WESTMINSTER -- Francis Scott Key still might claim its third straight MPSSAA Class 1A track and field championship today, but Milford Mill joined that chase last night in rapid fashion.
Mike Mamo, the Millers' distance ace, was watching an infield clock at Westminster High with one lap to go in his easy 3,200-meter run (9:39.4) victory, but if he had veered his gaze a few degrees to the right, he would have seen junior classmate and best buddy Joe Henderson going over a high jump bar set at 6-foot-5, three inches over his previous personal best. Throw in sophomore Andre Eure's long jump title (21-5 1/2 ) and his third in the high jump, and Milford Mill was in business with a first-day lead of 42-30 over Key.
Mamo and Henderson are serious fans of the sport who spent part of their spring break as spectators at the Penn Relays. Ironically, it was the first state title of the year for Mamo. The state's best in cross country and the 3,200 as a sophomore, Mamo was upset by Key's Jim Clarius at the cross country championships in November and missed much of the indoor season with a lung infection. The hard-to-satisfy Mamo was chasing the 1A record of 9:33.0.
"Mike's too hard on himself," said Henderson, who goes in both hurdles races today while Mamo is in the 1,600 and 800. "I'm glad people were watching him. When Mr. Hannon [coach Jesse Hannon] looks at me while I'm competing, I get nervous."
In the high jump, Henderson got by Francis Scott Key freshman Steve Wright, who also cleared 6-5. Coach John Seaman's Eagles also won the 4x800 relay (8:22.1) and went 3-4 in the pole vault. A team title today would be the fifth for a Seaman-coached team at Key.
The race for the Class 2A boys' championship is as crowded as ever. The Howard County trio of Glenelg, Hammond and Oakland Mills are factors, but Edgewood has the quality to become the first Harford County team to claim a title since Bel Air took 4A honors in 1968. The Rams' Cornelius Carey led the high jump, and Chris Gibbon was among the top qualifiers in both the 100 and 200. He anchored a second-place 4x200 relay, as Middletown of Frederick County swept the baton races, covering that race in 1:31.5 and edging Towson in the 4x800 (8:16.2). The Generals got a 1:57 split from Seth Dadds, the favorite in today's open 800.
Glenelg, which is seeking to sweep the 2A running titles after earlier winning championships in cross country and indoor track, was a disappointed non-scorer in that 4x800 relay. Gerard Hogan outkicked North Carroll's Matt Davis in the 3,200 for a clocking of 9:42.6 and a .1-second margin of victory. Hogan kept right on racing to a Class Night affair for Glenelg seniors.Jeff Slack was second in the high jump, helping the Gladiators to a leading first-day team total of 24 points.
Glenelg was second and Oakland Mills third in the Howard County team race two weeks ago, and Scorpions' first-year coach Sam Singleton hopes his team will again be a factor after ruling Class 3A last year. Hammond suffered setbacks in the long and high jumps, and will need to score big in the hurdles and triple jump today to get back in the hunt.
Another Howard County team, Wilde Lake, used several bodies from its state championship football team to win the boys 1A 4x200 relay in 1:30.8. Milford Mill was the only area girls' team to win an event, the Millers running 1:51.4 in the 1A 4x200 relay. In Class 2A, Middletown had a 21-20 lead over Central, which is seeking its 12th straight championship for coach Ed Bowie. Hammond sophomore Kisha Jett, who led the 100 and 200 qualifying, will be trying to repeat in those two sprints and the 400 and long jump.