River Hill's Stroup 15th at Nike meet

Senior `was struggling,' fades in one-mile run

Track and field

High Schools

March 11, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LANDOVER -- Heading into this weekend's 2002 Nike Indoor Classic Track Meet, River Hill senior Shane Stroup was believed to have the Baltimore-area's best chance at taking home an individual national title in the one-mile run.

But yesterday, the University of Florida-bound Stroup struggled at the start, could not recover and finished a disappointing 15th before a capacity crowd of 5,100 at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.

Running in the second and faster heat, Stroup was in last place from the beginning through the fourth lap. In the fifth lap he made his move to overtake two runners, but he fell back into last after the seventh lap and faded thereafter to finish in 4:30.42. That time was more than 14 seconds off the winning time of 4:16.14 by junior Bobby Curtis of Louisville, Ky., who is a repeat champion.

Oakland Mills senior Izudin Mehmedovic, who ran the final leg of the Scorpions' surprising victory in Saturday's 1,600-sprint medley, finished in 16th place in the mile with a time of 4:31.56. He placed seventh out of 10 in the first heat of the finals.

"I haven't had a meet that's this big throughout the whole season," Stroup said. "I've had a bunch of little meets. When you come out to a race like this, you're just not prepared, because you're not used to someone going out fast. I just wasn't used to it. Basically that's what happened today.

"I was struggling. It was really hard just trying to come back. The harder I tried, the heavier my legs got, and I just couldn't go anymore."

The Nike meet had more than 1,700 competitors from all over the nation and serves as the unofficial national championship of high school indoor track and field. Baltimore's top individual finisher was Western senior Mariama Gondo, who placed fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.75.

"I'm not too happy about my performance right now," Gondo said immediately after her race. "Being in a national competition, the place is good. But I wasn't very pleased with my time, so overall, I'm not happy. I really need to work on my start. Once I get my start, then I'll be set to go. I just didn't find my stroke today and didn't run the times that I had set for myself."

Other individual top-10 finishers included McDonogh senior Shomari Taylor (long jump) and Wilde Lake senior Alana Black (mile run).

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