1997-98 Baltimore City/County indoor track preview Mervo, Perry Hall remain top boys teams

Western, Dulaney lead girls pack

December 09, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Not much has changed since we last left the Baltimore-area indoor track scene.

Will it ever?

Mervo and Perry Hall remain the boys teams to beat while the Dulaney and Western girls enter the season as early favorites in their respective county and city leagues.

Barring any upsets, Mervo and Western each should capture their fourth straight city indoor titles, Perry Hall will win its fifth county crown and Dulaney's girls will three-peat.

Here's a closer look at the two leagues:

The teams at a glance

Baltimore City:

Mervo lost a lot of from the team that captured its first state indoor title last winter but don't count out the Mustangs just yet. Tyree Byron, the Class 3A-4A state runner-up in the 300- and 500-meter dashes, is back and anxious to improve on last year's performance at states.

Erik Newby, who was named to the All- Metro track team last spring along with Byron, will compete in the high jump and sprints for the Mustangs and Darius Tarver, a member of Mervo's city champion 800 relay team, is penciled in for the 300 dash and 55 hurdles.

"Our team has weakened somewhat with one of our senior runners deciding to work this year so I'm not sure what the forecast is," said Mervo coach Freddie Hendricks. "We got a shot at states but it's slim."

Western, which ran away with last year's city title by winning 10 of the 12 events, is loaded once again. The Doves return two All-City/County runners in Elizabeth Johnson and Toni Jefferson. Complementing that dynamic duo are Layla Acirfay (400, 800), Lorna Henry, city runner-up in the 800, and the versatile Tia Burley.

Graduation stripped Carver of the area's most decorated athlete, Bernard Williams. With Williams, last year's indoor track Performer of the Year, gone the Bears will have to rely on sprinters Kirk Boone and Steve Queen, who ran in the shadows of Williams last season.

Southwestern coach Sarah Heilbron doesn't expect her team to win any titles but she wouldn't be surprised to see Yvonne Brown, Malikah Cowles, Kenya Carter, Ivan Blackwell, Russell Vincent, Reginald Murchison or Gary Gerald leave the Fifth Regiment Armory with some hardware this winter.

Baltimore County:

Perry Hall's boys team lost its coach Jerry Martin and its No. 1 athlete, Omar Knight (LaSalle),but the Gators return enough to keep their streak alive.

Kirk Bouffard, who finished third in the county in the 1,600 last winter, leads a distance crew that includes John Bogdon and Mark Coyle.

The Gators girls team has two proven pole vaulters in state runner-up Lisa Pann and Melissa McPherson (fourth at states). Sophomores Sharon Gill and Kristen Redmond will lead Perry Hall in the sprints while freshman Laura Brazil, who is coming off a 19th-place finish at the Foot Locker regional cross country meet, and Lacey Chanoski will handle the distance events.

The other reigning county champ, the Dulaney girls, will also have to defend their title with a new coach. Don Metil inherits a group of talented distance runners, namely Marjorie Bollinger, Bianca Jay and Karen Chillemi. Stephanie Kuehne should help the Lions pick up some points in the high jump and Erin Rinehardt is expected to contribute in the pole vault.

Dulaney's boys team boast two of the state's top harriers in All-Metro runners Greg Vincent, The Sun's Runner of the Year, and Shawn Sullivan. The team's other standouts are Willie Leonard (middle distance) and Matt Insley (pole vault).

Senior Jeff McKelvin, the defending county, region and state champ in the 55 hurdles and the high jump, returns for Randallstown and gives the Rams a 20-point threat.

McKelvin is one of 15 seniors on the Mike Gelman-coached squad. Jon Shields, Ben Rossi and Jason Manns round out the Rams' returning seniors and have been called on to provide leadership for their less-experienced teammates.

"Between the seniors we have, we've got each of the events covered and we have great relay potential," said Gelman. "I'm looking for a challenging but successful season. With a little luck, we can run with the big dogs this season."

Joe Sargent's Milford Mill boys team did just that last season when it won the Class 2A-3A state championship with just four runners.

Back from that small but talented group are Derek Anderson and Derrick Stanfield. Both were members of the Millers' state champion 800 and 1,600 relays. Anderson will also try and defend his county, state and region 300-dash titles.

Parkville senior Jen Geroux, a two-time All-Metro pick in cross country, will try and defend her state title in the 3,200 and will run for the gold in the 1,600.

Elisa Jones will throw the shot for the Knights and Sara White will take over high jumping duties. First-year coach Mike Frank is also relying on distance-specialist Meghan Burke and sprinters Stephanie Gnau and Erica Santa-Cruz.

Kevin Christopher, John Francis, Paul Swinski, Pat O'Hara, Sean McLaughlin and Matt Weaver will try and help Parkville's boys repeat as region champ.

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