Francis Scott Key kicks out rust

With indoor season suspended, Eagles get later start than foes

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March 21, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Matt Kutcher is a little bit frustrated but a lot more worried.

The Francis Scott Key senior isn't happy that Smithsburg senior David McDougal won the Class 2A-1A state indoor title last month in the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 2 inches - a mark that is two inches shorter than what Kutcher registered to win the same crown two winters ago.

But he also knows that McDougal and other high jump participants have a head start over Kutcher because the Eagles' indoor track and field program was placed on hiatus by the Carroll County school in November.

"All these guys have a jump on me," he said. "We just jumped for the first time [last Wednesday]. So we're rusty."

Rust could be an obstacle for Francis Scott Key, which had its boys and girls indoor teams suspended for the winter because it didn't have an indoor facility in which to practice, and school officials weren't thrilled with the idea of athletes running through the hallways.

The layoff is not new, according to Angie Green. Green, who coaches the Eagles boys outdoor squad and had coached the indoor team for five years, recalled that Francis Scott Key didn't field a team during the winter when she was a student at the school in the late 1980s.

In fact, Green said the break between the cross country season in the fall and outdoor track in the spring actually motivated her.

"I had a bigger hunger to run outdoor track," she said. "There were plenty of years when it wasn't offered and plenty of kids won [individual] championships. It depends on how much the kids want to put into it."

Brian Leiter is one Eagles runner who thinks the layoff has been a blessing. The sophomore said he took a few months off from training after competing in cross country and returned to his training regimen in January with gusto.

"I think it's kind of an advantage for us because we've been resting while people have been training and running," said Leiter, who ran four to six miles daily on the roads around the school. "We're fresh and stronger."

Kutcher also maintained his conditioning by lifting weights and using plyometrics - exercise routines designed to increase strength and flexibility. An opportunity to help the Francis Scott Key boys squad win its first county championship and take a shot at a Class 2A state title in the high jump has convinced Kutcher to give up baseball this spring.

"We're definitely going to compete," he said. "They're not going to walk all over us."

Frankie Wright soars

Frankie Wright didn't take up the triple jump until he was 13 years old. Now the event could take him farther than he imagined.

Wright, an All-Metro senior at Mervo, has an opportunity to win three straight Class 4A state crowns in the triple jump.

It's an opportunity that Wright - who is being recruited by Florida, Miami and North Carolina - hardly expected to be available to him.

"I never thought I'd be in the position that I'm in," he said. "I thought I'd be good, but I didn't think I'd do that great."

Wright, who won the 2001 state title in the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet, 7.5 inches and last year's championship with a mark of 46 feet, 2.5 inches, said the triple jump isn't even his favorite event. He prefers the long jump, which doesn't require as much energy or technique.

Wright, however, acknowledged that a sprained right ankle that he suffered while playing basketball in November has bothered him enough to avoid practicing the triple jump all winter.

Wright said the ankle, which is still swollen and doesn't feel fully recovered, has tempered his thoughts about winning the triple jump.

"I'll be a little anxious knowing that it's still weak," he said. "I don't want to hurt it again."

Waithe picks Michigan

Loch Raven sprinter Stann Waithe has orally committed to continuing his track and field career at Michigan next year.

Waithe, a senior who is a two-time All-Metro selection, chose the Wolverines over California, Duke and Princeton.

"I took a visit up there and met the coaching staff," he said. "I'm in a small high school, and it's a big college. It's something different than what I'm used to."

Waithe said he hopes to run the 200- and 400-meter dashes for Michigan while majoring in pre-medicine.

"I know I'm going to be working hard in academics and athletics," he said. "It's going to be a challenge."

In another college signing, Gilman senior Ross Taylor has committed to Bucknell.

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