Even without the added incentive of team competition, the sixth annual Anne Arundel County Indoor Relays continues to be a meet that is awelcome change from the norm.
All 11 county teams will compete innine different relay events, in addition to individual competition in shot put, pole vault and high jump, Wednesday at Baltimore's Fifth Regiment Armory.
"I think a meet like this is fun for both the coaches and the runners," said North County coach Ed Harte. "The kids enjoy the relays because there's no individual pressure in the running events, and theyjust enjoy running relays. It's good for us (coaches) because we cantry different combinations."
The majority of coaches are still inthe process of combining their runners in the variety of events the relays will offer, including the 6,400, shuttle hurdle-sprint (girls only), shuttle hurdle (boys only), 3,200, 1,600, 800, descendo (800-600-400-200), sprint medley (400-200-200-800) and distance medley (1, 200-800-400-1, 600) relays. Junior varsity races will be contested inevery category except the 6,400.
It is the consensus of the county's coaching fraternity that Old Mill, Meade and North County loom most threatening in the speed events, while Severna Park holds the edgein the distance relays.
"We've got a lot of depth, so that shouldhelp us in this type of meet," said Old Mill coach Ron Evans. "Thereare a lot of different sprints in just a short period of time, but we have enough bodies to cover all of them."
Sprint headliners for the Patriots include Rocky McMillan, Derric Johnson, Corey Dorsey, Tisha Washington, Amy Tolley and Raina Domneys; while the Mustangs boast Andre Wise, Raymond Otis, Gerald Johns, Uvette Johnson, Yulanda Archie and Chelsea Williams. Sprinters Alphonso Generette (Glen Burnie) and Anthony Walker (North County) should boost the hopes of their relay teams.
"There's no doubt in my mind that we will medal in the distances," said Severna Park coach Jim Patton. "I'm also counting heavily on my hurdlers (Paul Lavalle, Mark Latchaw, Colin Harding and Chris Johnson) to win medals. We always seem to do well in relay meets.We just don't have the individual stars that people like (Meade coach) Jay Cuthbert and Ron Evans have, but with the people we have, we can put together some decent relay teams, and we should be OK in the field events, now that Teddy's (John Jennings) back."
Jennings, last year's meet champion with a heave of 47-5 in the shot, returns to defend his title. The stocky senior had started the winter as a memberof the Falcon wrestling team, but then decided, along with Severna Park wrestling coach Dave Caprio, to go back to tossing the heavy medal, much to the delight of Patton.
"Teddy has been a real leader for us," said Patton. "I'm glad he's with us; he probably could have been a good wrestler, but they (the wrestling staff) were very up-front, and they told him that his opportunities would be limited."
Meade not only should challenge in the speed events but in the field as well, as pole-vaulter Brian Glock (12-6) and high-jumper Derrick Barr (6-4) both have recorded county bests this season.
Chesapeake's Mattie Cymek, who has thrown farther than any girl (41-5) this season, will be the odds-on favorite in the girls shot put. Annapolis' Liz Magiera and North County's Adrienne McCray should go neck-and-neck in the high jump, as both have cleared 4-10 this season.
McCray, who will compete in as many as four events Wednesday, says that this year's extra-long Christmas vacation might enhance her performance.
"I think the break has been a big help for me, because I don't have the added pressure of homework. We had just a couple of practices during the break, and then a meet on Thursday, so I think I should be OK forthe relays," she said.
"The good thing about this meet is that everyone on the team gets to participate," said Broadneck coach Gerald Kiple, whose team is led by 800-meter runner Tim Collins. "I'm looking forward to some great competition."
Results of last year's fifthannual Anne Arundel County Indoor Relays (*denotes meet record) were:
Shuttle Hurdle -- Meade 34.9
6,400 -- Meade 19:40.9
3, 200 -- Broadneck 8:27.7
1,600 -- Meade 3:43.3
800 -- Old Mill 1:37.6
Descendo -- Chesapeake 4:54.1
Sprint Medley -- Chesapeake 3:52.1
Distance Medley -- Broadneck 11:18.1*
High Jump --Keith Hodge (Severna Park) 6-6*
Pole Vault -- Jeff Miller (Meade)13-6
Shot Put -- John Jennings (Severna Park) 47-5
Shuttle Hurdle -- Old Mill 31.5
6,400 -- Meade 24.07.5
3,200 -- Severna Park 10:34.2
1,600 -- Meade 4:22.8
800 -- Meade 1:51.7*
Descendo -- Chesapeake 6:03.5*
Sprint Medley -- Old Mill 4:36.2
Distance Medley -- 13:35.0* Severna Park
High Jump -- Kathy Wetzel (Arundel) 5-0
Shot Put -- Amy Reusing (Old Mill) 29-10.