Lomax aims to rack up track titles N. County star sets high standards

January 21, 1993|By Tom Worgo | Tom Worgo,Contributing Writer

When Sam Lomax saw Adrienne McCray's picture hanging on the wall in North County High's Hall of Fame a year ago, he asked coach Ed Harte what he would have to do to have his picture mounted there, too.

Harte replied: become a state champion. Lomax then made it his goal.

Two months later, Lomax became state champion in the 800 meters for indoor track and had his picture hung besides McCray's. And in May, Lomax became the 400-meter state champion for track and field.

The senior is trying to follow in the footsteps of McCray -- a three-time state track champion, the 1992 Anne Arundel County Sun Track Athlete of The Year and the fifth-ranked hurdler in the country last year.

"I always looked up to her because of all the things she did in high school," Lomax said. "I look at her as a role model."

In national competition last March, Lomax, 19, finished seventh of 32 runners in the 800 at the National High School Championships in Syracuse, N.Y. This spring, Lomax wants to compete in the nationals again and plans to top last season's achievement.

"If I reach my peak, I can really do something," Lomax said. "I think I can make the top five in the 400 and 800."

This season, Lomax's performances rank among the best in the metro area. At the Hagerstown Junior College Holiday Invitational last month, Lomax posted a winning 2:01.8 in the 800. No other competitor from the metro area has run below 2:05 this season. He also won the 400 in Hagerstown, posting a 50.8, another metro-area best.

In a county meet at the Baltimore Armory on Jan. 7, the Glen Burnie resident won the 500 and the 800. Last month, at the armory, in another county meet, Lomax won the 300 in 37.4, good enough for the second-best time in the metro area this season.

"He's got to be one of the big-time runners in the area," Harte said. "This kid is something special. He believes in himself and thinks he

can do anything. That's the kid you want for your team, but you don't get too many like him. He's the most talented runner I have ever had, and I think he's the top runner in the county this year. He's not looking to do something statewide, but something nationally."

Teammate John Sena, who ran a leg on the metro area's fastest mile-relay team last month with Lomax in a meet, agrees with Harte.

"I think he is the best runner in the county, too," Sena said. "Some people have an extremely good week in a month of competing. But he wins every week. And he's versatile, too. He runs the 300, 500, 800, the mile relay and sometimes the 800-meter relay."

Lomax went out for cross country last August at the urging of Harte and McCray. Harte had tried to convince his star athlete to register for the fall sport before, but Lomax finally gave in when he realized it would benefit him for indoors and track and field.

"We never could get him out for

cross country," Harte said of Lomax, who garnered first-team All-County honors for cross country and finished third in the region. "He sees now that cross country helped him. He's getting a lot of attention from colleges and they are asking if he runs cross country. He knows when he gets to college they will throw him out there anyway."

Last season, Lomax was able to win the 800 in the states despite missing nearly two months of the season because of the flu. He wasn't even expecting to return to the lineup until outdoor track and field started.

More than a dozen Division I colleges are recruiting Lomax, including Notre Dame, North Carolina, Alabama, James Madison and Maryland.

Are the Olympics in his future? "You can't project a kid like that," Harte said. "Right now he's about there for his age group."

Said Lomax: "That's my long-term goal, and a dream for me."

ZTC

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