Howard County

Track And Field

March 21, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg

Howard County will once again boast a wealth of talent in outdoor track and field, as Oakland Mills, River Hill and Wilde Lake will be the teams to watch on the boys side, and Long Reach, River Hill and Oakland Mills expected to lead the pack on the girls end.

All eyes, however, will no doubt be focused once again on two of the top runners in the Baltimore area: Oakland Mills' Kyle Farmer and River Hill's Shane Stroup.

Farmer, who is recognized as one of the top three high school sprinters in the country, will anchor a talented Oakland Mills team that should be favored to win not only the county, but likely the 2A-1A regional and state championships. Coming off an excellent indoor season in which he won state titles in the 55 meters and 300 meters, Farmer will try to repeat as a state champ in the 400, and should be the area's top runner in the 100 and 200.

Farmer can't do it alone, and he certainly won't have to. Junior Chris Barksdale returns to run sprints after an All-County indoor season. Izudin Mehmeovic will also lead a talented corps of distance runners.

On the girls side, Rachel Clinton leads a talented group of sprinters and hurdlers, and All-County pole-vaulter and sprinter Keirney Hitshew will be one of the best as well.

If not neck-and-neck with Oakland Mills, River Hill should be close behind. The Hawks will field top-notch teams on the boys and girls side, and the spotlight will continue to focus on Stroup, who was the co-Metro Performer of the Year during the indoor season with Farmer. Stroup, a distance runner, finished first in every meet he entered in the county, region and state, setting state records in the 500 (1:06.7) and the 1,600 (4:21.5). Evan Prucha will be strong in the high jump as well.

Lee McDuff, a top runner in the 1,600 and 3,200, will anchor a young but strong girls squad.

At Long Reach, the sky is the limit, with the Lightning expected to be the favorite on the girls side after Rolanda Howard helped the Lightning capture its second consecutive 3A-2A state title. Howard is the defending state champion in the triple jump and long jump, and she is also one of the best hurdlers, sprinters and relay anchors in the county. The boys are expected to rebuild, and will be led by Mike Zyvoloski, a county champion in the shot put.

At Wilde Lake, Maryland football recruit and sprinter Mario Merrills will be one of the county's top sprinters, and Kirk LaRue will be one of the best field competitors in the shot and discuss. Middle-distance runner Rebecca Navinsky and sprinter Leonie Prao will lead a competitive girls team.

Hammond won't have a lot of numbers, but it will have some talented performers, especially on the girls side, where Shade Smith and Nina Perkins will be two of the better sprinters.

Glenelg will continue to be one of the strongest schools for middle- and long-distance runners. Carrie Selmer comes off an indoor season in which she was the county champion in the 800 and second in the 1,600 and 3,200. Phillip Selmer returns as the defending county champion in the 300 hurdles.

Mount Hebron has most of its top runners back, including Jeanette Curtis, who, as a sophomore, is already a county champion in the 300 hurdles, and region and state champion in the 100 hurdles. All-County distance runner James Mullaly will lead a young but talented Vikings boys team.

The Atholton girls will have two of the top performers in Ashley Wall, county and state champion in the high jump, and Lindsay Grigoriev, a county champion in the shot put. On the boys side, the Raiders hope to get solid efforts from transfers Ryan Whitaker and Phillip Harley.

Howard should have two of the county's best in pole-vaulter Justin Ferguson and hurdler Ryan Blackwell, both county champs last year.

Centennial has a strong turnout for its girls team, led by high jumper Lindsay Martin, and the boys side will hope to get points from Joey Henry in the distance events.

Players to watch

Shane Stroup (River Hill, junior, distance) Set 3A state records in 500, 800 and 1,600 during indoor season

Kyle Farmer (Oakland Mills, senior, sprinter) An eye on the 2004 Olympics, Farmer's time in 300 (33.9 seconds) is believed to be the second best in the country at the high school level

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