Harford County

Track And Field

March 21, 2001|By Bill Blewett

In Harford County, the new outdoor track and field season is one marked by coaching transitions. Among the 10 boys and 10 girls teams, eight new coaches are at the helm.

Absent this spring are Roy Norris of Edgewood and Greg Thompson of Fallston, veteran mentors whose squads accounted for eight county-team titles in the past decade. Both stepped down after last season.

Returning at C. Milton Wright are Bob and Barbara Johnson, who coached the Mustangs for two decades before resigning two years ago. They're back for a year. Six other coaches are in new positions.

In the shuffle, there is a constant: C. Milton Wright will again be dominant. Winners of 11 boys titles and three girls titles in 14 years, the Mustangs are the preseason favorites again.

They are loaded with returnees, including two state indoor titlists in distance races -- Patrick Bailey (in 2001) and Cara Wettlaufer (in 2000). The girls return five county champions -- Jen Arseneau (vault); Stacey Johnson (100); Kacie Remeto (3,200); Megan Watkins (400); and Wettlaufer (1,600).

Fallston has lost several top performers to graduation after winning the boys county title last season. Some veterans are returning, led by C. J. Burdon, a four-time county champion in the hurdles. The girls, long dominant in the county, face a rebuilding year under new coach Joe Dennis.

Tim Corder, who formerly coached Edgewood's jumpers, moves to the head-coaching job for the Rams -- who are strong this year in jumping events. State 2A triple jump champion Matt Diggs is back, as is double county champion Lauren Dunn, a sophomore, in the long and triple jumps.

John Carroll expects a big season from its girls team despite the loss of several standouts. County 200 champ Shannon Seipp and distance runner Jessica Kearney lead the Patriots. The boys team is mostly newcomers; the only proven veteran is middle-distance standout Kyle Hoedebecke.

The Havre de Grace girls, the county runners-up last season, have three big voids to fill, particularly that of multi-event standout Meghan Walsh, who transferred to Rising Sun. The girls team returns county high jump champion Anna Eltgroth, and the boys team has sprinter Isaiah Higgins back.

North Harford should be strong in dual-meet competition. The Hawks have outstanding returnees in Dan Magness, the county champion in the shot put, and Paul Badders, 2A regional champion in the 3,200. The girls team has lost its top returnee, Cassie Knepp, to a winter knee injury.

Joppatowne won a unique discus double last season -- state titles in boys and girls discus. The girls champion, Shiree Turner, graduated, but boys titlist James Murray returns along with Phil Tillman, who was sixth in the state meet.

Under coach Joe Rose, Bel Air returns county champion Will Murdoch in the 3,200, along with a strong supporting cast of distance runners. The Bobcats boys team should be among the top four in the county, but the girls team faces a rebuilding year.

Both Aberdeen and Harford Tech are also in rebuilding efforts, with few experienced returnees.

Players to watch

Patrick Bailey (C. Milton Wright, distance) State indoor champion will threaten the county record in the 3,200

James Murray (Joppatowne, discus) 2A state champion is closing in on a 29-year-old county discus record Matt Diggs (Edgewood, triple jump) 2A state triple jump champion and standout high hurdler

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