Even though Old Mill has swept the county and region titles the past six years, Meade coach Hayes Henderson refuses to place the Patriots on a pedestal.
"The only thing that makes Old Mill different from the rest of us," said Henderson, "is that they are a bigger school and they get more people out."
Depth does play a major role in the success of a track and field program and the Patriots seem to have mastered the numbers game. Old Mill's girls team enters the 1996 season seeking its 16th straight county title and 11th straight region crown. The Patriots' boys contingent, which last lost the county championship to Meade in 1989, is going for its seventh consecutive county and region titles.
"We're young, but we'll be competitive," said Old Mill coach Ron Evans. "We can cover all the events if we stay healthy. We have great senior leadership."
Isaac Beard, Balvin Brown, Randy Copeland, Paul Jackson, Shawn Marshall, Richard Queen, Jon Mikeska, Adam Trzybinski and Anthony Washington are expected to lead Old Mill's boys while Tynisha Armstead, Cathy Porter, Renita Collins, Sarah Meehan, Katie Mack, Beth Walker, Natalie Phelps and Karen McCall should supply the bulk of the scoring for the Patriots' girls squad.
North County's boys team has several talented sprinters, including Toney Fowlkes, Kiki Ellis and Danny Zavorka. James ++ Rabbitt, the indoor state champ in the pole vault, returns for the Knights and will try to prove that his state title was no fluke.
Jessica Pratt and Sarah Zaruba will run sprints for the Knight girls, and Amy Jacobs and Tracey Harriott will run hurdles.
"On the boys side, it's a three-team race with us, Old Mill and Meade," said Knights coach Ed Harte. "We have some talent but all the pieces have to fit together."
Arundel's girls team boasts one of the most talented distance runners in the nation in Christy Nichols. Nichols, who recently won the 3,200-meter run in the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in Boston, will represent the Wildcats in the distance events along with teammates Jen Ng, Stephanie Rahorn, Heather Bartsch and Jessica Palatka
Dawn Belt, Camiliah Brown, Jennifer Tisdale and Alicia Watkins will run sprints for Arundel and Jen Peppers will handle the hurdles.
Chad Webber, a distance runner, will anchor Arundel's boys team along with Robert Chambers, Charles Durand, Brian Schroeder, Orande Scott, Nicholas Coffett and David Lima.
Damion Moss, the defending Class 4A state champ in the long jump, returns for Meade along with Malcolm Vaughn, Malwan Johnson, Dane Jackson, Robert Porter, Eli Thurman and Willie Thomas.
Michelle June, who won county, region and state titles in the high jump during the indoor season, is back for the Mustangs and is expected to contribute along with Shemeka Eldridge, Dana Crawford and Mia Diggs.
Broadneck coach Jerry Kiple believes his boys team has enough talent left over to defend its Class 3A state and region titles. Senior Dushun Nick is back from last year's state champion 400 and 800 relay teams and will lead the Bruins in the sprints. Ryan Schmidt will take care of the distance events for Broadneck and Tim Dugan and Julian Tai will run the middle distances.
"Everyone is counting us out because of what we lost but I have all the faith in the world in them," said Kiple.
Amanda Schmidt, Carolyn Kosicki, Sarah Haines, Meredith Alig and Katie Crawford will run the distance events for Broadneck's girls team and Stacy Brock, Sarah Holt and Melissa Bragg will cover sprints and hurdles.
Syreea McRae, the county champ indoors in the 55 dash, will lead Glen Burnie's girls team along with Kristy Klima (distance), Jamie Falcone (sprints), Katie Sloan (distance) and Susan Sperbuto (shot put).
The Gophers boys team is small, but should be well-represented by York Malloy in the sprints, Louis Martinez and Jeremy Emerson in the hurdles and Steve Livingston in distance events.
Annapolis' girls team is out to prove that it is still one of the top teams in the county. Alison Ross and Misha Bilyeu are both talented distance runners and Dina Brown and Kalyea Barnes have shown promise for the Panthers in the long sprints.
Annapolis' boys team will try to improve on last year fifth-place county finish. For that to happen, the Panthers are going to need production from long sprinters Mike Parker, Albert Creek and Toure Nelson.
Severna Park's boys team has a number of talented half-milers, including Amiel Morris, Jamie Maitland and Shaun Hunt. The Falcons also have the county's two-mile champ indoors in Paul Mathieu and the region indoor champ in the 1,600 in Chris Robey.
The Falcons girls team will rely on its crew of distance runners, which includes Kim Schwan, Erica Krajnik, Kelly Hepburn, Erin Nolan, Katrina Lee and Ann Krespo.
South River's team is small on the boys and girls sides but the Seahawks have one of the county's top pole vaulters in Jason Berger.
Numbers are also down at Northeast, Chesapeake and Southern.
Mark Gaskins and Laura Sigman are Northeast's hottest prospects while Ryan Frommelt, Stephanie Stevens and Michelle Horn are most likely to succeed for Chesapeake.
Southern coach Brian Brown said he is still surveying the hallways for talent but until he finds someone else he will be counting on Joe Tompkins, Ian Harvey, Demond Mullen, Tiffany Neal and Katie Gott.
Pub Date: 3/24/96