Boys track field is wide open

Francis Scott Key, Liberty, Westminster and Century all could be in running for county championship

North Carroll girls heavily favored



While the fourth-ranked North Carroll girls appear to be the heavy favorite at today's Carroll County track and field championships at Century, on the boys side, only one thing is clear.

This is anybody's race.

"Four or five teams could be in it," Westminster coach Jeremiah Smith said.

Said Francis Scott Key coach Tim Walsh: "It will be close between Francis Scott Key, Liberty, Westminster and Century."

Key, which lost just one dual meet to a county opponent this year, has a chance to step up big in the meet, but with just 15 athletes on its roster, also has little margin for error.

"We have good athletes, but we have such a small team, so we really just have to step it up a notch," Walsh said. "Because we only have 15 athletes, everyone has to bring their `A' game."

Walsh said the Eagles must win both the 400- and 800-meter relays, and also need to score decent points in the 3,200 relay. Brad Martz, the Piedmont Conference champion in the 200 and second in the 100, conference shot put champion Josh Cole and distance standout Arthur Leathers also must have big days for Key.

Another team vying for the top spot could be Liberty, depending on the status of one of its top athletes. Standout Nick Hruch, the county's top high jumper and also one of its best competitors in the 1,600 and 300 hurdles, is hoping to compete after missing recent meets with a groin injury.

If he does, the Lions could have the edge.

"I'm pretty confident that he's going to be OK to go," Lions coach Bobby Ward said. "And if he goes, he's very strong in his events. But our biggest concern is regionals and states. We'd love to win counties, but we're not going to sacrifice anyone's chances to do well in regions or states."

Even without Hruch, Liberty took a strong third at the Piedmont Conference meet, just a point behind Francis Scott Key, as Jim Ridder (800), Andrew Cross (3,200), Brad Williams (long jump, triple jump) and the 3,200 relay team all took titles.

The Westminster boys are looking for big things after finishing second to Thomas Johnson at last week's Chesapeake Conference meet. Smith said that the Owls won't necessarily have to win many events, but will need to rack up points with numerous seconds, thirds and fourths.

"It needs to be a total team effort for us to hang in there and compete against Liberty and Francis Scott Key," Smith said. "We can't just rely on one person."

Though Rob Kelvey (3,200) and Jeff McConville (long jump, triple jump) were the Owls' lone conference champions, they finished fifth or higher in 12 of 18 events, raising the expectations of their coach.

"At the beginning of the year, I was just hoping we'd get third or fourth," Smith said, "but right now I think we have a good shot at competing."

Look for North Carroll and Century to have strong showings, as well.

The girls competition figures to be more one-sided.

North Carroll, coming off its win at last week Chesapeake Conference championships, is the heavy favorite. The Panthers upended Class 3A-2A indoor state champion Linganore, as distance standout Katie Hursey (800, 1600 and 3200) and sprinter and jumper Alexis Hurd (200 and long jump) combined for five individual titles.

A handful of teams, led by Winters Mill - third at last week's Piedmont Conference meet - will battle for second.

Pumping iron

Bowling Brook Prep School in western Carroll County will host the 25th annual Maryland State High School Boys Bench Press Championships on May 20. The event, which annually draws well over 100 entrants, is open to all male public and private school students in the state.

Competitors, divided into 12 weight classes, get three lifts during the course of the competition. After declaring an opening lift, they must increase at least five pounds for each additional try.

Awards are presented to the top three finishers in each class, the top three teams and the individual who presses the highest percentage of weight above his actual body weight.

The deadline for entry is Friday, with a fee of $10 per person. Entry forms are available at under the Current Events link.

Century rolls on

The skills and personalities of her players may change, but Century girls lacrosse coach Rose Pentz said that each year's group shares a common goal when it comes to playing against county competition.

"None of the teams that we have ever want to be the one to lose," Pentz said.

On May 2, the Knights sealed their fourth straight county title with a 20-9 win over Westminster - their 24th straight regular-season win over a county opponent.

"They don't want to be that one that falls, so they're very motivated by that," Pentz said. "They work hard in practice to continue that tradition."

Pentz said that while top scorers like midfielder Jenny Steadman and attacker Brittney Zerhusen have received most of the attention this season, it's been the work in the trenches by less-heralded players like midfielder Kelly Burgoyne that have kept the team on top.

"She's a huge factor in our transition game, and without those kinds of players, you don't have the Jennys or Brittneys scoring," Pentz said. "I just think that this year there's been solid effort by everyone on that field, all 12 of them."

Pentz said she's expecting her toughest competition in the upcoming regional playoffs to come from county rival Winters Mill - a team the Knights barely escaped in a matchup in March. In Century's 13-12 win, Winters Mill's Kristy Bosley scored to tie the game with one second left in regulation before Century's Jenny Steadman won it in overtime.

A year ago, the two teams met in the Class 2A-1A West regional final, which Century won.

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