Mount St. Mary's Merritt follows Deegan's footstepsNavy...

December 04, 1992|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Mount St. Mary's Merritt follows Deegan's footsteps

Navy meet begins new era for school

When the men's track and field team from Mount St. Mary's goes to Halsey Field House for the Navy Invitational today (4 p.m.), the Mountaineers' lineup will be made by first-year coach Mike Merritt. He appreciates the significance of the act, which for the last 36 years was handled by Jim Deegan.

"There was no track and field here before Deegan," Merritt said. "He started the program."

After running for Northwestern High and Catonsville Community College, Merritt competed for Deegan in the mid-1970s. He has been in charge of the Mountaineers' women since 1988-89, and he's also worked with the men sprinters, who led the state last spring in the 4 x 400 relay with a 3:10.42 clocking.

"I'm working my tail off," Merritt said. "It's going to get busier, because I'll be coaching both cross country teams for the first time next year. Both of our [indoor] track teams are young, but I think we've got several people who can get to the NCAAs."

Both of Merritt's teams will be in Annapolis today, as the Navy Lid-Lifter for women starts at 7 p.m. Deegan, who came to Emmitsburg in 1956, resigned as men's track and field coach last summer in order to concentrate on the Mountaineers' soccer program.

With the Mount off to a 3-0 start, he was hospitalized by heart failure, and later underwent open heart surgery that involved the surgical implant of a mechanical valve. He has discovered the joys of Division I soccer recruiting, as he shivered through two state playoff games in Pennsylvania and two more in Delaware on Nov. 14.

"I feel great," Deegan said. "I'm cleared to run, but it's not as if I ever did that before."

Deegan will still be involved with the Mount decathletes, and he'll accompany Rob Pendergist to a multi-event clinic in San Diego, Calif., this weekend. In Pendergist, junior Jim Stevenson and sophomore Eddison Toby, the Mountaineers have three potential qualifiers for the NCAA decathlon next June.

Allegany comes to town

Allegany returns to the scene of its only Maryland Junior College Conference regular-season loss of 1991-92 when it travels to Baltimore City next Tuesday.

The Trojans were 31-4 last year. Two of the losses came to Vincennes, and that Indiana power, ranked No. 1 in the nation, did it to Allegany again Nov. 14. Coach Bob Kirk's team takes a 6-1 record and a No. 10 ranking into the Louie Spoerl Memorial Classic it is host to this weekend. Brian Parker, a freshman center from Meade, is starting at center.

What was the Community College of Baltimore and then the New Community College of Baltimore is now Baltimore City Community College. The Red Devils also have a new look on the floor, as coach Roger Dickens is rebuilding after going 21-6 last year. The lone returnee is sophomore guard Arthur Fitzhugh, but Curtis Sheppard, a Lake Clifton grad who played at Garrett last year, transferred home.

All of Baltimore City's games this season will be played at the University of Baltimore.

Hopkins coaching milestones

When Johns Hopkins beat Western Maryland Monday, the Blue Jays improved to 4-0 overall and gave coach Bill Nelson his 98th victory in seven seasons. A season-opening defeat of St. Mary's was the 200th career coaching win for Nelson, who

began at Rochester Institute of Technology in 1980.

Nancy Blank, the Hopkins women's coach, has 198 career coaching victories. In seven years at Hopkins, she's 76-62.

Besides Hopkins, Frostburg State is the only unbeaten among the state's Division III men's teams, as the Bobcats' 5-0 record includes victories over Washington and Goucher, the latter in double overtime.

The Salisbury State women are 3-0, thanks in part to the play of new point guard Shavella Watkins, who went to Poly and Catonsville Community College.

Peay keeps kicking for Virginia

Clint Peay, a sophomore defender out of Oakland Mills High, is one of four players who have started every game for Virginia, which is two wins away from defending its NCAA soccer championship. The Cavaliers play Duke and host Davidson plays San Diego in Final Four matchups tomorrow that have been sold out since August.

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