Atholton girls denied 2A crown

Smith disqualified because of pacing

Thompson's record boosts Howard boys

Track and field

High schools


The state championship meet was one that the Howard boys and Atholton girls will remember -- for vastly different reasons.

For No. 8 Howard, Joey Thompson set a Class 2A state meet record in the 1,600 meters yesterday at Morgan State after winning the 3,200 Thursday. Teammate Chris Brewington also had a big day as the two combined to help score 48 points and give the Lions their first state title in 11 years.

The No. 7 Atholton girls didn't have as much fun. Going for a second consecutive state crown, the Raiders finished third with 55 points behind Class 2A champion Central (61) and McDonough (56).

But Atholton's loss was made more painful by a controversial ruling that disqualified Alison Smith in the 1,600 meters. Smith won the race and appeared to have given the Raiders 10 points, but teammate Tatyana McFadden, who had taken legal action to be allowed to compete in her wheelchair with other athletes, stayed just ahead of her throughout.

McFadden was ruled to have been "pacing" Smith and both competitors were disqualified. Those 10 points proved crucial as the Raiders would have won by five points.

Pacing is defined by the U.S. Track and Field Association as the conveying of advice, information or direct help to an athlete by any means, including a technical device.

"The hardest thing is we're going to lose the 2A state championship because of a technicality, in my book," said Atholton athletic director Chuck Fales. "It's just unfortunate."

Both Eastern Tech and Hereford appealed Smith's victory, alleging that McFadden was "pacing" Smith. State track and field referee Robert "Bo" Myers denied that initial appeal, but a second group, the Jury of Appeals, made up of members of the State Games Committee in the other three classes, overturned the ruling and race -- and eventually the championship.

Smith also won the 800 yesterday after taking the 3,200 on Thursday but seemed more upset at the one that was taken away.

"I was surprised," said Smith, who found out just before taking the track for the 800. "I was crushed."

McFadden's legal team had pushed the State Attorney General's office to let her compete with able-bodied runners in the 1,600 when she originally wasn't scheduled to. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association eventually agreed to it around the middle of the week.

McFadden was scheduled to compete in a type of "pilot 400 meters" race, which took place with her and one other athlete. The Atholton coaches were upset at the disqualification and wrote a long note expressing their discontent, basically appealing the appeal, but Myers said the Jury of Appeals ruling is final.

The Howard boys had a better day. After taking second place in the Howard County meet earlier this month and winning the Class 2A South Region last weekend for a second consecutive year, the Lions rallied late to take the state championship.

Thompson won his two races and took fourth in the 800. His time of 4:17.24 set the new mark for Class 2A runners in the state meet.

"We just pulled out some amazing stuff today," Thompson said. Brewington also stayed busy. He ran on the victorious 400 relay team with Jude Yearwood, Marcus Randolph and Matt Harvey that gave the Lions 10 points and pushed them into first place for good. They then added a second-place finish in the final event, the 1,600 relay, to lock up the title.

But Brewington also finished second in the 400, fourth in the 200 and fifth in the 100, combining with Thompson to play a big role in the championship.

"Nobody thought coming in that we had a shot at winning this," Brewington said. "I don't even think most of us knew we could win this."

In Class 4A, the Largo girls won the state title with 83 points. Eleanor Roosevelt would have won easily with 159 points, but the school had been disqualified from competing as a team for the championship earlier this month although runners could compete individually.

Chesapeake of Anne Arundel County was the highest local finisher, tying for sixth place with 17 points.

Oxon Hill won the boys Class 4A crown with 82 points. Other local winners included Eastern Tech's Meg Foley, who moved up to first in the 800 after the Smith disqualification. The Loch Raven boys (1,600) and Reservoir girls (400) both scored wins in Class 2A relays.

In Class 2A, Michelle Newman of Eastern Tech won the long jump and Jordan Wike (Winters Mill, pole vault), Denard Drew (Lansdowne, triple jump) and Bethany Perna (Winters Mill, pole vault) all won.

Justin Murdock (Glen Burnie, 100 meters), Adam Sedlak (C. Milton Wright, pole vault) and Jessica Stadler (Perry Hall, pole vault) each had wins in the 4A events.

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