Boys Indoor Track: Knights aiming for 4th straight county title

Century's Tyrice Rock hands off to Keegan Lortie during 4x100 meter relay practice Monday in Eldersburg.
Century's Tyrice Rock hands off to Keegan Lortie during 4x100 meter relay practice Monday in Eldersburg. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

ELDERSBURG - There is no denying that senior Julian Woods has played a big role in the sustained run of success for the Century boys indoor track and field team.

A versatile athlete capable of scoring 30 or more points at almost any meet, Woods participates in the individual and relay sprint events, but is also capable of high jumping when necessary.

While his individual efforts have certainly played a role in the Knights recent achievements, it is the depth of the Century team that has them aiming for their fourth straight county title today at Hagerstown Community College.

"Depth is almost paramount to what we have going forward here," Knights coach Tony Griner said. "Our weaknesses are just becoming stronger and stronger.

"I think the depth is felt most when you have success with your relays. You can have a superstar, but if you have three kids that are not so good, the relays won't be that good."

The Knights edged Francis Scott Key 101.5-95 last year, but the Eagles have lost a lot of scorers from that team and knocking off Century looks like a tall task for the other seven county teams.

Saying the Knights have a bit of depth - or many weaknesses - is a big understatement. Century has a top-three performer in every event on the schedule and multiple athletes in the top three in six different events.

They also have the top three - Julian Woods, Tyrice Rock and Keegan Lortie - sprint performances in the county this season.

Junior distance runner John Mead said he feels that having such a deep team enables some of the athletes to narrow their focus.

"I know we have a lot of solid people in each event. I just know that I need to push myself as well because I need as many points for our team as I can get because that is what everyone else is doing," Mead said.

The results may not look all that different this year because only three event winners from last year have moved on. North Carroll's Matt Smith (500-meter dash), Winters Mill's Alex Warfield (800 run) and Francis Scott Key's Brandon Stearns (pole vault) were the only seniors to win individual golds at last year's county meet.

With state title aspirations - Griner guided the Knights to an indoor state title in 2011 - the Knights are focused on the county meet, but they know there is more to come after that.

"Track doesn't have a win-loss record so you have to have a way to motivate our kids to achieve good things regardless of the meet," Griner said. "The challenge for us now is putting them in the best possible situation for regionals. We are chasing times, not opponents.

"The points will take care of themselves."