County dashes won't have Farmer as injury keeps standout on sideline

Hamstring bothersome, but he's hoping to return for May 18 regionals


High Schools

May 09, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg and Stan Rappaport | Kevin Van Valkenburg and Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

The Howard County track and field championships begin today, but for the first time in four years, Oakland Mills sprinter Kyle Farmer will have the role of spectator and cheerleader, not standout performer.

Farmer, one of the top high school sprinters in the nation, will sit out with a hamstring injury he suffered at the Penn Relays nearly two weeks ago. A minor hamstring pull limited Farmer at last year's county meet, allowing him to race in three events (100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600 relay), but he still captured gold medals in all three. This year's injury, however, is much more serious.

"The doctors didn't call back to say that it was torn, so that's probably a good sign," Farmer said. "Right now, my focus is just getting back and hoping I'm not out for the rest of the season."

Farmer is eyeing a May 18 return for the regional meet, which would allow him to compete in the state meet, where he has won 12 gold medals in three seasons.

"I really wanted to go out with a bang," Farmer said. "I guess I'll be sitting up in the bleachers for now, wishing my teammates the best."

Oakland Mills should be deep enough to win the county title without Farmer. Sprinter Chris Barksdale and distance runners Izudin Mehmedovic and Stefan Pastor are among the best as well, but without 40 points from Farmer, there won't be much room for error.

"I know they'll be just fine," Farmer said. "I just told them to go out and do their best. Hopefully, I'll be back real soon."

On the girls side, Long Reach enters as a heavy favorite, and the best competition may be between Lightning teammates Rolanda Howard and Shayla Moore in the long jump and the triple jump. Moore recently set a Howard County record by jumping 39 feet, 6 1/2 inches in the triple jump, and Howard is one of the best hurdlers and jumpers in the state.

Disappointment for Dunlap

Derrick Dunlap says he put his heart and soul into coaching basketball at Howard High, and that these days, it feels like the rug was yanked out from underneath him.

It was revealed last week that Dunlap would not return to coach the Lions, and that Greg Smith, a special education teacher at Howard, would take over next season in an agreement with the school board.

Smith had previously won an appeal to the Howard County school board in December, overturning the hiring of Dunlap on the grounds that county policy had not been followed during the hiring process. However, Smith stepped down without ever coaching a game after players threatened to boycott the season if Dunlap didn't return as coach.

Dunlap found out about the agreement that Smith would take over this season when he reapplied for the job recently.

"They didn't give me a chance," Dunlap said. "We could have won the championship and [Smith] still would have been the coach. It's disappointing." Smith, who now becomes the fourth coach at Howard in five years, declined to respond to multiple requests for comment by The Sun.

"I wish them nothing but luck, but it's unbelievably unfair what [the school board] did to the kids in this situation," Dunlap said. "They claim they want these minority role models in the county, but then they just resort to the good-old-boy system the first chance they get."

Dunlap said he's interviewing for assistant coaching jobs in the area, but that he leaves Howard with a bitter taste in his mouth.

"I'm not in this for publicity," he said. "I'm in this for the kids. We were headed in the right direction and that didn't seem to matter to people making decisions."

Girls lacrosse

Top-ranked Mount Hebron's unbeaten streak of 63 games will be on the line today when the Vikings (12-0-1) travel to Alexandria, Va., to play St. Stephen's/St. Agnes (15-1), which is ranked No. 2 in the Washington area.


Atholton will lose its softball field next season because of renovations to the school. Athletic director Chuck Fales said he is working on having the team play at Clemens Crossing Elementary.

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