Indoor work gets results for Mervo

April 09, 1995|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

Despite his team's limited success this past winter, Mervo coach Freddie Hendricks always maintained that the Mustangs' inaugural season of indoor track would pay big dividends down the road.

Yesterday, he found out just how big.

Facing a talented 13-team field at the 20th Gilman Invitational Relays, Mervo took first place in eight events, setting two meet records en route to a 15-point win.

"I can see there's a big difference [from last year]," said Hendricks, whose team won its second straight meet title. "The times we're running now are better than our times last season. And in the past, most of our guys could run two races before they were finished. Today, they could run three."

Mervo won the meet with 83 points, Perry Hall was second with 68, Gilman third (59), Mount St. Joseph fourth (51) and Parkville ,, fifth (27).

Perry Hall competed without its top sprinter, Jim Banach, and top miler, Joe Leilich, both expected to be out for the season with knee injuries, said coach Jerry Martin.

But that didn't dampen Mervo's enthusiasm about winning the meet. Runners credited their fast times yesterday to the winter work.

"[The indoor season] paid off today," said Royston Lyttle, who ran legs in the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relays. "I ran the 200 indoors, and that built me up for the mile [1,600] relay. It's helping all of us to run faster times than last year."

A prime example, Lyttle said, is in the 1,600, where last week he ran his leg in 49 seconds. Last year, he didn't run that fast until a month later.

Lyttle combined with James Carter, Garfield Thompson, Antoine Collins, Donte Palmer and Tyree Byron to form the meat of a relay rotation that scored victories in the distance medley (in a meet record 10:52.1), and the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

The extra training also paid off in the field events, where the Mustangs had expected to lose valuable team points to Perry Hall. Instead, they stayed close early with wins in the long jump and triple jump.

Perry Hall, however, had some highlights of its own, especially in the discus relay.

There, Chaz Degalleford, Jason Wancowicz and John Foley combined to throw 403 feet, 7 inches -- a meet record by more than 13 feet.

Martin said he was pleased with the overall team effort, considering the injuries.

"I thought we did about as well as we could be expected to," said Martin, whose team finished among the top three in six events.

Yet another meet record was eclipsed in the 6,400 relay, where first-place Calvert Hall and runner-up McDonogh both broke the previous mark of 18:57.7, the Cardinals by 30 seconds.

But this day belonged to Mervo. After taking third in the state last season, the Mustangs hope that their quick start is a sign of things to come.

"We're definitely better off than we were a year ago," said Hendricks. "The indoor season helped us out quite a bit."

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