WESTMINSTER -- Francis Scott Key track and field coach John Seaman said his boys team actually did better than he expected.
He had projected the Eagles to score 63 points in last weekend's state meet, and they finished with 64.5.
That, of course, was good. It just wasn't good enough for a third straight Class 1A state title.
There was no "three-peat" as the Eagles finished third in Class 1A action. Milford Mill won it all with 81.5 points and Wilde Lake came in second with 71 in the meet that concluded on a blazing hot Saturday at Westminster High.
The Key girls also turned in an outstanding performance with 48 points, finishing second to Smithsburg (92), just ahead of Brunswick (47), Milford Mill (42) and Joppatowne (40).
On the boys side, the formula this year was the same as in years past. Key racked up points in lots of places, especially relays. This year, though, there was no one big scorer as there was in 1990 with Steve Forman and 1991 with Kirk Lindsay.
"Our performance did not let down in any way [from the regionals]," said Seaman. "Milford Mill and Wilde Lake improved their performances."
Key didn't win any individual events, but finished first in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays. The 1,600 relay, the final event of the day, was the most impressive win. Key needed to win and have Wilde Lake finish sixth or worse to earn second place.
Patrick Bosley (second in the individual 800 and fourth in the 400) led off, followed by Rick Angell. When Scott Kreit took the baton, he was in fourth place. He quickly began passing runners and handed the baton to Jim Clarius in first place, and that's where Key (a season's best 3:29.6) finished, edging Wilde Lake. Kreit's split was a blistering 50.3.
Clarius, the team's top distance runner, did well in two relay events, but didn't qualify in any individual events as he missed the regional competition because of illness. He also anchored the winning 3,200 relay, teaming with Bosley, Dave Jordan and Mitch Jones.
Bosley's work in the 800 (2:03.1) was a personal record. Freshman Steve Wright did the same when he took second in the high jump at 6-5. He lost to Milford Mill's Joe Henderson, but impressed Seaman with his calm under fire.
Sophomore Jason McCarley also set a personal record in the 300 hurdles. His time of 42.4 put him in a tie for fourth. Also, triple jumper Dave Bull set a school mark with a leap of 44-1.
The girls were much farther back, as Smithsburg ran away and hid, but several of the Eagles performed better than anticipated, lifting Key to its second-place finish.
"We're thrilled to death," said Seaman.
Standout sprinter Dani Deeds took second and third in the 100 and 200, respectively. The Eagles did get some nice surprises, ++ though.
Freshman Carrie Ryer set a school record while taking third in the triple jump [34-5 1/4 ]. And, she took sixth in the 100. Freshman Kelly Jirout took fifth in the 300 hurdles and sixth in the high jump.
The 800 relay team of Laurie Ryer, Deeds, Chrissy Naurot and Monica Smith surprised with its second-place finish in 1:52.4, 1 second behind Milford Mill.
Deeds and Smith are the team's lone graduating seniors, so a lot of talent returns for the Eagles next year -- as it does with the boys team.
Host Westminster also had a day to remember, as many of coach Bill Hill's athletes peaked with personal records. The boys finished fifth with 44.5 points, the girls were ninth with 20.
Brandon Duval won the 800 meters, easily setting a personal best with 1:55.9 to win, despite being in the slow heat. Teammate Wade Shank was fifth in 1:58.7.
Triple jumper Matt Knights' leap of 44-11 1/2 was almost a foot better than his previous best. Brent Black took third (47-5 1/2 ) in the shot put and fourth (127-8) in the discus. Steve Kahler set a personal best with his fourth-place 4:26.3 effort in the 1,600.
Kenya Warfield and Jessie Fairnholt scored all of the Owls' points in the girls competition.
Warfield won the high jump (5-5, second-best in school history) and was fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.2). Fairnholt took fourth in the discus (107-11) and fifth in the shot put (36-0, in the top five in school history).
"When it comes around to this, we know our workouts are proper," said Hill.
Some other county athletes had success -- namely Julie Cox of Liberty, Francine Hewes and Matt Davis of North Carroll and Denine Henderson of South Carroll.
NB Sprinter Cox had a strong day for the Class 2A Lions. She took
first in the 300 hurdles (45.2). She was second in the 100 (12.3) and fourth in the 200 (26.3). Hewes won the Class 2A long jump, flying 16-10.
Henderson scored all of the Cavs' points by finishing third in the triple (35-1) and high (4-10) jumps and fifth in the 100 hurdles (16.09).