Perry Hall boys again loaded Dulaney is among girls powers

March 28, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to the Sun

No one has to remind Jerry Martin how fortunate he is to coach track at Perry Hall High School.

The Gators' long-time mentor knows well that the success of the program relies heavily on the attitude of the athletes, and he needs little prompting to sing their praises.

"The whole thing is attitude, and the kids in this building have a great attitude about track and athletics in general," said Martin.

That's been quite evident over the coach's 20-year tenure, as Perry Hall runners have won eight outdoor country championships, helping their school gain a reputation as a local track and field powerhouse.

And after 105 kids showed up for spring tryouts earlier this month, it's likely the tradition will continue.

"You have to want to work, and when you have 105 kids who want to work, it definitely pays off come counties and states," said Martin.

The boys team trains 71 athletes, or more than three times as many as most of its county opponents.

With quality and depth -- especially in the distance and field events -- the Gators, who finished 10th in outdoor track in the state championships last season, again should once lead the pack.

Marilyn Bevans, the distance coach, features a quartet of strong performers in junior Joe Leilich, second in the Class 4A indoor mile; senior Frank Trimble, fourth in 2 miles at the same meet; and up-and-comers Ryan Allessi and Chris Horodowicz, both sophomores.

Other strengths should be middle-distance, where seniors Pedro Hernandez and Rick Herpel lead the way; hurdles and jumps, led by juniors Mike Pucci and Jason Johnson and senior Brett Lurz; and especially the field events of shot put, discus and pole vault.

Gone is The Baltimore Sun's 1993 Boys Track Performer of the Year Charles Adams, but in his place are three solid throwers on the verge of breaking through in senior Paul Cardon, junior Jason Wancowicz and sophomore Chaz DeGalleford.

The team also will score heavily in the pole vault, where juniors Dave Russell, Jeff Newman and Bill Mockabee finished one-two-three in the county indoor meet.

With standout Jim Banach -- third in the state last spring in the 100-yard -- -- recovering from a pulled hamstring incurred during the indoor season, freshmen Duane Joseph and Jerry Merriwether will be counted on to lead the way.

Not that Martin is complaining. If the young runners perform up to their capabilities, the Gators are sure to challenge for the state title.

Said Catonsville coach Bill Mouser: "They just have so much depth. Even when they don't win races, they still pile up the points in fourth, fifth and sixth place. They'll be really tough to beat."

Challenging will be a group of young teams, including Woodlawn, Randallstown, Catonsville, Dulaney and Milford Mill. All have quality athletes, but none can match Perry Hall's numbers.

Woodlawn should pose the biggest threat.

The Warriors feature a strong group of sprinters, led by seniors Al Darby and Karmann Henderson and juniors Troy Thomas and Anthony Reid. Senior Quinn Pack should excel in the 800 and jumping events.

But while coach Gerald Russell has worked to extend the range of most of his runners, distance events again will hurt the Warriors.

Randallstown will be led by a talented core of sprinters and middle- distance runners. Junior Stanley Shields finished fifth in the state indoor hurdles and seventh in the 55, sophomore Carl Epps took third in the region in the 300 and junior John Davis has proven to be a force in the 500.

Other top performers should include Woodlawn transfer Willie Smith, a standout in the high jump, and sophomore Troy Lewis, who won the county open cross country championship as a freshman before turning to basketball.

The story is much the same for Dulaney, where first-year coach John Britt has the quality, but lacks the quantity.

Shot and discus thrower Ian Vair leads the way after winning the county championship in the shot put and finishing sixth in the states this winter. Seniors Steve Iwanowski (high jump, 400) and Billy Ford (hurdles) also will be key.

At Catonsville, distance runners Jamie Davies and John Jahnigen are the best one-two punch in the county.

Davies, a senior, has a good shot at state championships in the mile, where he'll be trying to break 4:20, and 2 miles, where 9:30 is an attainable goal.

But while most opposing runners focus on Davies, Jahnigen isn't far behind. Mouser says his times are similar to Davies' at similar points in their careers, and that the junior may have even more foot speed. He will be trying to break 10 minutes in the 2 miles.

Also helping the Comets' cause will be quarter-milers Andy Deal, a freshman who runs it in 57 seconds, and Asim McKiver, a junior who does it in 55.

Also expect Towson -- led by 2-miler Ryan Haden, thrower Dave Edmunds and the 3,200 relay team -- and Milford Mill, with its core of talented sprinters, to finish among the county's elite.

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