It's that time of year again, when county indoor track coaches breakout their pencils and erasers to calculate where their teams will finish in the state meet.
"Right now, it's tough to estimate where we fit in with the other teams around the state," Old Mill coach Ron Evans said after last week's Region IV meet. "We'll study it the best we can, make some scratches and some changes, load up and go with what we got."
The consensus among track aficionados is that Eleanor Roosevelt'sgirls and Perry Hall's boys are the teams to beat in Thursday's Class 4A state championships at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore.
"On the girls side, Eleanor Roosevelt has a ton of people back, and everybody is going to be hard-pressed to beat them," said Meade coach Jay Cuthbert, whose boys and girls squads finished second to Eleanor Roosevelt at last year's state meet.
"I think we'll score a littlebit with what we have, but we just don't have enough girls. We only have seven girls on the team, and they do a nice job, but we're just running out of legs."
If Old Mill veteran assistant coach Leon Walters was a gambling man, he wouldn't hesitate to bet the house on Roosevelt's girls team. After all, the Prince George's County powerhouseis defending its title with the nucleus from last year's championship squad.
"Roosevelt definitely has to be the favorite," said Walters, whose Patriots swept both the girls and boys titles at the countyand regional meets. "Roosevelt's girls team has Ebony Robinson back in the 55 and 300 (meter) --es, and they've also had the fastest times in the 800 relay and 1,600 relay. So, in effect, they start out with a base of 40 points, and that's where we may end up.
"If you go mathematically by what went on in the region meets, it looks like Roosevelt could be 20 points better than us. We could pick up 10 points somewhere along the line, but we'll still be 10 points short," Walters said.
"Something would have to happen to Roosevelt for us to win, but we should be able to finish second," he said. "After that, it looks like Meade and Chesapeake could be fighting with Dulaney for third."
Meanwhile, Perry Hall's boys appear the front-runner heading into Thursday's meet. The Gators boast Tom Banach in the 55 hurdles and 55 --, Chris Nance in the 3,200 run and Greg Sutton in the high jump.
Walters said Old Mill has the talent to go head-to-head in these events, but insists that a loss in any of them would eliminate thePatriots' chances of capturing a state title.
"Perry Hall's guys appear to be very strong," said Walters, who is relying heavily on defending state champion Rocky McMillan (55 hurdles) and county and region champ Brad Boetig (3,200 run).
"They had the best times in thehurdles, high jump and shot put, so they could start out with 30 points," he said. "If they do, we're going to need an awful lot of second and third places to make up for it.
"Most likely, we'll be fighting for second with Meade, Suitland and Bowie of Prince George's County, or Springbrook from Montgomery County."
Despite what happens in the team standings, several county athletes are hoping to make their individual marks on Thursday.
Glen Burnie speedster Alphonso Generette, who missed last year's state meet because of a spleen injury,already has captured the county and region titles in the 300 -- but says he must improve his region time of 37.8 at the states.
"I hope to do a little better in the states, and I should because I didn't have a lot of competition at the regions," said Generette, who set a school record in the 300 with a time of 36.7, besting Kenny Long's old mark of 37.1 set in 1989.
"I only had one other guy in my heat (Old Mill's Rufus Beard), so it was hard to push myself."
If Chesapeake shot-putter Mattie Cymek can match her throws in the county and region meets, she should have no difficulty claiming a state title. The senior already has recorded tosses of 40-5 1/2 at the county meet and 41-4 1/4 at the regions, with a toss of 39 feet having won it at last year's state meet.
North County sprinter Adrienne McCray willtry to defend her state title in the 500 run, as will Old Mill's Nickie Matters in the 800.
Other state champion hopefuls include Severna Park's Fran Mackney (3,200 run) and Meade's Brian Glock (pole vault) and Derrick Barr (high jump).