WESTMINSTER — Carroll County won't be losing the state track meet after all.
With Western Maryland College unable to play host to the meet this yearbecause of a conflict with graduation ceremonies, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association has moved the three-day event to Westminster High.
The Owls had played host to state meets before, said track coach Bill Hill. But those one-day meets came when the four classificationshad state meets at separate sites.
The state has decided to keep the four meets together in a three-day format, just as it has the past several years at Towson State University and later at WMC.
"We wanted to keep it in the same area," said Edward F. "Ned" Sparks, MPSSAA executive director. "They have a pretty good facility."
The change of venue will mean a change in the schedule -- especially for theThursday and Friday sessions of the meet, which runs May 21-23. While at WMC, those events began at 3 p.m. and ended before dark.
The start will be later at Westminster so students and teachers can cleartheir cars from the lot and so school won't be disrupted by bus loads of athletes warming up for events. The meet can run much later, though, because the high school facility is lighted.
Hill said committees have been formed to deal with several functions handled in past years by college personnel -- parking, concessions and crowd control.Hill said most of the details will be hammered out at an early January meeting.
Officiating likely will be the same, with many of the same people involved. Hill, for example, was meet director for the past two events.
The addition of the state meet will make for a busyseason for Hill, because the Owls again will play host to their own invitational and a regional meet, the latter just a week before the state championships.
"I don't mind the organization of it," Hill said of the meets. "My coaching staff really enjoys it. If they wouldn't be willing to put in the time on Saturdays and Sundays, we wouldn'tbe able to do it."
Hill said as many as 150 people will help withthe meet, including officials. He said county coaches already have offered to help, and several schools in and out of the county have volunteered students to take on some tasks.
He added that the state does not plan to charge admission to the meet, even though the Westminster facility is designed for paying crowds.
The Western Maryland facility, one of the best in the state, often was not used for the individual state meets because the facility is not designed for admission charges.
But the meet moved to WMC in 1990 after Towson State had proposed an increase in its rental fee.
The MPSSAA selected WMCand eliminated admission charges.