Waters' Smith setting a fast pace

August 03, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Derrick Smith has established a blistering pace.

The 15-year-old long sprinter was the center of attention in last weekend's United States Track and Field Association Junior Nationals in Baton Rouge, La., anchoring Ed Waters' Track Club to first place in the 3,200-meter relay, and to a runner-up finish in the 1,600 relay.

The club, sponsored by the city's bureau of recreation, left last night for this weekend's Amateur Athletic Union nationals in Knoxville, Tenn.

Smith, competing in the 15-16 age group, combined with James Carter, Garfield Thompson and Brian Harold to win the 3,200 in 8 minutes and 12.6 seconds, with Mike Curtis running as an alternate in earlier heats.

Carter, Thompson, Harold and Smith ran the nation's second-fastest time in the 1,600, finishing in 3:19.6. The anchor from the Kenruh Striders of Gainesville, Fla., out-leaned Smith at the tape to win in 3:19.5.

Smith ran the second leg of the fifth-place 400 relay team that included Jevon Norris, Carter and Royston Little.

"The kid already is awesome, and he's still in the bottom of his age group because he's not going to be 16 until next year," Ed Waters' assistant coach Ron Neal said of Smith, who ran his quarter of the 1,600 in 47.6 seconds, and his split of the 3,200 in 1:55.9.

"He's already running times that are faster than any high school boy in the area."

Smith's effort came a week after he won two gold medals in the East Coast Invitationals at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. There, Smith anchored the 1600 team to victory in 3:20.1, and won the 400 -- in 48.6 seconds.

Also in the 15-16 age group,Woodlawn's All-Metro state champ and junior hurdler Sheraie Darby lost for only the second time this summer, placing fourth in the 400 hurdles in 63.64 seconds. Ronald Keene, competing in the 17-18 category, was fifth in the triple jump (48 feet, 7 inches).

Wrestlers pinned

Local wrestlers who competed for Team Maryland in last weekend's Asics Tiger Junior Nationals came up empty after none of its members placed in the freestyle portion.

The event, billed as the largest high school-age tournament in the world, featured more than 1,800 entrants, approximately 20 mats and about 140 wrestlers per weight class.

Last year, Maryland emerged with two All-Americans, including Owings Mills' three-time state champ, Grant Johnson, The Baltimore Sun's 1992-93 All-Metro Wrestler of the Year.

This year, however, Johnson -- a two-time All-American -- posted only a 3-2 record at 171 pounds, falling short of All-America status by two matches. Woodlawn's senior state champ, Darrell Mance, went 2-2 as a heavyweight. Milford Mill senior state champ Gary Harris (114.5) and Douglass graduate Kwabena Bohannon each went 1-2, and Owings Mills' three-time state champ, Greg Kessler, went winless.

Johnson first lost, 10-8, to a wrestler from Iowa before later running into Oklahoma's Mark Smith, younger brother of Olympic gold medalist and Oklahoma State coach John Smith, and NCAA champ Pat Smith, also at Oklahoma State.

Johnson, a three-time All-Metro, couldn't be reached yesterday.

"It was my first major event, and seeing all those mats on the floorwas pretty tough. I saw a lot of guys get beat who were good. There were a lot of losses that weren't expected and a lot of crying after matches," said Mance, who is Woodlawn's first state champ.

"Grant was under a lot of pressure and was complaining about his ankle throughout the tournament. In my eyes, he's still a class act," said Mance.

In what he called a "bad draw" in the first round, Kessler faced Oregon's Greco-Roman national champ, Oscar Wood, a first-team Asics All-American at 135 pounds.

Kessler led 4-3 early, but Wood capitalized on his relative inexperience in freestyle, scoring near-fall points frequently by using body tilts in a 14-5 win.

Kessler's class was loaded with talent. Aside from Wood, there were Iowa's four-time state champ and defending high School national champ, Jeff McGinnis, Texas' national Greco-Roman runner-up, Cedric Cooper, and Illinois' Ben Gerdes, who placed second after beating both McGinnis and Wood.

"The bottom line is that you have to be more confident," said Kessler, an All-Metro who is headed for Rider College. "This shows me that I have a long way to go."

Mance pinned a state finalist from Michigan and received a bye before losing to an All-American from Ohio, 8-6, and to another All-American from Illinois, 10-3.

"I felt like I wrestled my best against the guy from Ohio, even though I lost," said Mance, who at 232 pounds is 12 pounds heavier than he was last winter.

"I was in there on my shots, but everyone was bigger than I was and they just strapped their weight on me," Mance said. "I learned an awful lot from the tournament and I feel next year I can really make some noise."

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