Depth again gives Old Mill a head start toward track crowns

March 31, 1993|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Talent, depth and a strong winning tradition are three barriers county teams must overcome this spring if they are to put an end to the reign of track and field giant Old Mill.

Rebuilding isn't in Old Mill's vocabulary. The Patriots simply reload.

Old Mill's boys team has its sights on its fifth consecutive county and region titles, while the Patriots girls team takes aim at a 13th straight county championship and seventh region crown.

"If you have enough milk, the cream will eventually come to the top," said Patriots coach Ron Evans. "Our big thing is we can cover all the events, and I think that's a tribute to our program because this is a tough sport and kids do quit.

"It's a fitness sport, so, as a coach, you have to keep the kids going. As soon as you relax, or as soon as you think you have the secret, the secret graduates."

Graduation took its toll on all of the county programs. The Patriots lost All-Metro hurdler Rocky McMillan and all-county triple jumper Alan Parsons on the boys side and distance runner Marisa Sanders from its state finalist girls squad.

Old Mill's girls team again appears the team to beat in the county and region meet, but the question is whether the Patriots can get past two-time state champion Eleonor Roosevelt of Prince George's County.

If they are successful, it most likely will be the result of the efforts of catalysts Michelle Smith and Raina Domneys and a cast of others, including senior Colleen Wade and sophomore Dana Dawson.

Smith, a senior, is the defending state champion in the shot put. Domneys, who holds a metro-area record in the triple jump (39 feet, 1/2 inch) will try to improve on last year's runner-up finish at the state meet.

On the boys side, senior Jamaal Dixon-Hawkins will try to do outdoors what he did indoors in winning a state title in the shot put. He also throws the discus.

Chris Yurwitz and Todd Singleton should help the Patriots in the field events. Yurwitz has done 13-3 in the pole vault and Singleton is the county champion in the high jump.

Brad Boetig and Jason Reckner will handle the distance races for Old Mill, and junior Kevin McKinney will represent the Patriots in the sprinting events.

"We have some holes in our lineup due to graduation, but we have some talent to fill those holes and it may take a little time," said Evans. "Before that time, we'll just experiment a bit. We know we have some ability."

North County coach Ed Harte says his team is "hurting in the long distances and field events and is strong in the sprints and middle distances."

The Knights lost to graduation Adrienne McCray, last year's Anne Arundel County Sun Female Athlete of the Year and first inductee into the school's hall of fame.

The Knights return two speedy sophomores, Kenda Johnson and Tamiko Mack. Johnson placed seventh in the 200 at states last season, and Mack captured indoor county and region titles in the 500 this winter.

The boys team will be led in the middle distances by senior Sam Lomax, the state champion in 400. Sophomore sprinter Topper Ellis will run the 100, 200 and 400 and will join senior John Sena in the hurdle events.

Junior Troy Fowlkes will throw the shot and run sprints. The Knights senior sprinting corps includes Teon Carter, Damon Martin, John Martin and Michael Quarles.

"We have a lot of talent. I just don't know what other teams have," said Harte, last year's county Coach of the Year. "If we can develop some distance runners and score in the field events, we should be all right. The key for us will be scoring in every event."

Severna Park coach Ed Purpura says he has not only the biggest team he has ever had, but the youngest as well.

"We have a lot of potential, and if they stick around until next year, we should be really good," said Purpura. "It's going to be a rebuilding year."

Jack Longley, Geoff Atkinson, Mark Latchaw, Chris Johnston, Ryan Krulis and Derrell Holland will anchor the boys team. Senior Kate Steiner and freshmen Beth Ann Houck and Angie Jennings are expected to set the pace for the girls.

With only 35 athletes on his team at Chesapeake, coach John Gray knows that his teams can't compete with some of the county's fully stocked programs.

That doesn't bother him, at least as long as his relay teams keep winning county, region and state titles.

"We're a half-miler school," said Gray. "We have a little bit of a sprint and little bit of distance running. We really don't have the depth here like Old Mill, which has 150 kids come out, or Severna Park with 100 kids. Nor do we have the raw speed like Meade and North County. We're a half-mile school, and we take pride in our relay teams."

The Cougars return all four boys from their 3,200 relay team, which emerged from a slow heat and seventh seed last season to win a state title at Westminster.

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