1999-2000 All-Carroll County indoor track

March 07, 2000|By RICH SCHERR


Coach of the Year

Jim Shank, Westminster: Throughout his career with the Owls, Shank has built a reputation as a pre-eminent molder of talent by guiding his teams to numerous county and regional titles. This season, however, was the coup de grace. For the first time in the history of either the indoor or outdoor program, Westminster captured a state title, as the boys team held off powerful Woodlawn, 47.5-45.33, at the Class 4A-3A state championships last month at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore. It was a shining moment for the veteran coach, who watched his team, led by co-top performers Jesse O'Connell and Jared Craig, take top-three finishes in five events. Before last season, it was Shank who helped pave the way for the return of indoor track to Carroll County after a long hiatus.

Co-top performers

Jesse O'Connell, Westminster, Sr.: O'Connell, the area's top middle-distance runner, and Craig, its top sprinter and hurdler, were two of the biggest reasons Westminster claimed the first state track championship, indoor or outdoor, in school history, edging perennial power Woodlawn, 47.5-45.33, at the Class 4A-3A state meet last month at the 5th Regiment Armory. O'Connell, also The Sun's Carroll County co-top runner in cross country last fall, claimed an indoor state title in the 800 (1: 59.8) and took second in the 500 (1: 07.9). He also took Central Maryland Conference titles in both events, won the 800 at the prestigious National Guard Games and the 500 at the Westminster Invitational.

Jared Craig, Westminster, Sr.: The versatile Craig claimed a state title in the high hurdles (7.51), also winning that event at the Central Maryland Conference championships (7.4) and Westminster Invitational, and taking third at the National Guard Games. He had perhaps his best all-around performance at the CMC meet, also winning the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) and finishing runner-up in the 55 (6.7). He showed his range at the Westminster Invitational, winning the hurdles before coming back to take second in the 300 (37.5). Both runners will continue to lead the way for the Owls this spring, and will probably go down in history as two of the most talented runners to come out of Carroll County.

The team

Sam Becker, Francis Scott Key, Sr.: A tremendous all-around performer for the Eagles, the senior did his best work in the high jump, winning that event at the Gettysburg Invitational (5-11), taking second at the Westminster Invitational, sixth at the Monocacy Valley Athletic League meet, fourth in regionals and seventh at states. He was also an integral member of Key's 800 and 1,600 relay teams.

Troy Borneman, Westminster, Jr.: One of the county's most explosive athletes, Borneman excelled in the high jump and hurdles. He placed second in the high jump at the Central Maryland Conference championships and tied for sixth (5-10) at the Class 4A-3A state meet, helping the Owls to a team title. At the Westminster Invitational, he took third in the high jump and high hurdles (8.4).

Tony Braglio, Francis Scott Key, Sr.: Braglio captured a Monocacy Valley Athletic League championship in the shot put with a heave of 43 feet, 10 inches. Though he didn't compete at the state meet for personal reasons, he took second in the event at regionals and third at the Westminster Invitational (43-11.5), also running key legs on the Eagles' 800 and 1,600 relay teams.

Josh Davis, Westminster, Sr.: The coun ty's co-runner of the Year in cross country last fall continued his success indoors this winter, playing a key role on distance relays and taking runner-up in the 1,600 (4: 35.6) at the Central Maryland Conference championships. At last month's Class 4A-3A state meet, he took sixth in the 3,200 (10: 16.10) and ran a leg on the winning 3,200 relay team to help the Owls capture a state crown.

J.D. Egolf, Liberty, Jr.: A stress fracture may have kept him out of the state meet, but that couldn't detract from a breakthrough campaign for the Lions' long sprinter. Running out of slower heats, Egolf took third in the regional 300 and fourth in the 300 at the Central Maryland Conference championships, where he was the highest county finisher in that event.

Tristan Gilbert, Westminster, Sr.: A key cog for the Owls all season, he ran a leg on the state championship 3,200 relay team. Individually, Gilbert placed third in the 800 (2: 03.2) at the Central Maryland Conference meet, won the 1,600 at the Westminster Invitational and placed 13th and 16th, respectively, in the 800 and 600 at the Class 4A-3A state meet.

Andy Kuchera, Westminster, Jr.: The area's top pole vaulter had a season to remember for the state champion Owls, taking third at the Class 4A-3A state meet (12 feet) after finishing second at the Central Maryland Conference championships, fourth at the National Guard Games (12-6) and winning the Westminster Invitational.

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