Records put Fowlkes in some fast company New marks: The North County senior broke Derrick Love's indoor records in the 300 and 500 at the county championship meet.

February 11, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Move over Derrick Love.

Toney Fowlkes is in the building.

Fowlkes, a North County senior, has done what some considered almost unthinkable.

He broke two of Love's Anne Arundel County indoor records (500 and 300-meter dashes) that were thought to be invincible by county coaches and longtime track enthusiasts.

Love, a 1989 Meade graduate, is considered by many the fastest runner ever at the high school level in the county.

Love gained near-legendary status when he broke "The Rocket" Ismail's 200-meter record in a National Scholastic Indoor meet at the Naval Academy in 1989.

Love was clocked in 21.89 seconds.

"If I can't do anything else, I can say I broke two of Derrick Love's records in one meet," said Fowlkes, who isn't used to the spotlight.

After all, he was a defensive back for the North County football team for four years.

"I guess I didn't get the 'Props I should have because I was a defensive back instead of a running back or quarterback," said Fowlkes. "A few people around school are looking at me differently now since I broke the records. But I wouldn't say I'm a bigger hero."

Fowlkes was so excited when he broke the records -- 1:08.3 in the 500 and 36.0 in the 300 -- that he telephoned home from the Fifth Regiment Armory.

L The Love records were 1:08.7 in the 500 and 36.3 in the 300.

"Some kid from the Severna Park team made me feel good that day," said Fowlkes. "He asked me what I had to eat in the morning that made me run so fast."

Even Fowlkes was slightly amazed at how fast he ran in the county indoor championship meet two weeks ago.

"I didn't know I was moving that fast," he said. "I hadn't even practiced that week because of all the snow. I just went into the meet and did the best I could do. I had no feeling about anything special happening that day."

After establishing the two records, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound sprinter went back later to anchor North County's winning 800 and 1,600 relay teams.

The Fowlkes show in the 1,600relay was spectacular.

He came from 50 yards back to cross the finish line first with a 50.4 split for the final 400 meters.

As he walked off the track after winning the 1,600 relay, Fowlkes said: "That is the fastest I've ever run in my life indoors."

North County indoor and outdoor track coach Ed Harte called the Fowlkes effort that day "one of the best performances ever in the county, indoors or outdoors."

According to Harte, Fowlkes broke Love's records even though he was at a disadvantage.

"The turns are very sharp at the Fifth Regiment Armory and it's more advantageous to be short like Love [5 feet 9] than tall and lean like Toney," said Harte, who saw Fowlkes win the boys 300 in a personal-best 35.8 at Thursday's 4A regional meet.

The University of Florida and University of South Carolina are interested in Fowlkes to run track and play football.

North County football coach Chuck Markiewicz said he believes Fowlkes has the potential to play football at either school.

"He has some things to learn but his potential as a football player is unlimited," said Markiewicz. "He can work in the weight room and get a little bigger. You have to love his speed [once clocked at 4.39 in the 40]."

Fowlkes was a first-team All-Anne Arundel County pick as a defensive back by The Sun his senior year and a second-team All-Metro choice.

But Fowlkes is anxious to try both sports.

"I enjoy football and track and think I could handle it," he said. "Choosing a college will be a tough decision. I'll wait until I get all the offers and then decide."

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