Western runs title streak to 15

No. 1 Doves use balance

Mervo boys cruise to eighth straight crown

Baltimore City track and field championships

High Schools

May 16, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The top-ranked Western girls kept their streak going by winning the Baltimore City track and field championships yesterday at Poly. But unlike in years past, the Doves found themselves in a battle before pulling away to win their 15th straight city title.

Mervo's girls were trying to complete a Mustang sweep and gave Western problems. The No. 5 Mervo boys breezed to their eighth straight city crown and watched the girls lead for parts of the meet before Western's talent and depth outlasted the Mustangs.

Western finished with 160 points, ahead of second-place Mervo's 133.5. The Doves lost several performers from last year's team, forcing coach Jerry Molyneaux to ask younger athletes to step up -- and they did. Western has won every City title meet since 1990.

"We lost about six talented athletes, and I had to find points somewhere," Molyneaux said. "The pressure is not so much on the winning for us ... it's how each individual performs."

Molyneaux focused on the short sprints, hurdles and field events for points this year, and the Doves got plenty there yesterday. Sophomore Theresa Lewis won the 100 and 300-meter hurdles (14.44 seconds, 46.24), ran on Western's victorious 400 relay team and said the Doves are just trying to keep improving throughout the season.

"We're still a strong team," Lewis said. "We're trying hard just to get better. If we win, we want to win with good times and do well in our events."

Western got a lot of help from a lot of places, often scoring points in bunches in certain events. Lewis, Tashana Johnson and Kriston Hairston took first, second and third in the 100 hurdles. After that, Lewis, Latasha Wright and Nicole Stevenson finished first, third and fifth in the 300 hurdles.

Shalaiyah Sommerville won the 200 (25.04) for Western and took second in the 100, just ahead of Wright. Nicole Mathews and Zhandria Been finished first and second in the high jump, both at 4 feet, 8 inches. Been also took second in the shot put. Quantikia Stepney helped keep Mervo close. She swept the 800 (2:31.99), 1,600 (5:42.60) and 3,200 (14:06.56). She also ran on the winning 1,600 relay, helping the Mustangs score 40 of their 133.5 points.

Mervo won that 1,600 relay (4:15.11) and saw Joi Briscoe capture the triple jump (33 feet, 4 1/2 inches) while teammate Ebone Urquhart finished second.

Poly's Erica Turnbull won the shot put (34 feet, 4 1/4 inches) and discus (71 feet, 9 1/2 inches) for the host Engineers, the only other multi-event winner on the girls' side.

The Mervo boys didn't have nearly as much trouble as the Western girls. Again showing their balance in sprints, distance races and field events, the Mustangs rolled up 139 points, ahead of second-place Reginald Lewis (81).

Brandon Lynch, Julius Coleman and Orlando Brown led Mervo to the title. The trio combined for four first-place finishes and two seconds in their individual races -- and also helped the Mustang relay teams win three of the four relays, while taking second in the other.

Lynch is a senior and said that the city title streak doesn't add much pressure to the Mustangs; but it actually serves as a motivating point.

"You come to the track knowing what you have to do," Lynch said. "It gives us something to push for. We've been holding it for so long."

In years past, Mervo was often known as a team that got its points mostly from the sprints. But the Mustangs have changed in recent years and now find points from everywhere, making them more competitive at the regional and state level.

"You try to work toward your strengths," Mervo coach Ron Neal said. "But you have to be able to get points from other areas. You've got to have an all-around team to win."

Lynch won in the 400 (49.87) and took second in the 800. He also ran on the victorious 1,600 and 3,200-meter relay teams. Julius Coleman won the 800 (1:58.63) and 1,600 (4:38.09). He won by nearly 30 seconds in the 1,600 and also helped on the same two winnings relays as Lynch.

Brown won the 100 (11.50), finished second in the 200 and ran on the winning 800 relay and the second-place 400 relay team. Bryant Brown (3,200, 11:31.90) also won for the Mustangs.

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