Rivals Barnes and Roe will duel at county meet

May 09, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

The race is on and here comes Haven Barnes and Kenny Roe virtually neck and neck in a season-long duel for sprinter and middle-distance supremacy in Carroll County.

South Carroll's Barnes has beaten Westminster's Roe four of four times in the 400-meter run and two of three times in the 100-meter --. They have never gone head-to-head in the 200.

But there is a catch to this track rivalry that has pumped new interest into the sport in the county.

Roe has slightly better times this season than Barnes in all three events. Roe's problem is that those personal bests have never come against Barnes.

In the 100-meter, Roe has a best time of 11.1 seconds, Barnes 11.3.

In the 200, Roe has been clocked in 22.9, to 23.1 for Barnes.

In the 400, it's Roe again by the slightest of slight margins -- 50.22 to 50.24 seconds.

When times get down to .02 seconds in high school, that is almost too close to call.

All of which clouds the picture a lot and has left Barnes wondering what is going on.

He was nowhere near Carlisle (Pa.) High School last Saturday when Roe's 400 time of 50.22 was turned in, and he wasn't at Westminster High on April 19 when Roe's top 100 and 200 times were recorded during a tri-meet with North Carroll and Thomas ** Johnson.

"If they [Westminster] are trying to discourage me by turning in those times. It isn't working," said Barnes. "It's having the opposite effect on me and pumping me up more. I'm just going to go out and beat those top times."

Westminster boys track coach Jim Shank insisted he wasn't trying to play with Barnes' mind or stir up any major rivalry between the two runners.

"I'm a stickler for turning in the correct times," said Shank. "If anything, Kenny's top 400 time might be slower than he actually ran at Carlisle because we used auto time instead of hand-held, and auto time has been proven to read .28 seconds slower than hand-held time. So if you want to look at it that way, Kenny's top time could be figured out to 49.94."

However, last Thursday at Thomas Johnson in the Central Maryland Conference track and field championships, Barnes outran Roe for the fourth straight time this season in the 400.

Barnes, a senior, ran 50.6 seconds to 51.9 for Roe, also a senior.

In the 100-meter event in the CMCs, Roe scored his first victory of the season over Barnes, winning in 11.2 to Barnes' 11.5.

But the overall 6-1 edge for Barnes in the 100 and 400 is impressive.

"The season isn't over yet," said Shank. "Kenny is just learning to run the 400. He's only run the 400 seven times and he's been too cautious with his starts. He goes out too slow and that hurts. Haven was running the 400 all last season."

The next confrontation between the two runners comes Friday at the Carroll County championship at Western Maryland College.

"Kenny would love to beat Haven Friday," said Shank. "But I don't believe there's any animosity or jealously on Kenny's part. Sure, Haven has pushed Kenny to be better. Any time you have good competition that happens."

South Carroll coach Rob Pennington said that Barnes began to dedicate himself to the 400 the middle of last season.

"But he's splitting his practice times between the sprint and middle distance this season," said Pennington.

"I've asked him to go back to middle distance workouts in hopes of getting under 50 seconds. He's going to need to be under 50 to make the top-three places in the states," said the coach.

Barnes said his goal is to go unbeaten in the 400 into the states.

"I know once I get to the states, I might have to settle for the top three," said Barnes. "But I can always dream about winning it. Coach Pennington believes I still have a peak left in me."

Certainly, Barnes has learned to appreciate the difficulty in running the 400 as opposed to the 100.

"The 400 separates the men from the boys," he said. "It requires some tactics, whereas the 100 is just speed."

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