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Veteran coaches try to get Spartans back on track

The Laurel High track program has had its share of standouts over the years, both in individual and relay events.

Angie Vaughn, who graduated from Laurel in 1994, was a standout at the University of Texas and was inducted into Texas Women’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Jarvis McClam ran track at Laurel as a three-sport athlete and was the Laurel Leader Male Athlete of the Year in 2013.

After losing several athletes to graduation in 2017, track coaches Brittany Everett and Michael Mayo are trying to increase the number of athletes in the program, while also hoping to eventually become a contender at the Class 4A level in Prince George’s County.

“Coach Mayo and myself are in the process of now rebuilding the program,” said Everett, who teaches at an elementary school in Adelphi. “This is our second season. I began in 2017 as the head coach in cross country.”

Everett also coached indoor and outdoor track at Laurel High in 2017-18 and has been with all three sports this academic year.

Mayo, also the head varsity football coach at Laurel, began coaching indoor track with the Spartans in 2017-18.

“We are combing the halls and trying to get more kids out for track,” Mayo said. “It is going pretty good. We were able to get some girls off the basketball team that like to run track. We are a lot more deeper; we had a veteran group of boys coming back.”

The Laurel boys 4 X 400 relay team was ranked third in the state last week. That relay team will take part in the historic Penn Relays in Philadelphia starting today.

“We are peaking at the right time,” Mayo said. “Hopefully we can go up there and run some good races and see what happens.”

Some of the top boys on the team are seniors Zachary Opond and Roland Agyemang and juniors Jaheem Williams and Markus Smith.

Opond finished in the top six in the high jump at the state level last year.

“He did really well,” Everett said.

Agyemang injured his finger during the indoor season in 2017-18 but has bounced back.

“He was not only able to run outdoors (in 2018) since he hurt his finger during the indoor season,” Everett said. “He had to undergo some surgeries.”

Agyemang has come back strong with a personal best of 2:08 in the 800-meter dash.

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“He is also a vital member of our 4 X 400 relay team, which was ranked after a meet at Northwestern on April 10,” she said.

The Laurel squad had a time of 3:29.58 and that was among the top 10 times in the state among both public and private schools.

Smith also runs the 200-meter dash, while Williams competes in the 400-meter dash.

Opond has run 39.33 in the 400-meter hurdles, which is ranked third in the state with all schools, and he has cleared 6-feet, 2 inches in the high jump.

Mayo began coaching football at Laurel for the 2016 season. He was the coach for state title track teams at Forestville and also helped coach track at Flowers High.

“We have gotten a couple of basketball players out for track. It is just a gradual process of building the program up,” he said of the Laurel program.

Everett grew up in Baltimore and was part of a state title team in track while at Western High in 2005. She ran cross country at Xavier University of Louisiana and after graduation was an assistant with the track program there.

She moved back to Maryland and was an assistant with the Wise High boys track program in the spring of 2017 before becoming the Laurel High cross country coach that fall.

“On a positive note the girls team is really young,” Everett said. “We have one senior on the entire girls team. Most of the team consists of juniors and sophomores, mostly sophomores. The girls are definitely a team to watch in the next year or so.”

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