Gilman, said coach John Foreman Sr., has an excellent combination of sprinters and distance runners, highlighted by Dyson Dryden (300 hurdles, 400), Shawn Moulden (110 hurdles) and junior Terrance Whitehead, who already has clocked below 52 seconds in the 400.
Tom Stevens, George Bialfield and Gerald Parham add depth for Gilman in the shot put and discus.
"We have a nucleus of about 15 or 20 kids," said Foreman, factoring in distance runners David Chalmers and Ted Wasserman.
Foreman's son, Johnny Jr., is an excellent triple jumper for Mount St. Joseph, with consistent efforts nearing 42 feet. Eddie Pailen (hurdles), Da-Vaughn Mellerson (shot/discus) and Jevon Norris (sprints) are other headliners for the Gaels.
Curley will rely on hurdler J.R. Calvert, pole vaulter Brian Strumpke and Tom Kratz (shot put, discus).
Western coach Jerry Molyneaux, the 1993 Baltimore Sun Girls Coach of the Year, has a stronger team than last year's, which won 12 of 17 events in the city championships.
Lake Clifton has sophomore Lethia Boyd, last year's long jump champion, and Northern returns the bulk of its 800 relay champion with Nneka Green, April Allen and Janel Stewart.
Besides them, however, it is doubtful that any city team can challenge Western.
"My goal is always to improve on our times, and we're running faster this year than at this point last year," said Molyneaux. "I would assume that we will be faster by the time the states come around than we are now. I would like to place highly."
The Doves, third in their region behind Dulaney and Woodlawn, return Tamara Laing, The Baltimore Sun's Female Performer of the Year for the city, and All-City athletes Crystal Johnson (high jump champ), Gabriel Butler (100 and 300 hurdles champ) and Tamara Clark (800 champ).
The Doves also return nearly every member of all three city-champion relay teams, with Laing, Johnson and Lenaya DeShields in the 400, Laing, Clark, Butler and Steely Spencer in the 1,600, and Clark, Christina Alemu, Tamika Blanks and Samaree Taru in the 3,200.
The 3,200 squad also placed second in the regionals and states, pacing the Doves to ninth overall in the state meet.