Chris O'Gwin, Mike McCleeney and some teamwork helped Howard win its second consecutive regional championship yesterday.
Howard took advantage of strong performances from O'Gwin and McCleeney and scored in 10 of the 13 events to repeat as the Class 3A Region II boys' champion.
On the girls' side, Catonsville also repeated as champion. The Comets edged Centennial (69), Franklin (66) and Randallstown (64).
Howard topped Centennial, 94-89, in the boys' event. Atholton took third with 62 points.
O'Gwin won the 500 (1:11.9) and 800 meters (2:05.7) and ran the anchor leg of the Lions' 3,200-meter relay team which finished second, behind Howard County rival Centennial.
McCleeney also had a busy day, winning the 55-meter hurdles (8.2) and the 55-meter -- (6.5). He ran the anchor leg on the victorious 1,600-meter relay team. The Lions edged Randallstown in that final event of the night, 3:43.4-3:49.2.
"Those two were my premier two," said Howard coach Dan Ross. "It was a team effort, though; we scored in 10 of 13 events."
Jason Stephens and Adrian Stamp also aided the Howard effort. Stephens took second in the 55-meter -- (6.8) and third in the 300-meter -- (40.3). In addition, he ran on the winning 1,600-meter relay team.
Stamp took second in the 300 in a time of 38.9. He, too, ran on the first-place 1,600-meter relay team.
2& The final score was closer than it
would have been had Howard not been disqualified for impeding a runner in the 800-meter relay.
Centennial kept it close with several strong performances.
Alex Gralia took second in the 55-meter hurdles in 9.0 seconds and added a third-place finish in the pole vault (10-6).
Teammate Bobby Van Allen finished second in the 800 meters (2:06.9), third in the 1,600-meter run (4:39.9) and ran on the victorious 3,200-meter relay.
Nate Bucks also ran on that relay as well as the 1,600-meter relay (third place). Bucks added a third-place finish in the 800 meters (2:07.1) for Centennial.
Centennial coach Al Dodds said Howard's ability in the sprints made the difference.
"They had more sprinting speed than we do," said Dodds. "We just didn't have the same strength in the sprints that Howard did."
The Centennial girls also turned in a strong performance. They had a pair of winning relay teams, the 800 and 1,600 meters that featured the same runners: Wendy Johnston, Paige Nettlebladt, Jennifer McManus and Emily Ward.
McManus scored an individual victory, taking the high jump with a leap of five feet.
The Eagles took second in the 3,200 relay. Allison Hoover, Paula Karnshak, Ha Lam and Micaela Duffy made up that team.
Kari Meyer edged Heather Tanner, 5:41.1-5:41.5, for third place in the 1,600-meter run.