Gilman and Mervo have the quick steps in track St. Joe and Curley to challenge in MIAA

Western girls strong

March 29, 1996|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For Gilman track coach Johnnie Foreman, the internal struggle is mounting.

After guiding his team through one of its best seasons ever a year ago, the Greyhounds coach would like to see his team repeat as Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association meet champion.

On the other hand, as chairman of the MIAA track committee, he can't help but be excited about what looks to be the most competitive league race in years.

"The competition is just so fierce this year," said Foreman. "When one team dominates, it's not that much fun for everyone else. The way things look, I think this is going to be a very fun year for a lot of people."

At least five teams could make a run at the MIAA title, including defending champion Gilman, Mount St. Joseph, McDonogh, Calvert Hall and Archbishop Curley.

Though losing a handful of its best sprinters, Gilman will use its strong corps of distance runners and field performers to make another run at the title.

Seniors Teddy Wasserman and Reid Townsend and junior David Carter Chalmers will compete in everything from the 800 to the 3200, while senior Darron Hines will concentrate on the 800. High jumper Pat Rungee, who has cleared 6 feet 4 inches, also will try to improve on his second-place league finish last year.

Mount St. Joseph coach Gene Constantine says his team also should contend for the title. The Gaels had their largest turnout in years, and are strong in several areas.

Sophomore sprinters Greg Jones (second in both the 100 and 200 last year) and Stanley Anderson (third in the same events) lead the way along with senior Da'Vaughn Mellerson (the defending MIAA shot and discus champ).

Archbishop Curley has quality performers in every event except for the jumps. Seniors Steve Moxey (4: 26 indoor mile) and John Supsic (sixth in two miles at Eastern States meet) lead the way.

The Friars also feature three of the four members of the defending MIAA champion 4 x 200 team in sophomore Wayne Brown and seniors Shawn Russell and Chris Laws.

Despite the loss of two of their best sprinters and a top hurdler from a year ago, Mervo again looks like the team to beat among city public schools.

A pair of seniors lead the way in James Carter and Mike Curtis.

Carter, an all-Metro selection last spring and the All-City/County Performer of the Year this past indoor season, excels in the triple jump (defending state Class 4A champ), 400 (second in the nation this past winter) and sprints. He also runs anchor on two relays.

Curtis proved himself one of the top distance runners in the state this past winter by winning the 800 and 1600 at the city, region and state Class 4A Indoor Championships.

Mervo's biggest challenges are likely to come from Carver and Northern.

Carver is led by one of the best sprinting corps in the state in seniors Andre Falcon and Nikemo Arrington and juniors Bernard Williams and Jeffrey Blair.

Falcon placed third last spring in both the 100 and 200 in the Class 3A state meet, and all the runners who finished ahead of him have now graduated. Williams was injured last year, but recently cap- Stewart tured state indoor crowns in both the 55 and 300 and also excels in the long jump.

Northern excels in the middle-distance and field events, but may be a step behind Carver in the sprints.

The Vikings are led by junior Bryan Purnell (400, 800) and senior Maurice Scott (2 minutes flat in 800). Senior Joe Brown placed sixth in the long jump at last year's Class 4A meet and is also a top sprinter, and senior Alphonso Griffin is the defending city champ in the shot put and placed fifth in the state.

Poly is another possible challenger. Second in the region and sixth in Class 2A this past indoor season, the Engineers feature state indoor hurdles champ, senior Larry Scroggins, region 500 champ Anthony Okoye and state indoor hurdles medalist Robert Mercer, all seniors.

On the girls' side, Western again looks to be the front-runner, but should be challenged by Northern and Mervo. After winning the city championship this past indoor season, the Doves went on to take second in the region and sixth at the Class 4A state meet.

The Doves are led by indoor All-City/County performers Linaya DeShields and Elizabeth Johnson.

DeShields, a senior, will compete in the 100, 200 and long jump after finishing fourth in the state 55 this past winter. Johnson, a sophomore who won city, region and state titles in the indoor 800, runs the 400, 800 and 1600.

Northern has been the perennial bridesmaid to Western, and again will should present a strong challenge.

Senior Janel Stewart runs the lead-off leg for possibly the best 4 x 200 team in the city. Along with juniors Muriel Curtis, Kelly Lightsy and Natalie Brown, Stewart, two years ago the city champ in both the 100 and 200, is a great all-around athlete who recently added the shot put to her repertoire.

Junior Majeedah Neale was the city indoor high jump champ.

A real up-and-comer is Mervo. The Mustangs have more speed and more depth than last year, and could challenge the top teams. Sophomore sprinters Aramah Johnson, Samantha Johnson and Errin Purdie lead the way. Shana Johnson, a senior shot putter, has advanced to the state championships the past three years.

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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