Perry Hall boys ready to go distance to send coach Martin out on top Gators favorite to win fifth straight county title

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March 30, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

When Jerry Martin took over the track and field program at Perry Hall in 1974, he knowingly inherited a boys team that failed to score a single point in the previous year's county championship meet.

Twenty-four years later, Martin has turned Perry Hall's program into a force to be reckoned with at the county, region and state levels. During his tenure, Perry Hall's boys team has won 10 county titles, including the last four in a row.

Martin will relinquish his duties as track and field coach at the conclusion of the 1997 season for "personal reasons" but not before the Gators attempt to capture their fifth straight county crown.

Martin's charges sent their mentor out on top during his final season as indoor track coach and with Omar Knight and Co. back this spring, the Gators' boys team is a virtual shoe-in to win the county meet.

"If the sprint and jump contingent holds up, we could exceed last year's finish," said Martin, who led Dundalk High's boys team to three county championships before moving to Perry Hall. "We look forward to being a very good team."

Knight, the area's premier middle-distance runner, is the primary reason Martin is so optimistic. Last winter, he captured county, region and state titles in the 1,600 and was region champion in the high jump after clearing a personal best 6 feet 4 inches.

He finally got the attention of college recruiters at the Mobil Invitational where he ran the 800 in 1 minute, 55.68 seconds -- just 1.4 seconds out of first. Since then, he's been approached by coaches from Ohio State, Connecticut, Howard and Hampton University.

In addition to Knight, the Gators boast a number of capable scorers including Eddie Mackell (sprints), John Foley (throws), Josh List (pole vault), James Montgomery (hurdles and jumps) and middle-distance runners Cory and Cody Green, Dan Jost, Matt Hester and Kirk Bouffard.

Perry Hall's girls team, which is coached by Marilyn Bevans, is built around Alisha McClinton, who spent the winter months playing forward for the Gators girls basketball team.

Last spring, McClinton was named to the All-Metro track and field team after emerging as county, region and state champion in the long jump. She'll also defend her county and region titles in both the 100 and 200 dashes.

Aubrey and Elizabeth Redmon will run the hurdles for the Gators and Natalie Gassman will represent Perry Hall's girls in the shot put and discus.

Rounding out the squad are sprinter Kristen Redmond and Sharon Gill, pole vaulter Lisa Pann and Lacy Chanoski in the middle distances.

Even with the high-scoring McClinton in its lineup, Perry Hall's female contingent will have difficulty unseeding Dulaney's deep and talented squad. The Lions are loaded with distance runners, including four-time All-Metro cross country runner Meghan White, Suzanne Sclafani, Marjorie Bollinger, Holly Zahner and Bianca Jay.

White's nemesis in the county, Parkville's Jen Geroux, returns for the Knights after winning county and state titles indoors in the 3,200 run and Catonsville seniors Brigid O'Connell and Eden Rellihan will put the finishing touches on their brilliant high school careers this spring.

Patapsco coach Jim McCoach agreed to take over the first-year program after Kim Saab agreed to let McCoach groom her for the 400. Saab transferred to Patapsco from New Jersey and introduced herself to the county by winning three events -- the 55-meter dash, 55 hurdles and 300 -- at the Baltimore County Indoor Championships.

"We didn't have a team here and Kim came along and now we're picking up kids on a daily basis," said McCoach, longtime cross country coach at Calvert Hall. "We've gone from nothing to almost 40 kids. I feel like I've died and gone to heaven here."

The only thing standing in the way of Kate Macfarlane's second state pole vaulting title is her school's graduation ceremony, which falls on the same day as the state meet. Macfarlane, a three-time All-Metro soccer goalie who is headed to Rutgers on a scholarship, set a metro-area best and state record in the pole vault at the Class 1A-2A state meet after clearing 9 feet, 6 inches.

Sophomore Lindsay Clarke, state finalist in the 100 hurdles last spring, is another Hereford athlete with her eyes set on a state gold medal.

Randallstown junior Jeff McKelvin, a transfer from North Carolina, is coming off an indoor season in which he swept both the high jump and the 55 hurdles at counties, regions and states. Outdoors, McKelvin will compete in the hurdles, high jump and triple jump.

"If the kids continue to work, we could be in the thick of things at the end," said Rams coach Mike Gelman.

Another countian who could make some noise come the state meet is Western Tech senior Marcus Lynch. Lynch, who became the school's all-time leading rusher and scorer in football last fall after racking up 3,078 yards and 34 touchdowns over two seasons, capped his final indoor season by winning gold medals in the 55 and 300 dashes at the Class 1A-2A state championships.

Milford Mill's boys team, which won the Class 2A-3A indoor state title with a four-member team this winter, will try and pull it off outdoors with mainstays Derek Anderson, Derrick Stanfield, James Dixon and Sean Galloway.

Woodlawn junior Catrice Jefferson, who caught the flu this winter and missed qualifying for states in the 500, is anxious to show what she can do at the state level, as is Dundalk senior Donta Dotson, a gifted sprinter.

Pub Date: 3/30/97

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