Last-chance qualifier, tuneup

January 18, 1995|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

For Omar Knight of Perry Hall, the chances were running out.

After nearly a full season of coming close to qualifying for the county championship meet but falling just short each time, the sophomore -- along with dozens of other county competitors -- gave it one more shot yesterday in the final regular-season meets for Eastern Baltimore County teams at the Fifth Regiment Armory.

For Knight, the persistance paid off.

His time of 1 minute, 14.2 seconds in the 500 made the cut by .8 seconds, as he became one of nearly a dozen athletes to make good on their final chance to qualify for the Jan. 30 meet.

Knight -- who, unlike most, would have had one more chance to qualify Friday at an open meet -- said he relishes the chance to help the Gators in their quest for another county title.

"I'd really like to win a medal and help my team win the meet," said Knight, who said an opposing runner helped push him to the win. "I had somebody in front of me for most of the way, and I passed him at the end. That's what really pushed me."

Yesterday's event -- which was actually a combination of two different meets -- was dominated by traditional Class 4A powers Perry Hall and Dulaney.

The Gators and Lions each secured first-place team points in the boys and girls meets, with the Dulaney girls and Perry Hall boys sweeping their events.

Other teams participating included Overlea, Dundalk, Eastern Tech, Hereford, Towson and Charles Hickey.

The rest of the county will have its final shot tomorrow.

For those who had made the cut, the meet was a chance to get in some practice before Saturday's NationalGuard meet.

"Really it's just like a practice," said Perry Hall junior Chris Horodowicz, who finished first in his division in the mile. "It's a chance to work on my speed."

For a young Dulaney girls team -- and first-year coach Chuck Klimek -- it was a chance to throw some caution to the wind.

"It helps us to see who can go in three or four events if we need them to do that in counties," said Klimek.

"We use this to see what kind of endurance they have."

But yet another benefit of the meet was to give some of the lesser-known athletes a piece of the spotlight.

With many coaches holding out their top runners in preparation for the bigger meets of the future, many of the other athletes, like Knight, got a chance to see how they fared against athletes of nearly the same ability.

"This gives a lot of guys the chance to compare themselves against runners who are close to their ability," said Knight. "It's a good meet for us."

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