With this year's indoor track season reduced to a handful of meets, Oakland Mills coach Sam Singleton predicted there would be a tossup for the team titles at yesterday's Howard County Track and Field Championships at the Fifth Regiment Armory.
"None of these teams could practice for 11 days because of the snow, so it will be interesting," Singleton said before the meet. "It's going to be survival of the fittest."
It was, and in the end it was Singleton's boys team and Glenelg's girls that were still standing, thanks in part to disqualifications in both the boys and girls 800-meter relays.
Powered by double champions Steve Petro and Kyle Walker, Oakland Mills held off defending county champion Atholton, 117-109, for the boys title, its third in the past four years.
"We've been busting our butts to get ready for this meet the last couple of days and the kids ran super," Singleton said. "Our key athletes came through big time. We take a lot of pride in winning this and we won it the two years prior to last year, so we feel as though we ought to win it every year."
Glenelg's girls, anchored by sophomore Beth Santilli, outlasted defending county champ Howard, 92-82, to reclaim the title it won in 1992.
Atholton harrier Dana Strickland held off Santilli in the girls 1,600, but Santilli collected a gold medal in the 3,200. Her victory, coupled with a third-place finish by teammate Carolyn Flowers and a 2-3 finish from freshmen Kristen Smith and Christa Vent in the high jump enabled the Gladiators to pull to within 72-62 of Howard with two events left.
Pat Tvarkunas of Glenelg, the metro area's leading pole vaulter this season at 14 feet, 7 inches, only needed to clear 12-7 to become county champion.
The Scorpions did what Singleton expected them to by finishing 1-2-3 in the boys shot put. Brian Howard won the event for Oakland Mills with a toss of 50-2 1/2 , followed by Kevin Rondon (48-11 1/2 ) and Andrew Long (45-5 1/2 ).
Petro gave the Scorpions a boost by edging runner-up Faisal Hasan of Wilde Lake in both the 1,600 and 3,200.
Walker's victories in the 55 dash and hurdles and a third-place from Howard in the dash put Oakland Mills ahead by six points with three events remaining.
"I just decided that I was tired of losing in the last 150 meters," said Petro, who had lost to Hasan in the 1600 twice this season.
Howard's girls picked up 18 points in the 300 run alone. Donna Mullings, Colleen Parker and Tamika Howard finished first, third and fifth, respectively, for the Lions.