

Now they all know what Western track and field is about -- again.

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