Catonsville surprises in girls' two-miler

May 15, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

When his best half-miler went down with a knee injury recently, Catonsville coach Jeff McDaniel figured his team's chances of winning the two-mile relay at yesterday's Baltimore County track and field championships at Catonsville Community College went down right along with her.

So no one was more surprised than McDaniel when Tiana Seeney crossed the finish line a neck in front of Perry Hall to win the race, helping the Comets to a fourth-place finish in the girls competition.

Perry Hall -- which took first or second in nine events -- won the meet with 115 points, followed by Woodlawn (100) and Dulaney (93).

For McDaniel, however, winning the two-mile relay made up for an otherwise lackluster day by Catonsville standards.

Fielding a make-shift lineup that he pieced together shortly before the competition, the Comets edged Perry Hall at the wire in a near-dead heat, breaking the team's previous best time this season by 18 seconds.

And they did it all without Ann Giardina, one of the county's top half-milers, who injured her right knee playing soccer in April.

"I just kind of pieced together the team," said McDaniel, whose team won the race in 10 minutes, 6.2 seconds. "I was hoping we'd squeeze out a medal, but I never dreamed we'd win, and with that time. That was amazing."

Leadoff runner Brigid O'Connell ran the opening 800 in a blazing 2:26, about 10 seconds faster than her previous best, and Chris Saffran followed with a 2:34.

But the patchwork really showed its strength in the final two legs. First, Karina Bowie -- who had run the half-mile only once before -- turned in a 2:35 to keep the Comets in the chase. Then, Seeney, a quarter-miler who was forced to move up in distance, ran the anchor leg in 2:29, leaning at the finish line to edge Perry Hall.

"We didn't think we'd beat Perry Hall," said O'Connell, a freshman, who set the stage in the leadoff lap. "I wasn't feeling that great early, but at the 200 pole, I just really started feeling good."

For victorious Perry Hall, wins by Krissy Jost (800, 1,600), Megan Makowski (3,200) and freshman sensation Alisha McClinton (long jump, 100) were enough to propel the Gators to victory.

"We said before the meet that we'd be proud as long as everybody did their jobs," said Marilyn Bevans, one of four

co-coaches on Perry Hall's staff. "Today everybody did their job."

On the boys side, wins by Al Darby (200, 400, 800), Brian Stubbs (300 hurdles) and the 400- and 800-relay teams powered Woodlawn to a 150-122 win over Perry Hall.

For coach Gerald Russell, it came as little surprise.

"I told them at the beginning of the year that they were capable of going all the way to the states," said Russell, who expects Woodlawn to challenge Mervo and Eleanor Roosevelt for the state 4A title in two weeks at Western Maryland College.

To do that, the Warriors will have to get equally strong performances from Darby, sophomore Greg Thompson, who Russell said is improving each meet, and the multi-talented Stubbs.

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