Baltimore City

March 21, 2001|By Mike Frainie

Track and field teams around Baltimore City are lining up for the start of the outdoor season, but the front-runners appear to be the same as last season: Mervo and Mount St. Joseph.

Mervo has won the city title nine of the past 10 seasons. With most of the team returning, 2001 should provide for another winning season. The Mustangs should be particularly strong in the sprint events. The boys will be deep and possess the ability to score points in any event. Senior Tavon Stewart and junior Jabari Bush will lead the sprinters, while seniors Salis Berry and Orlando Walker will handle the middle-distance events. Senior Kelley Jackson will handle both the discus and shot.

The Mustangs girls will be at their best in the track events. Senior April Mullen can run any race from the 400 to 1,600 meters, and junior Channel Young will lead the short sprinters and hurdlers.

At Mount St. Joseph, the Gaels are loaded and will again make a run at Calvert Hall for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association title. This junior-dominated team is experienced and has the potential to win every meet.

Senior Nick Wright, an All-Metro performer last year, will lead the hurdlers. He'll be backed up by junior Chris Wright (no relation) and sophomore Ron Kirchner; the latter two were named to The Sun's All-City/County cross country team last fall.

The Gaels will find out how good they are quickly. They'll face Gilman, serve as a host for an invitational and meet Calvert Hall within the first eight days of the season.

Carver boys will be "knee-deep in sprinters," coach Walter Cole said, and that's where the Bears should dominate. Senior Eugene Brown and juniors Christopher Lee and Raymond Queen run the 100 meters in 10.7 seconds or faster. Cole is still trying to find middle-distance runners and field-event participants, but the Bears will be one of the city's best.

The girls will be led by their relay teams. Junior Shawntae Brown, the relay anchor, returns, as does sophomore Cierra Edwards. New coach Pamela Lamb says her team is probably a season away from being a contender.

At Poly, the Engineers will try to defend their 2A North Regional boys championship. The team should be stronger than last season, but also will be untested. Junior Adam Dickerson will lead the sprinters; junior Raymond Schamp will lead the distance runners; and, senior Dennis Spencer, the field events. If the Engineers have a weakness, it is their lack of depth at high jump and the discus.

Getting more runners to the state tournament will be a goal for Poly's girls. Juniors Leszchell McCall and Keri Distance qualified for the states in the 200 last season.

The Western girls won the city title last season and should be a little better this year, coach Jerry Molyneaux said. The hurdlers will be the strongest part of the team, led by sophomores Ashleigh West-Nesbitt and Ashley Davis; junior Mariama Gondo will lead the sprinters. If the Doves find a distance runner, they will be hard to beat.

Lake Clifton's track program took a big step forward last season, and the Lakers will look to build on that momentum. Middle distance will be a strength for the boys, where senior Terron Bazemore and sophomore Steven Felton will split the 400 and 800.

The girls will be strongest in the field events, where junior Sharnita Harrison will lead a talented group. Senior Peta-gay Williams will be a threat at 200 and 400.

At City, the Knights are well-rounded. Senior Clarence Briscoe has been an impressive hurdler, and sophomore Joe Weiblein is developing into a dependable distance runner. Junior Nathaniel Clayton could also be one of the city's best shot-putters.

Patterson will try to build on a successful season from last year. The Clippers will be strong in the field events, where junior Chris Price will lead the long jumpers and freshman Carl Robinson shows promise as a high jumper. But the team has lost two of its better runners, who transferred.

The girls will return a young group that is deep in sprinters. Junior Erica Ricks and sophomore Nina Muir are the fastest of the group. Sophomore Natia Wilkens will handle the majority of the middle- and long-distance runs.

Curley will aim to push Calvert Hall and Mount St. Joseph in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, and the Friars will be led by a strong group of hurdlers. Senior Dale Rothe will pace that group. Field events could be a strength, with seniors Bob Jones and Steve Szymanski handling the shot and discus duties, respectively. The team lost a few quality runners to transfers, but the Friars seem capable of a respectable finish in a tough A Conference.

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