Westminster's O'Connell goes new distance, wins 1,600

Georgetown-bound star conquers longer race

Track and field

April 08, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

On a day when Westminster middle-distance standout Jesse O'Connell announced his intention to attend national track power Georgetown University in the fall, the senior celebrated by conquering a new frontier.

At yesterday's 14-team Westminster Invitational, O'Connell -- who normally runs the 400 and 800 -- ran the 1,600 for the first time in an official meet, and broke a meet record by nearly 10 seconds.

His effort, in 4: 28.3, helped the host Owls to a second-place finish. Frederick won the boys meet with 141 points, followed by Westminster (129). South Carroll was a distant third with 42 points.

Dulaney won the girls meet, finishing with 124 points to beat Westminster (106) and Frederick (104.5).

"It's finally the right mix of my distance training and my speed from the 800," O'Connell said. "I think, looking down the road, I have as good a future in the 1,500 as the 800. It's definitely something I'll be working on in college."

Georgetown, Tufts University and Western Maryland had been O'Connell's final choices.

Teammate Jared Craig, who shared Carroll County Top Performer honors with O'Connell in indoor track, set two meet records, taking the 110 hurdles in 14.1 seconds and the 300 in 39.4 seconds.

Dulaney's girls scored big points in the high jump, with Stephanie Kuehne (meet-record-tying 5 feet, 7 inches), Sarah Ritterhoff and Jill Tomback finishing 1-3-6.

Kuehne and teammate Kelley Fanshaw then took 3-4 in the triple jump and Tenke Zoltani and Catherine Winders took 1-2 in the 1,600, with Zoltani winning in a meet-record 5: 12.3.

"I feel I did really well in the mile," said Zoltani. "Everyone pulled their weight today, and we won."

The Lions' Laurie Twardzik was also a double winner, taking the 400 and 800.

Westminster continued to dominate the throwing events, despite a nearly devastating accident. In the midst of the discus competition, Emily Hester and Katie Selby were hit on the fly by a discus -- Hester on the hand, Selby on the side -- but came back to help the Owls take the first four places in the event.

Emily Hester won with a throw of 110 feet, 5 inches, followed by Selby, Kiara Adams and Jessica Hester.

Boys: 1. Frederick 141; 2. Westminster 129; 3. South Carroll 42; 4. Severna Park 41; 5. (tie) Catonsville and Bowling Brook 36; 7. Howard 33; 8. Owings Mills 22; 9. Dulaney 18; 10. Bel Air and Francis Scott Key 14; 12. Atholton 1.

Girls: 1. Dulaney 124;2. Westminster 106; 3. Frederick 104.5; 4. Perry Hall 47; 5. North Carroll 40; 6. Atholton 33; 7. Francis Scott Key 30.5; 8. Severna Park 25.5; 9. Catonsville 14; 10. Howard 10.5; 11. South Carroll 9; 12. Bel Air 8; 13. Owings Mills 6.

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