Terry Vail had plenty of potential excuses as he went to the starting blocks for the 110-meter hurdles yesterday in the state track and field championships at Westminster.
The Bel Air senior was nursing a pulled hamstring muscle, a cold, and a case of laryngitis. His timing seemed to be off, too, on the springy track of Western Maryland College.
But no excuses were needed. Vail, a 195-pound ex-football player, raced over the 39-inch barriers into a light headwind to win the Class 3A race in 15.17 seconds.
The victory, his first in the state meet, climaxed a high-school career that includes five county hurdles titles. The title seemed unlikely, however, two weeks ago when he scratched from the county meet with a sore leg.
"It was the right decision [not to run then]," he said. "It hurt when I was warming up today. But I'm happy. I reached my goal."
He placed fifth in the 300 hurdles in 42.04. But the intensity of his first race was not there.
"All I could think about was Ocean City," he said. Vail, who graduated Friday night, departed for the beach right after the race.
Vail was the only Harford County winner in the three-day meet. But there were eight second-place finishes by Harford athletes.
Brian Harris took second in the 3A 1,600 in 4:24.3 after placing sixth in the 3,200 (9:55.5) on Thursday. It was the fastest 1,600 by a Harford athlete in 12 years and one of four school records set yesterday by C. Milton Wright boys.
The Mustangs' Kory McBride set a school mark of 43-5 1/2 in taking second in the triple jump. Scott Davies did likewise in the 400 with a 49.87 for third. He also placed sixth in the 800 with a personal best of 2:01.5 and ran on the Mustangs' 1,600 relay that took second in 3:26.52, missing the county record by just a half-second.
The Mustangs tied for fourth among 3A boys, the best by a Harford team.
Paced by freshman Cindy Wolf, the Fallston girls took ninth among 2A teams. Wolf ran a 2:23 anchor in the 3,200 relay to lift the team of Kelly Greer, Laurie Cicero, and Candy Credito from fifth to second place (10:08.4).
She also ran 2:23.2 for fourth in the 800 and 5:31.3 for sixth in the 1,600.
"We asked Cindy just to run 100 percent, the way she ran all season," said Fallston coach Greg Thompson. "She gave us 110 percent."
Becky Bystry scored six of Fallston's 19 points with third in the triple jump (34-1 1/2 ). In 2A boys, Fallston's Ephraim Dorsey won a silver medal with a school-record leap of 6-6 in the high jump.
Havre de Grace senior Mike Gibson placed second in the 1A long jump (20-2) and sixth in the triple jump (41-2 1/4 ). His teammate Mike Wood was third in the 100 (11.56) and fifth in the 200 (23.31).
North Harford's Steven Shaw placed second in the 2A discus with a 127-7. The Hawks' Cara Johnson tied for third in the high jump at 5-4.
Susan Kirn was sixth in the 400 in 60.03.
The Edgewood girls team of Erica Brown, Delicia Haynes, Crystal Thomas and Rebecca Lesesne placed second in the 400 relay (51.02) and fourth in the 800 relay (1:49.1).
Joppatowne's best finish came from junior Brad Hulbert, who was fourth in the 1A high jump at 6-0. Brian Grimm of Bel Air also cleared 6-0, placing fourth in 3A.