El Sawi vaults to record heights

April 15, 1994|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Special to The Sun

On a day when the sunny, spring weather matched the easy-going spirit of Atholton's Raider Relays, Atholton senior pole vaulter Omar El Sawi garnered the top highlight by setting a meet and personal-best record of 14 feet, 2 inches.

El Sawi, who had an indoor best of 14-1 and qualified for the indoor national championships at Syracuse (N.Y.) University, surpassed 14-2 with little difficulty. With the bar moved up to 14-4, the Raider record-holder missed in his last three attempts.

"There was a little bit of a side wind blowing from left to right, but the weather conditions otherwise were ideal," El Sawi said. "It was different just competing against my teammates, so I pumped myself up by going for heights in order to attract college dollars [scholarships]. Every inch really counts."

Atholton freshman Mike Eshoo (7-6) placed second in an all-Raider pole-vaulting field.

Atholton played host to county rivals Howard, Wilde Lake and Hammond in the nonscoring competition.

Atholton junior Adrian Valdez paced the Raiders to first-place finishes in the shot put and discus. Valdez, along with teammates Kevin Gottsman and Brian Burns, combined for a shot-put distance of 114-1 1/4 to best second-place Wilde Lake by nearly four feet.

In the discus, Valdez surprised even Atholton coach Pat Saunderson with a toss of 117-6 as the Raiders amassed a total distance of 321.6 feet.

Other field champions included Atholton in the long jump, with senior Ed Chang's leap of 18-1 taking first, and the Raiders in the high jump (5-2 best, 15-2 total) and triple jump (34-3 best, 96-4 1/2 total).

The Wilde Lake boys dominated the track relays, winning the sprint event (100-300-200-400) and distance (1,600-400-800-1,200) with sophomore Faisal Hasan, senior Mike Prout and senior Ed Ashley leading the way.

Atholton's 1,600 boys relay team (3 minutes, 39 seconds) earned a first-place finish, besting the Raiders B team by 13 seconds with Hammond third (4:00).

In the girls relay events, yesterday's meet was highlighted by Hammond senior Kisha Jett and Atholton sophomore Dana Strickland.

After spending a season on basketball court, Strickland is getting back in her top long-distance running shape. The Raider sophomore paced her teammates to triumphs in the 3,200 relay, the distance relay and the mixed relay (800-300-200-400).

Jett, who just returned to the track after taking three weeks off from grueling workouts after competing in the indoor national championships at Syracuse last month, helped lead the Bears to a first-places finish in the sprint relay and sprint relay hurdles as well as a second-place mark in the mixed relay.

Hammond also captured the 400 relay as juniors Monica Stevens and Tiffany Murray teamed with freshman Michelle Webb and sophomore Sonia Bows for a time of 54:34, nearly 50 seconds ahead of second-place Atholton.

"I was pleased with the younger girls' times, which have really improved since Tuesday," said Hammond coach Joe Russo. "Maybe it has something to do with the warmer weather.

"As for Kisha, she took three weeks off after going to nationals to mentally prepare for the outdoor season. It's easy for her to let the season drag, for her to catch a little senioritis by looking forward to college, so the time off was good for her."

In the girls field competition, Atholton sophomore Janine Dauberman led the first-place Raiders in the long jump with a leap of 14-7. Hammond, led by senior Traci Baumgarner's toss of 29-3 1/4 , won the shot put. The Raiders, however, bested Hammond in the discus by more than 30 feet.

Hammond senior Melanie White and junior Tiffany Murray each cleared 4-6 in the high jump to lead the Golden Bears past Wilde Lake's Anna Adler (4-0). In the triple jump, three Raiders surpassed the mark of 24-5 with Dauberman posting a top score of 31-1.

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