Anne Arundel County indoor track preview Depth makes Old Mill the team to beat in both boys and girls divisions

December 08, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Depth is the name of the game in winning county indoor track championships and depth is what makes Old Mill annually the squad to beat.

The Patriots girls are just about a lock as their 13 consecutive county titles and 19 overall attest. The Old Mill boys returned to the top last season with their seventh title in eight years to make it a clean sweep.

Old Mill's boys fell to third place and were dethroned by Meade in the 1996-97 season after a string of six straight county championships.

"I don't like to make predictions, but I would assume it will be us, Glen Burnie and Annapolis in the girls, and us, Meade and North County in the boys, " said veteran Old Mill assistant Leon K. Walters, who coaches the distance runners for second-year head coach Bill Hickey.

Coach Ed Purpura's Severna Park girls (57 on the team) could be the sleeper in the girls' race.

The Old Mill girls can take sole possession of second place for consecutive county titles, all sports -- boys and girls -- included, by winning their 14th straight this winter.

Severna Park's field hockey team tied the Patriots indoor team with their 13th straight this fall and set a county record with its 20th overall.

However, both the Patriots indoor and outdoor girls track teams can match the 20 with county championships in their upcoming seasons.

Old Mill's outdoor girls, many of whom compete indoors, own the county record for consecutive championships in all sports with 18 in a row from 1981 to 1998.

The girls indoor track squad returns two All-County performers in senior Jackie Allen and junior Heather Segraves, both 4.0 grade-point average students. Allen set a county record (7.0) in winning the 55-dash championship last year at Baltimore's Fifth Regiment Armory.

Allen was the Pats' leading scorer, also pole vaulting and running a leg of the 800-meter relay team. Allen was a region champion in the pole after tying for fifth in the county meet.

Segraves, a distance runner, was second in the region 1,600-meter run and third in the county while taking third in the region 3,200 and fifth in the high jump. She also ran a leg on the 3,200 relay foursome.

Other key returning Patriots girls are senior Tenille Bynes (second county and region 55 hurdles), sophomore April Zebron (third region 800), junior Anne Hosey (fourth county pole vault) and senior Kelly Johnson (fifth county shot put).

The Sun's county boys performer of the year, Old Mill junior Victor Thillet is the defending county and region champion in the 1,600-meter run, and the defending state, region and county champion in the 3,200.

In the spring, Thillet captured the state gold medal in the 3,200 and took outdoor honors as performer of the year.

Thillet, who is 5-foot-4 and 115 pounds, is coming off a terrific summer in which he won a pair of national titles in the Amateur Athletic Union 16-and-under Junior Olympic Games in Norfolk, Va. He won both the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs.

The AAU national titles came after Thillet had taken third in both events at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic Nationals in Seattle.

Joining Thillet as expected point contributors for the boys team are senior sprinter and All-County football wide receiver Brandon White (second county 300, 500 dashes, third region 500), junior pole vaulter Dan Liden (county co-champ) and juniors Tim Cooke (fourth region 3,200) and Joe Capri (sixth region 1,600).

The Old Mill boys appear to have a little more depth than usual with other promising senior performers in sprinters Greg Brown and Nick Dolbin and shot putter Jermey Robinson.

Around the county, Glen Burnie's Katie Sloan is the headliner after recently being named The Sun's girls cross country runner of the year.

Sloan, the county's premier distance runner, is working on her second straight triple crown after being named runner of the year all three seasons as a junior.

Last year during the winter indoor season, Sloan won state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs and is a likely bet to do it again for coach Aaron Walker.

Walker's Gophers girls have two other All-County senior performers returning to pose a threat to Old Mill's reign in shot putter Susan Sperduto and high jumper Del'Rhea Godwin.

Sperduto, an All-County volleyball setter as well, is a team captain who won the county in the shot put, was second in the region and fifth in the states. Her best toss was 35 feet, 6 inches.

Godwin was county and region champ in the high jump with a personal best 5 feet, 2 inches. She also was a member of the 4 x 200 relay team.

Other seniors expected to contribute are pole vaulter Danielle King, sprinter Arleaver Patton and hurdler Dietrich Curry.

The Gophers boys are thin on depth and need a few untested underclassmen to come through.

Here is a look at the other schools:

Annapolis: The Panthers also rank as a strong girls contender.

All-County sprinter Robyn Mincher is back with three other top seniors in high jumper Anne Handel, sprinter Ayana Shannon and hurdler Keli Acker.

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