Don't tell Ron Evans that track and field is an individual sport.
"Whenever possible, we've always tried to emphasize the team over the individual," said the Old Mill coach, who finds his boys and girls atop the first team rankings undertaken in the sport by The Baltimore Sun.
The philosophy has hardly sacrificed quality for quantity. Evans has developed the area record-holder in five events and Old Mill competitors are often among the area leaders in a variety of endeavors. At the same time, Old Mill has far outdistanced other area schools in state titles since the school opened in 1976.
When the Old Mill boys took the state Class 4A indoor championship, it marked the 20th time an Evans-coached team took state honors. This spring, the Patriots are favored to claim their seventh state title, and their 12th Anne Arundel County championship.
The girls are after their 12th straight county title, but they'll be hard-pressed to take the state championship away from Prince George's County power Eleanor Roosevelt. The Patriots appear to be in a race for second that includes Baltimore County's Dulaney.
7+ Here is a look at the preseason top 10.
1. OLD MILL
Sprinter Derric Johnson (10.8), hurdler Rocky McMillan (14.5, 39.1), jumper Corey Dorsey (22-2 1/2 ) and distance runner Scott Boetig (4:26, 9:55) are at the heart of a deep, experienced squad that ranked among the area's top three in every relay last spring.
2. PERRY HALL
The Gators are looking for their eighth Baltimore County championship in 15 years. The senior trio of high jumper Greg Sutton (6-6), hurdler Tom Doan (14.6) and distance runner Chris Nance need to finish strong. Indoors, junior Charles Adams put the shot 53 feet and freshman Jim Banach was a county sprint champ for coach Jerry Martin.
Several key sprinters are academically ineligible for coach Bill Hickey's defending Maryland Scholastic Association champions, but senior Tramont Evans could be the area's best in the 110 hurdles (14.3), triple jump (44-9 1/2 ), 300 hurdles, 200 or 400. The sprint relays will still be in good hands, thanks to seniors Mike Owens and Omar Nixon.
Coach Jay Cuthbert might have the area's premier field event crew in jumper Derrick Barr (6-6), vaulter Bryan Glock (13-3) and weight man Levaniel Hicks (48-3). Those three are seniors. The Mustangs, however, are very young on the track.
Coach Bill Hill's Owls will go for their 11th straight Carroll County title behind a deep distance crew that features seniors Matt Avery (4:26) and Steve Kahler, and junior Dion Stanton. The weights are in the capable hands of senior Brent Black (50-1).
The Greyhounds were second to Poly in the MSA last year, and coach Johnnie Foreman hopes he has the depth to move up a notch. Shot-putter Victor Carter-Bey (53-3) is also a threat in the high jump, and Chas Iliff was second in the MSA 800 last year.
Can the Gladiators build on the momentum from their state indoor 2A-1A title? Coach Roger Volrath has the area's premier distance duo in the Hogan brothers, senior Gerard (9:53) and junior Ed. Aaron Browning vaulted 12 feet indoors, but Glenelg needs speed to unseat Oakland Mills in Howard County.
8. C.M. WRIGHT
The Mustangs have won five straight Harford County titles, and coach Jim McNicholas again has a squad that covers all events. Sophomore Brian Harris and junior Greg Stephens are a solid distance duo, and junior Ron Paden is a state 3A threat in the weights.
9. MILFORD MILL
It could be the Millers' turn in their annual state 1A war with Francis Scott Key, as junior distance ace Mike Mamo (9:43) and senior hurdler-sprinter Dave Royal are defending state champions. Sophomore Andre Eure and junior Joe Henderson are a potent jump combination.
Ron Keene was the All-Metro selection in the 100 (10.7) and the MSA champ in the 200, and he's joined in the sprints by sophomores Anthony Stuckey and Ben Braswell, who have national age-group credentials. Jumper Carlton Finch is a key for coach Fred Hendricks.
1. OLD MILL
Sophomore Raina Domneys is solid in both the hurdles (15.0) and triple jump (35-9), and junior Michelle Smith is capable in every field event, from the shot put (37-4) to discus (122-11) to high jump (5-0). Senior Titisha Washington (12.6) and junior Marisa Sanders (5:29) lead the sprints and distances, respectively.
Amanda White is coming off the best indoor season ever by an area girl, as she led the nation with a 10:24 two-mile. Kristen Friz and Dishina Davis are also back from the All-Metro 3,200 relay (9:47), and hurdler Dishina Davis is another reason coach Bob Dean has the defending Baltimore County champions.
The Comets won the county indoor title for coach Jeff McDaniel, and they could be deeper outdoors. Meredith Benzing is a leader the high jump (5-2) and 800 (2:28), where superb depth will allow freshman Ann Giardina to move up to the 1,600. Kim Lamb is a force in the long and triple jumps.