Whitman to take run for state title through courts

November 12, 1993|By Gary Davidson | Gary Davidson,Contributing Writer

Having exhausted administrative means, the Walt Whitman High girls cross country team will ask a Montgomery County circuit court judge this afternoon for the right to run for its fourth straight Maryland Class 3A cross country crown tomorrow at Hereford High.

A panel of three county school superintendents yesterday unanimously rejected Whitman's plea for entrance into the state meet.

The Bethesda school is claiming its girls team failed to qualify for the state championship meet because of a schedule mix-up that caused it to miss the start of the West Region meet last Thursday at Watkins Mills High in Montgomery County.

Realizing the race had started, the Vikings girls, who had been warming up, joined the race two minutes behind other teams, said their coach, Kerry Ward.

Despite the handicap, the Vikings finished seventh in the 10-team field. The top five schools advanced to the state meet.

Claiming that they were not informed of a schedule change that moved their event earlier, Whitman has twice lost appeals to state panels.

"Looking at it now, [yesterday's hearing] was just a delaying tactic by an obdurate bureaucracy," said Robin Ficker, an attorney whose daughter Desiree runs on the seven-girl Whitman team. "It looks like a rubber stamp."

Ficker said he will present the case when the Whitman cross country booster club appears before Judge S. Michael Pincus today at 2 p.m.

State bylaws say yesterday's decision is final. "We accept the ruling of the panel," said Kevin Gunning, a spokesman for the Montgomery County school system. "We disagree with it, but we accept it."

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