New coach taps into Old Mill's tradition Patriots' girls, boys teams are again strong and deep

December 07, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Bill Hickey may be new to Old Mill's indoor track team but the first-year coach is very familiar with the program's success.

And eager to see that it continues.

"Our girls look real strong," said Hickey, who inherits a girls team that has won 12 straight county championships. "I think we have what it takes to win No. 13, but it's not going to be a cakewalk."

Old Mill's boys learned that lesson the hard way last season when Meade denied them their seventh straight county crown. The Patriots are anxious to get the title back but whether they have the talent or numbers to overcome Meade and upstart North County will be determined early next year inside the walls of Baltimore City's Fifth Regiment Armory.

Of Old Mill's four All-County selections last season, only junior Jackie Allen returns. Allen will try and defend her county title in the 55-meter dash and attempt to improve on her third-place state finish in the pole vault.

Nakia Johnson, an All-Metro triple jumper last spring, will run sprints along with fellow-senior Tynisha Armstead, who missed last season with an illness after emerging as region champ in the 400 as a sophomore.

Old Mill's boys lost All-County shot putters Balvin Brown and Adam Trzybinski to graduation but have a pair of proven throwers in seniors Anthony Snukis and Chris Wiley.

Here's a look at the rest of the county teams:

Annapolis

Panthers coach Mike Ballard is hoping the county's defending cross country champion, Misha Bilyeu, will still be in his lineup when the 12 county schools put it all on the line at the Fifth Regiment Armory.

Bilyeu is scheduled to move to Belgium with her military family in early January, but the date continues to get pushed back, giving Ballard hope.

"Our girls team finished second in the county last year but a lot depends on when Misha leaves," said Ballard. "If Misha leaves, there goes 20 points."

Once Bilyeu is gone, the bulk of the pressure will be placed on Anne Handel, who finished fifth in the states last year in the high jump. Any additional slack will have to be picked up by Kelly Acker (500), Robin Mincher (800), Kaye Powell (high jump), Christine Mowrey (1,600) and Kienda Simmons (sprints).

Ballard is building a sprint unit around senior captain Albert Creek and sophomore Sonny Barnes. Juniors Carlos Luceno and Andy Rogers will represent the Panthers in the dashes. Ken Houston (pole vault) and Brian Bland (hurdles) will also contribute.

Arundel

First-year coach J.P. Hines has modest goals for the Wildcats during his inaugural season.

"We should be OK," said Hines, who took the reigns from current assistant coach Ira Queen. "We're young but we'll be all right."

The Wildcats are in decent shape on the boys side with distance runners Ben Baxter and Chris Dyer and shot putters Seth Rollins and Jason Thompson all capable of picking up some big points.

Mike Brady and Kori Williams will try to establish themselves in the sprints, and Nate Malli and Adam Cohen will continue to reach for new heights in the pole vault.

Arundel's girls team should be strong in the field events, especially in the shot put where a healthy, intersquad battle exists between Meghan Shepard, Becky Carlson and freshman Meg Dentler.

Mandy Shultz, one of the Wildcats' many talented distance runners, will try her luck in the pole vault this winter. Amanda Rahorn, the Wildcats' most decorated harrier, will be joined in the distance events by teammates Mindy Thompson, Sara Sayani and Jen Tisdale.

Markisha Bennett and Dawn Belt are sprinters and are being challenged by newcomers Roxanne Hall, a transfer from Chicago, Nishira Rawls, and Abria Queen, the daughter of the assistant coach.

Broadneck

Bruins first-year coach Dana Dabbs believes his "aggressive training philosophy" will improve Broadneck's chances while competing at the county, region and state levels.

"The whole program has seen a radical change in the philosophy of the coaching staff," said Dabbs, a longtime assistant at Severna Park and former field events coach for Gallaudet University. "I'm not one of these laid-back coaches and the kids know that. They've accepted the challenge and are ready to rise to the occasion."

Mike Rolland, the defending Class 2A-3A East region champion in the 800, is back and the junior is ready to tackle the middle- and long-distance events.

Jared Nagowski and Hector Colon will handle the high jumping duties for Broadneck's boys while Walt Wagner (shot put) and Dorian Watkins (pole vault) try to make names for themselves in the field events.

Broadneck's girls team will rely heavily on distance runners Amanda Schmidt and Gretchen Oaksmith and on the legs of sprinters Erin Scheide, Sarah Haines and Sarah Holt.

"It's a dedicated, hard-working group," said Dabbs. "What more can I ask for?"

Chesapeake

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