Around The Area

Boys Track And Field

High School Sports

March 19, 2004

Anne Arundel County

Few coaches would disagree with the notion that Old Mill is the favorite to collect the county championship.

The Patriots, who have won the last three and 19 in the last 27 years, boast a wealth of talent seemingly everywhere and have the potential to score points in all 18 events outdoor track and field has to offer.

If Old Mill should stumble, however, look for Annapolis, county titlist in 1999 and 2000, to fill the void. The Panthers will be strengthened by the return of senior Derrick Wallace from a hamstring injury this past winter.

Arundel's sprint and distance corps should translate into points, while Southern-AA's emergence as a Class 2A power can't be overlooked.

Baltimore City

If tradition is a predictor of a program's success, then Mervo could have a lot to smile about this spring.

The Mustangs have captured five consecutive city titles and 12 of the last 13. Talent in the middle-distance races and a developing crew of sprinters suggest that Mervo will once again reign supreme.

Poly, which placed second to the Mustangs at the indoor track city championships this past winter, drew 21 athletes compared to 10 last season. The question is whether the Engineers' base in the sprints can overcome their lack of depth in the long-distance events.

Southern-B and Reginald Lewis also could play a role in determining this year's city champion.

Baltimore County

While teams get accustomed to the formation of two new divisions, one team that won't need any introduction is Woodlawn.

The Warriors are the favorites to secure their ninth straight county crown and win the county's new 4A-3A division.

Woodlawn's stiffest challenge in both quests could come from a pair of programs in Randallstown and Dulaney.

In the 2A-1A division, Chesapeake-B maintains a slight edge over Pikesville. Traditionally known for their strength in the sprints, the Bayhawks are in the process of developing a distance core.

Distance has become Pikesville's forte, which could make things sticky for Chesapeake-B. Hereford and Loch Raven could also make some waves.

Carroll County

Is this the year a new champion assumes the throne?

If the indoor season was an indication, Westminster's 23-year reign as the county's sole titlist could be coming to an end. But the Owls have shown a tendency to defy the doubters.

If Westminster falters, Winters Mill might be the next logical choice to inherit the mantle. The Falcons boast talent in virtually every running event, but there are concerns about an inexperienced group of performers in the field events.

South Carroll, which succumbed to Westminster by just three points last spring, might surprise people if it can nurture its sprinters.

And Century returns a veteran roster.

Harford County

Aberdeen pulled off a stunner when it upended perennial favorite C. Milton Wright for the county title. Is another surprise in the works?

The Eagles' depth in the sprint and distance events would make them a serious contender, but the loss of four-time county champion David Rollins to academic ineligibility could hurt Aberdeen.

Bel Air will return much of its county-winning cross country squad and depth in the throws could offset a weak sprint corps.

Joppatowne's balance might be enough to gloss over an inexperienced roster of 40 athletes.

In the end, however, everything could depend on the Mustangs. C. Milton Wright boasts the numbers to score in every event.

Howard County

The race for the county championship could be as crowded as Route 50 during the Memorial Day rush to Ocean City.

As many as four teams have a legitimate shot at collecting the county title, including reigning indoor county titlist Glenelg. But the loss of All-County selection Tim Burt (unspecified reasons) could hurt.

Oakland Mills won the crown two years ago, but needs to build a distance group to complement its strength in the sprints and relays.

Defending county champion Mount Hebron will field a roster of 65 athletes, but county triple jump champion Sean Martin is academically ineligible.

River Hill will try to bounce back from a disappointing indoor season.

Private schools

Clear some space in Mount St. Joseph's trophy display. A Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown could soon be on its way.

The Gaels, who haven't taken the title since 2001 but own three straight dual-meet crowns, boast an abundance of talent and can cultivate more from the 120 athletes who attend practice daily.

Calvert Hall, a four-time conference titlist, has less than 20 percent of Mount St. Joseph's roster, but the Cardinals' balance could go a long way to returning the team to its glory days.

In the B Conference, Cardinal Gibbons will seek to add its third consecutive title. Lutheran, which was the only team to defeat the Crusaders in a group meet last season, will pose a challenge.

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