Wilde Lake boys, L. Reach girls lead pack Wildcats poised to break Atholton's grip on title


Coaches had no problem picking this season's probable county track champions. The Wilde Lake boys and Long Reach girls are the odds-on choices.

"Wilde Lake's boys team is loaded," said Oakland Mills boys Coach Sam Singleton.

Atholton girls Coach Ed Ivory said: "Long Reach will have a better outdoor girls team than indoor and they won indoor. They are the team to beat."

The Oakland Mills and Long Reach boys teams are expected to battle for second place. Oakland Ills and Wilde Lake are expected to battle for second place in girls competition.

Defending state Class 2A champion Atholton has won three straight county boys titles, but is unlikely to make it four straight.

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

Atholton Raiders: Mike Zaron, the state indoor champ in the 800 and 1,600 leads the Raiders. Outdoors, he was the county 800 champ and second in the state 1,600. The All-County performer heads a strong senior distance corps for the Raiders, including Nick Barresi and Joe Lamonte.

Junior pole-vaulter Joe Pesce won the state indoor title, clearing 13 feet.

The Raiders have their third coach in three years, Karen Saunderson, who replaces Coach of the Year Chris Rohde.

The girls team, hoping for a top five finish, will rely on All-County performer, Tenisha Chester, who holds county records indoor and outdoor in the pole vault and indoor in the high jump. She was second in the state pole vault and fifth in the state high jump.

The Raiders have Tiffany Harvey in long and triple jumps, shot and discus, Cheryl Stabb and Michelle Nelson in sprints and Shimul Patel and Becky Peterson in pole vault.

Centennial Eagles: County and regional indoor high jump champ Chris Smith headlines a boys team that is inexperienced, lacks depth and has lots of first year juniors and seniors. The Eagles graduated three All-County performers from last season's third-place county team. Despite its lack of seasoned performers, the Eagles and coach Al Dodds still hope for a top five finish.

Yeokae Tsui is the team's leading sprinter, with Erik Forni, Randy Van Allen and Aaron Spencer running distance, Charlie Crosby pole-vaulting, and Tom Fisher throwing shot and discus.

Tia Richardson looks strong in the shot and discus, Rebecca Kulak in the 800 and 1,600 and Liz Allen in the 400. Lori Fntz will run sprints and Sarah Cooke the 400 and 800.

Glenelg Gladiators: A new head coach, Mike Selmer, replaces veteran Roger Volrath, who for health reasons has stepped down to assistant coach. Brian Selmer and Brian Stepp will run distance, and Kendall Stewart, a football and basketball player, is a first-year sprinter.

With only 17 on the team, the Gladiators expect to struggle in dual meets, but have high hopes for regions and states.

The girls team of 24 athletes is 50 percent freshmen, but perennial All-County performer Beth Santilli returns from a year at River Hill to finish her outstanding career where she began it. Santilli won the 3,200 last spring before injuring her foot. She was state champ in the 1,600 and 3,200 indoors.

Lori Tvarkunas in the pole vault, Kristin Smith in the 400 and 800, Elizabeth Dodmead and Joanna Bissell in distance, and Mandy Miller and Becca Tilleman in sprints are Glenelg's other top performers.

Hammond Golden Bears: Jeff Jones, county champion in the 110 hurdles, and runner-up in the 300 hurdles, is Hammond's marquee performer and also a sprinter. The Bears have a wealth of sprinters. Newcomer Jamar Wise shows strong potential in the sprints and long jump.

Other sprinters are seniors Matt Albritton and Richard Bright, juniors Cheo Barbosa and Dallas Greene and sophomore Greg Lambert.

Other key performers will be Steve Rivas in distance, Jeremy Miller and Joe Blasi in the 800 and 1,600 and Matt Kolb in shot .

The girls team, under first-year coach Lee Ann Beall, is loaded with distance runners like Meg Tilley, Patti Shelton, Amanda Harrison and Laura Atkinson. Freshman Zamieka Johnson is a promising sprinter. Brita Grothe runs sprints, hurdles and long jump. Freshman Erin Watkins and sophomore Megan Inouye are expected to help in distance.

Howard Lions: This is a rebuilding year for boys coach Dave Glenn. "We only have one senior and three returning runners, but some promising freshmen," he said.

Sophomore sprinter Gerald Smith, an All-County football player, is the best known returnee. Maurice Clark and Darius Hodge will concentrate on jumps, Will Gray and Khareem Bowen on shot and discus, and freshmen Andy Roseborough and John Martinez on distance.

Girls coach Tony Holland expects his team to finish in the middle of the pack in almost every event.

Sprinters Jevne Reid, Ketar Wellons and Jana Green are three to watch.

"We have a good, young team," said Holland, a seventh-year coach whose team finished second in the county last season, but graduated Coleen Parker, a two-event state champ,

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