ONE WORD — "reputation" -- describes what is at stake for Old Mill hurdler/sprinter Rocky McMillan as he enters his final high school outdoor track season.
"I want to go out sweeping two events -- the 110- and 300-hurdles," said McMillan, who was a triple gold-medal winner in last year's county meet, sweeping both hurdles events and running the leadoff leg of the Patriots' 400-meter relay team.
McMillan, a two-time state champ in the indoor track 55-meter hurdles, is one of several county seniors who is on the verge of catching the dreams he has been chasing.
Some, like Meade's indoor countychampion pole vaulter Brian Glock, feel a sense of urgency. Others, like Glen Burnie's 100-meter -- county and regional champion AlphonsoGenrette, are taking their last season in stride.
"I only finished fifth in the state meet indoors, but everybody knows I just had a bad meet," said Glock, who was third in last year's outdoor county meet. "Now I've got something to shoot for."
"Every year is different," said Genrette, a 200-meter county champion. "I was only third in the state last year, but at least I could say I was there."
McMillan, last year's Anne Arundel County Sun Male Track Athlete of the Year, said, "I want my name in the record books."
"In the states, I didn't place in the 110s. So I was pretty low for the 300s," said McMillan, who rebounded to take third in the 300 hurdles. "I've been practicing too hard to go out like that this year."
Between them, McMillan, North County's three-event county champion Adrienne McCray, and Chesapeake's discus/shot putter Mattie Cymek have more than 30 different nationally acclaimed college track programs pursuing them.
Cymek won county and regional titles in each of her events. She also captured the state crown in the discus and was a runner-up in the shot put.
Solidly built at 5-foot-10, 175-pounds, Cymek has been liftingweights and refining her technique. She is coming off of a successful indoor season, where she swept the county, regional and state meetsin the shot put and placed seventh nationally to earn indoor Female Track Athlete of the Year honors.
"I think I'm ready to throw 165 feet in the discus," said Cymek, who tossed a county-record 142-10 last year. The state record is 147. "Discus is my favorite. I'm kind ofburned out on the shot put from this winter, but I think I can win them both in the states."
McCray won last year's Class 4A state title in the 300 hurdles to become the first athlete to be inducted intothe Knights' Hall of Fame. McCray, the Anne Arundel County Sun's 1991 Female Track Athlete of the Year, leaped a county record 17 feet, 10 inches to win last year's county long jump crown. Her winning time in the 300 (44.3) just missed the county record of 44.2 set in 1983.
"This is it for me," said McCray. "I have to perform at my best, or I'm not going to the school I want. For me, there's a whole lot of pressure this year."
"Sure there's pressure, and I think everyone is feeling it," said Severna Park's Fran Mackney, last year's 1,600- and 3,200-meter run county champion.
Mackney became a hot college prospect after winning the county and regional cross country titles last fall. She was even hotter after indoor track, where she was a county and regional champion two-miler and ran the second leg of the Falcons' state champion two-mile relay team.
"I'm hoping to break school records and go out big," she said.
So is the entire Old Mill boys team, after tying Eleanor Roosevelt High for last year's outdoor state title and winning the indoor crown.
McMillan, county champion long jumper Corey Dorsey, Rufus Beard and Derric Johnson were the members of last year's county champion 400 relay team, and distance runner Scott Boetig (third in the 1,600 and 3,200) also returns.
"Are we ripe for the picking?" asked Old Mill coach Ron Evans. "I don't know. It's going to come down to the boys' level of commitment."
The Patriots edged the Mustangs, 135-132, for last year's boys county title, and the Mustangs' girls fell, 119-110, to Old Mill's girls, who won their 11th county crown.
"Old Mill and Meade -- it's the same old story this year," said Broadneck coach Gerald Kiple, whose boyswere third.
Several key players graduated from coach Jay Cuthbert's Mustangs, but his squad had an extremely successful indoor season,which included high jumper Derek Barr (a runner-up outdoors last year) winning his second straight indoor crown, and freshman Raymond Otis and sophomore Andre Wise qualifying for the state meet in four sprint events.
Led by junior Sam Lomax, a surprise winner of last year's 800-meter run, North County's boys return a host of speedsters, including Anthony Walker (second in the 100, third in the 200). Ed Hart's Knights were outdoor county runners-up in front of Meade in the 400 relay, and have "a boat-load of sprinters," said Hart.