MIAA joins crowd, adding track to its winter menu Mervo, Western, Dulaney, Perry Hall teams to beat

Indoor track overview

December 15, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Slide over Mervo and Perry Hall, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association is bringing its track and field act indoors.

The MIAA's decision to upgrade indoor track from club to team status was frowned on by some private-school winter sports coaches who feared the "new sport" would dilute the athletic talent pool. But those with the stop watches, such as Gilman coach Johnnie Foreman, believe it was a right, long-overdue decision.

"If we want to be competitive with these [public school] teams during the outdoor track season, we have to run hard in the winter, like them," said Foreman. "It gives our kids an opportunity to run in a competitive environment, and it will help keep the interest of those just starting out in the sport."

Foreman's top distance runners -- David Chalmers, The Sun's cross country Runner of the Year, and Seamus Whelton, a first-team All-Metro pick -- won't be on Gilman's inaugural indoor team. Chalmers is a key member of Gilman's basketball team, and Whelton prefers diving.

Foreman would welcome the points Chalmers and Whelton could score on the indoor oval, butinsists he'd rather see them doing what they want to do.

"We're not trying to steal any other kids from any other sports," he said. "My best quarter-miler outdoors, Donald Bacoat, is a wrestler, and I told him, 'Go ahead and wrestle.' But he decided not to. He knows he isn't going to wrestle in college, and he wants to focus on his running. Finally, he has the opportunity."

The league has scheduled its inaugural championship meet for Feb. 24 at Essex Community College.

The six-team conference, which includes boys squads from Calvert Hall, Archishop Curley, Gilman, Loyola, McDonogh and Mount St. Joseph, is not eligible to compete against the public schools in their postseason meets. But the schools are bound to cross paths at one or more of the many invitationals.

A preview of the season:

Baltimore

Until some teams prove otherwise, Mervo's boys and Western's girls are the teams to beat.

Mervo: Graduation hit the Mustangs hard. Back, however, is a solid group of sprinters, including Antoine Collins, Tyree Bryon, Vaughn DeVaughn, Garfield Thompson and Craig Coombs.

"We're like a stair-stepper," said coach Freddie Hendricks "We always have kids coming up to replace those we lost."

Mervo's girls include three potential city champs in Lauren Bartee (high jump, hurdles) and sprinters Aramah Johnson and Brandy Vincent but will be hard-pressed to unseat defending city champ Western.

Western: The Doves are led by a veteran group, which includes Elizabeth Johnson, Tiffany Jackson, Cornelya Mims and Toni Jefferson. "There's no competition in the city and we should whip everybody in the region," said Doves coach Jerry Molyneaux.

Carver: The Bears boast the area's most decorated and most highly recruited sprinter in senior Bernard Williams. Williams, who has already visited the University of Tennessee, is a quadruple state champion, having won state titles in the 55 and 300 dashes indoors and the 100 and 200 outdoors. Jeffrey Blair, on the Bears' outdoor state champion 800 relay team, is back and will be pushed by newcomers Kirk Boone, Kibwe Shelton and Steve Queen.

"It's us and Mervo in the city," said Carver coach Walter Cole.

Patterson: First-year coach Rick Ardinger believes his boys are "contenders for the city championship" and adds that "we have the potential to bring back the tradition of track and field from the 1950s and '60s, when Patterson dominated." The team will rely on sophomore Joseph Keeling and the Williams brothers, Tomez and Brendon.

Quandra Faulkner, a speedy junior who Ardinger calls "an Olympic hopeful," will be in the spotlight.

Poly: Wallace Sifford isn't expecting much in team competition but is looking for big things from several individuals, including senior leader Wayne Walsh, Arnold Henry and Renardo Brisbon.

Douglass: A program short on numbers but tall on talent. The boys are led by Robert Murray (55 dash), Wayne Oliver (300) and Jay Engles (distance). Showing promise for the girls are Renaldo Owens (shot put), Veronica Street (300 dash) and Violet Murray (55 dash).

Southwestern: The girls team has two of the area's best in Yvonne Brown (distance) and Tenille Johnson (hurdles).

Southern: Distance runner Harold Whaley is one of the few bright spots on Southern's first-year boys team.

Dunbar: Rebuilding this season, coach Barbara Bryant will construct her teams around Alvin White, Deltwane O'Neal, Laketa Dyson and Jamilla Dickens.

Northern: Seniors Brian Purnell and Pete Pinnock will run the 300 and 500, and the Vikings girls team returns city high jump champ senior Majeedah Neale.

Lake Clifton: Underclassmen Mary Robertson, Zalika Collins and Angie Taylor lead the girls.

Baltimore County

Dulaney's girls and Perry Hall's boys are looking to recapture their county team titles, but several teams will be trying to play spoiler.

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