Old Mill has established itself as the county's team to beat in baseball this year with its experience, pitching depth and solid lineup.
The Patriots got off to a 2-0 start in nonleague games last week in preparation for the start of this week's county schedule.
No. 2 Old Mill opened with victories over defending Class 4A East region champion and perennial Charles County power Thomas Stone, 17-8, and then defeated No. 7 Archbishop Spalding, 8-5.
"It's early, but this team has to establish its own identity," said Old Mill's 27th-year coach, Mel Montgomery. "We can't live on what last year's team did or the year before that. They have to establish their own identity and need to get a little bit more intensity."
Old Mill was 18-5 and ranked No. 4 in The Sun's final poll for 2004 after winning its third Class 4A state title under Montgomery in 2003.
Norton going all out
Fresh off an All-County season in indoor track and field, South River senior Troy Norton showed little signs of slowing down at his school's Seahawk Invitational on Saturday.
Norton, the reigning county champion in the 55-meter indoor hurdles, swept the hurdles events in the invitational, winning the 110 highs in 15.16 seconds and the 300 intermediates in 41.8.
Old Mill had a trio of winners in senior Kyle Rauser, who took the 800 in 2 minutes, 6 seconds; senior Ryan Dunmore, who captured the long jump at 17 feet, 11 1/2 inches, and senior Ethan Burney, who won the triple jump at 40 feet, 7 inches.
Burney also placed second in the 110 high hurdles (15.7), and his teammates, senior Isiah Johnson and junior Steve Holmes, finished second in the long jump (17 feet, 10 inches) and 400 (51.6), respectively.
Annapolis junior Carlos Perkins was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (44.6).
Annapolis freshman Jessica Tongue recorded a pair of victories, too. She won the 100 in 13.0 and the 300 intermediate hurdles in 50.2.
Old Mill junior Ashley Rucker placed second in the shot put (32 feet, 1 inch), senior Jessica Dailey tied for second in the long jump (13 feet, 3 1/2 inches), senior Erica Gonzalez was a runner-up in the 100 high hurdles (17.3 seconds), and senior Erin Wilkerson finished second in the triple jump (27 feet, 10 inches).
Severn junior Emily Oliver placed second in the 1,600 (5:46).
Severna Park sharp
Severna Park, the defending state Class 4A-3A and county boys lacrosse champion, opened its season with an 11-6 win in Harwood over Southern (3-1) Friday night.
Frank Taglienti, a junior attackman, led the Falcons with four goals.
"Frankie is not the fastest guy on the field. He's defnitely not the tallest nor the biggest or strongest, but he puts himself in the right positions to score goals," said Severna Park coach Jim Beardmore.
"And that's about discipline, being in the right place at the right time."
Another Falcons standout is goalie Mike Gvozden. The junior, a two-time All-County selection, had 11 saves to keep the Falcons in control.
The 14th Friends of Joe Cannon Baseball Scholar-Athlete Dinner is set for June 5 at LaFontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie.
Each of the county's 16 baseball-playing schools nominates a scholar-athlete, and the Friends of Cannon committee selects three winners for monetary scholarships.
A $3,000 prize is the top award, followed by $2,000 and $1,000 scholarships.
Frank "Jocko" Svoboda, an umpire for nearly 50 years, has been raising sponsor money for the dinner.
For information on sponsorship, call Svoboda at 410-761-0642.