Old Mill goes by the numbers


Old Mill has the numbers and they don't lie.

For starters, the Patriots girls team has captured 17 consecutive Anne Arundel County championships and 12 straight region crowns.

Old Mill's boys had won eight straight county titles before North County snapped that string last spring at Annapolis High School.

The question now is, will Old Mill take a broom to the team titles at this year's county meet?

Meade coach Hayes Henderson for one, isn't ready to raise his feet.

"They're no problem for us," said Henderson, referring to Old Mill's boys. "I just need my boys to stay together. If they all stay, we'll do well in counties, regions and states, but lately I never know if one of them will get a job or something."

Meade's indoor season looked promising at the start but the dismissal of speedy Tanardo Sharps for failing to attend practice turned the Mustangs' into a nonfactor and enabled Old Mill to sneak off with both team trophies.

If Old Mill is to sweep again, North County coach Ed Harte expects the Patriots will have earned it.

"Old Mill is up front all the way on the girls side, but it's going to be a real dogfight with the boys," said Harte. "The guys is pick 'em between us [North County] Meade and Old Mill."

Here's a look at the county teams:

ANNAPOLIS : The Panthers suffered a great loss when Misha Bilyeu transferred from the school but Annapolis returns two of the county's top high jumpers in Kaye Powell and Anne Handel.

Senior Kienda Simmons and junior Kelly Acker will represent Annapolis in the sprints and hurdles while freshman Erin Masterson runs the middle distances.

Annapolis coach Mike Ballard said his boys team is "solid" and believes it could "threaten for the county title." For that to happen, the Panthers are going to need great efforts from senior captain Albert Creek (sprints), sophomore Sonny Barnes (hurdles and sprints), senior Ken Houston, an "all-around guy" who can pole vault, long and triple jump and run relays.

Junior distant runner Ben Morris is Annapolis' biggest threat to win a state title, most likely in the two-mile .

Archbishop Spalding : Spalding's relatively new track and field program has already made its presence felt in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the newly formed Catholic League and coach Andy Witte hopes to continue stirring up this spring.

Witte, The Sun's county Coach of the Year last winter, will turn to all-county performer Mark Cunningham to lead his boys in the highly competitive MIAA and will rely on Kelly Zuknick to lead the girls in their quest for a Catholic League crown.

"We have a smaller team outdoors with some new, young additions so we'll probably struggle early," said Witte who is counting Ben Ferguson, Reb Beatty and Brian Kopetzky to help carry his boys and Shelly Sullivan, Grace Wetzel, Karen Pember and Alicia Hogan to help shoulder the load on the girls' side. "Hopefully, by the middle of the year, we'll hit our stride. "

Arundel: Arundel High, a hotbed for distance runners, produced two all-county Performers this winter, and surprisingly, neither was a harrier.

Mike Brady established himself as one of the county's premier sprinter this winter while fellow junior and defending indoor region champ Seth Rollins continued to show improvement in the shot put. Both are expected to make an impact for the Wildcats this spring along with distance runners Ben Baxter and Chris Dyer.

Handling the sprints for Arundel will be Markisha Bennett, Dawn Belt, Roxanne Hall, Nishira Rawls and Abria Queen.

Broadneck: Mike Rolland, who emerged as county champ in the 500 this winter, and Walt Wagner, the defending county indoor champion in the shot put, return for the Bruins' boys team along with indoor holdovers Dorian Watkins (high jump and hurdles) and Jarrod Nagowski (sprints and high jump).

Stephen Weller, a "surprising freshman," will lead Broadneck in the distance events.

The Broadneck girls are a "bit banged up" but should be well-represented by Tara Witmer (long sprints), Gretchen Oaklandsmith (800 and 1,600), Amanda Schmidt (1,600 and 3,200) and Beth Zeilleux (sprints and intermediate hurdles)

"I'm optimistic because the kids are improving every day and working very hard, " said Bruins coach Dana Dobbs. "They found out during the indoor season that hard work and perseverance pay off and hopefully that philosophy will carry on through the outdoor season."

Chesapeake: Chesapeake has more numbers than its had in the past, but the Cougars are still lacking experience. Among is the Cougars' standouts are Norman Adkins, Adam Bange, Melissa Garner, Jenny Jorde, Chrissy Franklin and Jessica Jones.

Glen Bernie: Junior Katie Sloan. who was named All-County Performer of the Year last winter after capturing state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, is back for the Gophers along with All-County performers Susan Sperduto (shot put) and Del'Rhea Godwin (sprints and jumps)

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