Mervo boys and Poly girls appear to be the best in their fields Baltimore City track preview

April 01, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Western track coach Jerry Molyneaux and several of his athletes were incorrectly identified in the Baltimore City track preview in Thursday's editions.

Senior Michelle Burrell and juniors Dionne Smith, Renee Smith and Crystal Johnson compete for Western.

Also, Western's status as a team was reported incorrectly; the Doves are defending the city track title.

Western girls track coach Jerry Molyneaux was incorrectlidentified yesterday. He is not the coach of Poly's girls.

+ The Sun regrets the errors.

Poly's fourth-year coach Bill Hickey knows his boys will have a tough time winning a fourth Maryland Scholastic Association title against a loaded Mervo squad.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

On the other hand, Poly's girls return "95 percent" of a team that won its second straight crown, said fourth-year coach Jerry Molyneaux.

"We won 16 of the 19 events last year, and we finished second in the ones we didn't win," said Molyneaux, whose biggest challenge comes from last year's runner-up, Carver. "This is a much better team, with faster athletes."

Other than sprinter Greg Kyler, who also will compete as a jumper and hurdler, and 400 -- contender Jawhar Ray, Poly's boys have "little coming back," said Hickey, who called the Mustangs "the team to beat."

Mount St. Joseph (third in MSAs) has talent, but it remains to be seen whether the Gaels come together under first-year coach Dion Hylton, who replaced The Baltimore Sun 1992 Coach of the Year, Brother Brian Vetter.

Mervo boys coach Freddie Hendricks is eager to compete in the state association's 4A regional and state meets with several athletes up from coach Ron Taylor's MSA champion junior varsity squad.

"I think that it hurts not having the indoor season of the rest of the state teams," said Hendricks. "But in the end, I think we'll be there."

Carver boys coach Walter Cole is saying the same thing about his Bears. They include sprinters Harry Grandy, Alphonso Adams, Elmalik Roberson-El and Jonathan Myers -- each of whom has run under 11.1 seconds in the 100.

Carver, MSA C Conference cross country champ last fall, fields a strong corps of distance runners.

The Bears' Phil Goodwin was fourth in last year's 800 run, Anthony Miller is hovering around 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump, and thrower Marcius Downing -- who bench-presses 400 pounds -- has at least a 45-foot shot put and a 130-foot discus toss.

Mervo, however, has junior All-Metro Ben Braswell, last year's 100-meter champ who anchored the Mustangs' championship 400 relay team and ran the third leg of the title-winning mile relay team.

Two more members of the Mustangs' 400 relay squad return in junior Anthony Stuckey and senior Rodney Cabean, who is one of four Mervo long jumpers who can clear 21 feet. But in All-Metro champ Bilal Bahar (Forest Park), who leaped an area-best 22-8 1/2 , the Mustangs have a huge obstacle to overcome.

As competitors with Ed Waters' track club over the summer, Mervo sophomores Dante Palmer and Jason Reaves ran on a Junior Olympic national champion 400 relay squad. Reaves was also a 100 -- runner-up in a summer East Coast Invitational.

Mustangs senior high jumper Sheldon Downing, last year's MSA runner-up, already is clearing 6-5.

All-Metro MSA cross country champ Matt Beliveau (Loyola), the Baltimore City/County Runner of the Year, is coming off an infection but is tops in the distance events.

And MSA cross country team champ Calvert Hall is the front-runner in the team distance events behind the junior Martin twins, Kurt and Kyle, sophomore Jonathan Dietrich and senior Rick Stewart. Kyle Martin was third in the 3,000, and Dietrich was a record-breaking junior varsity 3,000 champ.

Gilman's Mosie Bennett and Dyson Dryden were members of the third-place mile-relay team, and sophomore Ted Lord, injured during cross country, should help in the mile and two-mile runs.

Carver's girls, last year's City-Wide runner-up to Western, don't have the numbers of the Engineers -- but that hasn't stopped Bears coach Tone Braxton from thinking big.

"Western, I feel, is overrated, and I think we have the talent and the ability to beat them," said Braxton, in his first season. "Everyone's motivated and dedicated."

Braxton returns two members from the runner-up mile-relay team in seniors Alicshia McNeil and Elizabeth Norfleet. Norfleet also was a member of the runner-up 800 relay team, and McNeil was second and third, respectively, in the long jump and the 800.

Sophomore Jemia Thomas will try to improve on her runner-up finish in the high jump, and sophomore Adrian Napper (fourth last year) will push McNeil in the 800. Senior Tyra Braham was third in the 400, as were senior Tanya Randall in the 300 hurdles and sophomore Tiffany Canty in the discus.

But depth counts heavily in track, and the Engineers have it with returning champion junior Dionne Smith (100, 200), a second-team All-Metro who was a member of the championship 400 and 800 teams.

Senior distance specialist Michelle Burrell won the 3,000 crown last year and was runner-up in the 1,500. She's even better this year after a top-10 finish in last fall's cross country regionals, where she led the Engineers to third place.

Burrell's challenge could come from Walbrook's sophomore Smith twins, Teisha and Keisha, who lost just once in cross country.

Western seniors Renee Smith (long jump) and Crystal Johnson (high jump) will try to defend their titles, as will sophomore 400 -- champ Tamara Lang. Another sophomore, Tamara Clark, was an 800 runner-up.

"We're still at a disadvantage against the state teams because ++ we start in March and they have the indoor season," said Molyneaux. "But we'll try to put up a good fight and compete well."

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