Hammond's Smith runs to repeat

Senior sprinter says she'll be working `twice as hard' to keep titles

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Girls Track

High Schools Sports

Spring Preview

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

Hammond senior ShadM-i Smith knows there's a target on her burgundy jersey. Winning two events at last spring's Class 2A state championships has a tendency of attracting attention.

"I'm sort of the bull's-eye," said Smith, who won the 100- and 200-meter dashes last year. "I know I'm the one to beat. So it makes me work twice as hard to keep the titles."

Smith is one of three returning local athletes who won multiple individual events - all at last spring's Class 2A state championship meet. Atholton senior Lindsay Grigoriev captured the 100-meter high hurdles, shot put and discus throw, while Edgewood senior Lauren Dunn won the long and triple jumps.

Winning accolades has its advantages - adoration from teammates and fans, publicity from media outlets and recruiting mail from colleges. But for Grigoriev and Smith, the drive to repeat their state title efforts means increased training.

Both athletes have doubled their regimens, adding an extra workout to the sessions they participate in with their teammates. All told, the two average four- to five-hour training routines five days a week.

"There is a little pressure," Grigoriev said of the expectations. "There's a little bit of `I'm a senior now. I was a junior then. I should be able to do more things.' But I have to be realistic. ... . You can't let that get to you."

Dunn took a different approach to her conditioning. A two-sport athlete in track and basketball, Dunn added volleyball in the fall to stay in shape and strengthen the muscles in her legs.

All three athletes said they hope to win, but would be satisfied if they improved on last year's marks.

"It would be a great accomplishment," Smith said of duplicating last year's results. "But you can't think about the outcome. You just have to keep pushing."

Pole-vault change

Following the lead of the public schools, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland - the governing body of female athletics for 30 private and parochial schools in the Baltimore metropolitan area - will categorize the pole vault as a non-scored event beginning next year.

Athletes will be allowed to compete in the pole vault and receive medals and ribbons for their placements. But the results will not be tabulated in the team points.

Beth Ahearn, the executive director of the IAAM, said the measure was approved recently by the schools' principals and headmasters after a majority of their coaches complained that the pole vault benefited two programs that had consistent access to practice the event.

"We didn't want it to be used as a tiebreaker to put a team over the top by simply clearing the opening height," Ahearn said. "That's what was happening. ... With only two teams participating, it didn't seem that was fair."

Mount de Sales has been the primary benefactor of the pole vault, defeating Maryvale Prep by 0.5 points and Bryn Mawr by two points in the last two indoor conference championships.

The Sailors have an agreement to practice the pole vault at Mount St. Joseph. McDonogh expanded its pole-vault pits in accordance with updated regulations issued by the National Federation of State High School Associations last summer.

The decision angered McDonogh junior Mackenzie Paull, who is a two-time conference indoor champion in the pole vault and placed third at last spring's IAAM championships.

"Other girls' schools could have access to a pole-vaulting facility if they truly wanted it," Paull said. "The IAAM is taking the easy way out, and in the process, unfairly denying the women in our league of the sport."

Ahearn said a stagnant number of participants, fewer instructors and a lack of practice sites spurred the move.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association classified the pole vault as a non-scoring event last fall. The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association - the male equivalent of the IAAM - is the only conference to include individual pole-vault results in team scoring because schools made the financial commitment to upgrade the pit area.

Dobbs steps down

After spending five years building Broadneck's outdoor track program as one of the best in the area, Dana Dobbs is stepping down from his coaching role this spring as the team's coach.

Dobbs, a triathlete who also coaches the Bruins' cross country and indoor track teams, elected to resign this season for personal reasons.

"There were things that were happening in my life that deserved my undivided attention," said Dobbs, who will be succeeded by longtime assistant Joe Deak. "There were times when I thought to myself, `No, I will just continue. It's all I've ever known.' But as the time drew closer, I knew that it would be either now or possibly never."

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