City boys depose Mervo in 4th Balto. title meet Jefferson's four firsts lead Western girls to 4th in row

January 29, 1998|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The City Knights ended Mervo's three-year reign as city champs yesterday by winning the boys team title at the fourth annual Baltimore City Indoor Championships at the Fifth Regiment Armory.

The fourth-ranked Knights snapped the Mustangs' string of victories by setting five school records and racking up 109 points. Mervo's boys finished second, eight points back, despite Tyree Byron's sweep of the 55-, 300- and 500-meter dashes.

Western's girls, powered by quadruple champ Toni Jefferson, captured the city title for the fourth consecutive year.

The Doves, minus leader Elizabeth Johnson, who sprained an ankle running to class, won the title with a whopping 145 points, followed by distant runner-up Lake Clifton (59) and Mervo (47).

Boys events

"We came in here confident, and I think we finally showed Mervo that we have too many horses for them," said City coach William Redmon. "I had us projected to score 107 points, and I figured we would need that many to win. I feel elated to win our first indoor championship. Now, we've set our sights on winning regions and, if things go well, states."

Senior distance runner Rooti Lewis set the pace for the Knights by winning the 1,600 and 3,200 runs and running a leg of their city champion 3,200 relay.

City swept all three relays and picked up some big points in the shot put, thanks to a 1-2 finish by Ali Harding-Ray and Allen Couplin, respectively.

"I thought we could win, but I knew I was going to have to run personal bests in the mile and 2-mile if we were going to do it," said Lewis, who turned in his best times ever in the 1,600 (5: 02.5) and the 3,200 (11: 10.2). "I've waited a long time for this, and it feels great."

Odell Taylor of Mervo left the armory with a collection of medals after finishing first in the 800, second in the 300 and third in the 500.

Southwestern's Gary Gerald set the only meet record of the day by clearing a modest 9 feet in the pole vault. Mervo's Darius Tarver finished second after clearing 7-6, and was third behind Poly champion Arnold Henry and teammate Erik Newby in the 55 hurdles.

Girls events

Jefferson showed the way for Western by winning the high jump, the 55 and 300 dashes, and running a leg of the Doves' first-place 800 relay. Junior Tia Burley helped Western, which won eight of the 12 girls events, by claiming first in the 500 and 800 and finishing second to Lake Clifton's Jade Johnson in the 55 hurdles.

"With Elizabeth [Johnson] out, we knew had to step up today, and we did," said Jefferson.

Lisa Henry helped Western's cause by finishing second behind Southwestern's Yvonne Brown in both the 1,600 and 3,200 runs. Her sister Lorna also contributed by finishing third behind Burley and teammate Layla Acirfa in the 500 and 800.

"It's the same old story. I'm happy that we won, but I wish our times were better," said Doves coach Jerry Molyneaux. "I wish there was more competition for us, because it's hard for the kids to run hard when they're only running against themselves."

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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