Long, rare double record-setter Track and field: Oakland Mills' athlete broke shot-put and discus records on the same day this month and is the only male competitor to currently hold two marks.

April 24, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Breaking just one county boys track record is the stuff of dreams for most athletes.

Breaking two county records is more far-fetched.

But Oakland Mills' Andrew Long broke two records this spring -- on the same day.

Long, who is scheduled to perform at the Penn Relays today, can't remember doing anything differently to get ready for an April 7 tri-meet against Howard and Glenelg.

But that's the day he set a county shot-put record of 57 feet, 7 inches, breaking former teammate Brian Howard's 55-3 made in 1995. And Long added a new discus record of 161 feet, one inch, breaking the record 160-5 that Atholton's Jim Benfield set in 1980.

Long is the only boy athlete currently who holds two individual county records.

"It was definitely enjoyable. Breaking those records was my goal all last season," said Long. "But I twisted my ankle running on a relay team right before the 57-foot throw and didn't think I'd be able to walk to the circle."

The Eagle Scout, who is also a lifeguard and a competitive swimmer, found a way.

He's the defending county and state champ in both shot and discus. And he's expected to win both again this season.

Long set the state indoor shot put record of 55-10 last winter.

The state outdoor record will be a little tougher to break, however. It's 64-6 1/2 . And the state discus mark of 184-10 also seems out of reach. Springbrook's Tom Brosius set both in 1968.

"My goals now are to break 60 feet in the shot and 170 feet in the discus," Long said.

Long stumbled on the shot and discus events by accident. He was working with the sprinters his freshman season.

"I told the coach I didn't like to run, and I saw people throwing the shot, so I asked him if I could try that." Long threw 42 feet outdoors as a freshman.

He's the sixth straight county shot-put winner from Oakland Mills and worked behind teammates Brian Howard and Kevin Rondon his freshman and sophomore years.

"They motivated me. You wanted to do better and possibly beat them. I was only third best on my team then, but also third best in the county," he said.

What's it take to be a shot put or discus champion?

"Practice, practice and more practice," said Long. "You have to be all-around athletic. Shot takes quickness and strength. Discus takes flexibility and balance. The technique, forms and movements are completely different."

"It's a lot of hard work. But our coaches are fun and make you laugh, and they are always ready and motivated so that makes you want to be there."

Sam Singleton is the head track coach and Ian Lesikar the shot-put coach.

"We don't ask what place Andrew finished anymore. We just ask how far," said Singleton. "He's a hard worker and good technician who has gotten stronger. He's 6-2 and 225, benches 300 pounds and has no fat at all. He's quiet, unassuming and intelligent, and about 20 colleges would like to have him."

Long, who wants to be an engineer, has a 3.86 grade-point average and a 1,240 SAT score. He's narrowed his choice to the University of Pennsylvania or Maryland, both of which have strong engineering programs.

"It's two completely different worlds. Penn has a 70 man-track team with an emphasis on winning and is an Ivy League school with only 5,000 students," Long said. "And Maryland has about a 25-man track team with a more laid-back emphasis, and is a school of 20,000 students. It's a hard decision."

Pub Date: 4/24/98

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