Hearing set for Whitman on cross country appeal HIGH SCHOOLS

November 10, 1993|By Gary Davidson | Gary Davidson,Contributing Writer

Walt Whitman High will get a second chance to plead its case to participate in Saturday's Class 3A state cross country meet at a hearing tomorrow morning in Baltimore.

The Bethesda school contends its three-time state champion girls cross country team should be allowed to compete in the meet at Hereford High because of a scheduling mix-up at the regional race last week.

Ned Sparks, executive secretary of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association, said the 10 a.m. hearing at the Maryland State Board of Education will be closed to the public.

Whitman officials say the team's seven runners missed the start of Thursday's regional race at Watkins Mill High in Montgomery County because they were not informed of a schedule change that moved the event earlier. After hearing the starter's gun, the Vikings girls, who were warming up, ran onto the course -- more than two minutes after the start, said coach Kerry Ward -- finishing seventh in the 10-team field.

The top five schools advanced to Saturday's state meet.

Whitman's protest to a state panel of cross country coaches was turned down Sunday. Tomorrow's hearing before three county school superintendents was scheduled by state superintendent of schools Nancy Grasmick after she received a written appeal from Montgomery County superintendent Paul Vance. Vance acted at the request of Whitman principal Jerome Marco.

A decision is expected tomorrow.

"The school bylaws say specifically that there are no more appeals; their decision is final," said Sparks. "This is so unusual. This has only happened once before."

Leaders of the Whitman cross country booster club have threatened legal action if their team isn't admitted into the state championships.

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