Hurdler Robert Sharps summed up the feeling of the Hammond High boys track team after it captured the county championship Thursday at Oakland Mills.
"Glenelg beat us in indoor [for the county championship] this year, and Oakland Mills beat us outdoor last year, so we thought it was our turn," Sharps said.
Sharps defended his individual county titles in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, and led a contingent of hurdlers and jumpers that were so dominant they almost single-handedly provided Hammond its winning margin.
Hammond's Andre Boone ran second to Sharps in both hurdles events, and teammate Kris Jefferson ran third in the 110 and fifth in the 300 hurdles.
Jefferson captured the long jump with Boone second, and Hammond's Andrew Tetteh defended his triple jump title with Sharps second and teammate James Dinkins fifth.
Those four events added up to 84 points for Hammond out of its winning total of 114. Glenelg finished a close second with 102 points.
The Gladiators took it to the final event, the pole vault. Glenelg had three vaulters and Hammond none. Had Glenelg finished one-two-three in that event it would have tied Hammond for the title.
But Oakland Mills' Todd Colby finished first at 12 feet, 6 inches, and Atholton's Rob Reese was second at 12 feet. Glenelg's trio of Andrew Melick, Jason Botterill and Aaron Browning each jumped 11-6.
One Bear who made a significant and unexpected contribution was Lars Umjhem, who finished second in the discus, scoring eight team points. Umjhem also placed sixth in the shot.
"Lars really helped us," Hammond coach Pete Hughes said. "The county championship was our goal, and next week in the regionals we'll just be trying to position our guys for states. The county title is much more prestigious than a regional title."
Tetteh, in addition to winning the triple jump, finished fourth in the high jump and fifth in the 400 --.
Hammond fared poorly in the four relay events, with its best effort a third place in the 400. And the Bears scored only two points in the 100, 200 and 400 sprints and nothing in the distance runs of 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
But even with such limitations, the Bears managed to win their second county title in three years.
Glenelg's Gerard Hogan won the meet's Iron Man Award as he captured gold medals in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 runs and anchored the winning 3200 relay team.
Hogan ran a blazing 2-minute final leg in the 3,200 relay as he overtook an Oakland Mills runner down the stretch.
Hogan was hard-pressed in the 800 by Howard's Chris O'Gwin, pTC as the two dueled shoulder-to-shoulder for the final 100 yards before Hogan won by three-tenths of a second.
Glenelg also won the 1,600 relay, and Jeff Slack captured the high jump with a fine 6-4 effort.
Oakland Mills finished third with 94 points, winning the 800 relay, pole vault (won by Colby), 200 run (Shandar Marioner) and shot put (Justin Wethington).
The Scorpions also took second in the 400 relay, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay, high jump (Mike Phillips) and 400 -- (Marioner).
Wilde Lake, a team that has struggled in recent years, usually finishing near last place, vaulted into fourth place this year with 86 points.
The Wildecats displayed the three best sprinters at the meet, Andre Martin, Craig Butler and Reggie Alston.
Martin, a senior transfer who starred in football and basketball, won the 100 and 400 and anchored Wilde Lake's winning 400 relay. He also was favored to win the 200 but false-started and was disqualified.
Martin, Butler and Alston ran 1-2-3 in the 100 and 1-2-4 in the 400. Butler and Alston ran 2-3 in the 200.
Centennial finished sixth with 56 points and Atholton sixth with 55 points. Centennial's only champion was Bill Woodford in the discus. Atholton didn't have a champion.
Boys team standings: 1. Hammond, 114; 2. Glenelg, 102; 3. Oakland Mills, 94; 4. Wilde Lake, 86; 5. Centennial, 56; 6. Atholton, 55; 7. Howard, 44; 8. Mount Hebron 6.