1997-98 county indoor track preview Santilli's return boosts Glenelg girls

Atholton, Wilde Lake lead boys

December 07, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

When Beth Santilli, who won four events in last year's Class 1A-2A state indoor meet, left River Hill and returned to Glenelg for her senior year, the Gladiators' chance of a third straight girls indoor county title looked very good. Even coach Mike Selmer said this could be a special season.

But that all changed on Saturday, Nov. 15, the first day of practice. That's when Selmer found out that senior Mandy Miller and junior Christa Vent, half of last season's 800 relay team that won the county and finished third in the state, would not participate this season.

Miller, the leadoff runner on the 800 relay team who also pole vaults and runs the 55 dash, was in an automobile accident Nov. 14 and shattered a knee cap and broke an ankle. She is recovering and has used a wheelchair to get around.

"Mandy was one of the emotional leaders on the team," Selmer said. "More than the points, I think we'll miss her leadership."

After learning about Miller's accident at practice, Selmer went to watch Glenelg's girls soccer team win the 1A/2A state title. During the match, Christa Vent's father told Selmer that Vent would be leaving Glenelg and transferring to Montgomery County's Sherwood High where both her parents teach. She transferred two days later.

Vent, a good soccer player, holds the school record in the high jump (5 feet, 2 1/2 inches). She finished second in the high jump in the county last season (4-10), first in the 1A/2A Central regional and fourth in the state (4-10). She also anchored the very successful 800 and 1,600 relay teams.

"She's a great athlete," Selmer said. "I had high expectations for her this year."

There's more. Distance runner Leigh Bender, a senior, has an injured arch and Selmer said her status is "undetermined," although he expects her to compete this season. Junior Lori Tvarkunas, the county pole vault champion who also was a member of the 800 and 1,600 relay teams, severely sprained an ankle during a club soccer match and won't start running until this week. That means she'll miss tomorrow's first county meet as well as the Pangaea meet on Thursday.

"We'll be able to field a competitive team, but I wouldn't consider us the favorite in the county right now," Selmer said. "I think Long Reach will be tough to beat."

Lightning coach Pete Hughes thinks so, too.

"With the talent we have, we should be a county favorite," said Hughes. "That's our goal, to win the county."

All-County runners Teyarnte Carter, a sophomore, and senior Thema Napier give Long Reach a decided advantage because they are capable of helping the team earn up to 70 points between them.

Atholton's boys won county, region and state titles last year, but first-year coach Jack Coonts won't make any bold predictions about this season.

"We look forward to a very exciting season," Coonts said. "I think we'll be competitive."

Wilde Lake, which won the county boys cross county title, is expected to be more than competitive.

"I think we're going to be really, really good," said Wilde Lake boys coach Charlie Shoemaker, The Sun's boys cross country Coach of the Year.

Here is a look at the teams:

Atholton

Jack Coonts, a former three-sport athlete and 1993 graduate of Atholton, takes over the boys team from last year's Coach of the Year, Chris Rohde, who will work with the pole vaulter's on a volunteer basis. Coonts, who has been a volunteer assistant coach in outdoor track, volleyball, football and girls basketball, is coaching indoor for the first time. The strength of this year's team, said Coonts, will be in the distance and pole vault events. Seniors Mike Zaron and Nick Barresi, The Sun's co-Runners of the Year in cross country, lead the team. Others expecting to contribute include junior Tony Pesce (pole vault) and seniors Ryan Schulz (sprints), Luke Kim (distance) and Dave Grosso (middle distance).

Coach Eddie Ivory hopes to move forward from last year's rebuilding year and finish no lower than fourth in the county. Leading the way will be juniors Michelle Nelson (sprints) and Allison Marin (distance) and seniors Cheryl Staab (all-around), Wendy Sare (distance) and Christina Kennedy (distance). Ivory has a strong pole vault corps with seniors Tenisha Chester and Shimul Patel and junior Becky Peterson. Chester also is a strong high jumper. Amy Bejm will throw the shot put.

Centennial

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