Westminster track coach Bill Hill says Friday's Class 4A Region II championships will be some of the finest track ever in Carroll County.
Westminster's Stephanie Morningstar and Dulaney's Amanda White have a lot to do with that. The two will continue their rivalry in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter events. The meet is set to begin at 3 p.m. at Westminster High.
"Every once in awhile, you find two great athletes competing at the same time and that's the case here," Hill said. "Stephanie really had a stellar performance [in Monday's county championships] and will be ready to go. The true track and field fan won't want to miss this -- it should be great."
Last year at the regionals, White took all three distance races, with Morningstar taking three second-place finishes.
Both the Westminster boys and girls will be looking for third straight regional titles.
Hill is expecting a serious challenge from Eleanor Roosevelt of Pince George's County in both boys and girls competition, and he also believes the Dulaney (Baltimore County) girls will be in the hunt.
The Francis Scott Key boys will try to defend their Class 1A Region II title Friday at Catoctin High.
The Eagles again will be the favorites in the boys race, with Milford Mill of Baltimore County and Wilde Lake of Howard County contending.
After presiding over a solid second-place showing in the county meet Monday, Key coach John Seaman is expecting continued improvement from his girls in the regionals.
"We'll try to push up to third or fourth and try to qualify as many individuals as we can in the state meet. We're definitely moving in
the direction we want to," Seaman said.
Liberty or North Carroll are long shots to come away with region team titles in the Class 2A Region I meet beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at North Hagerstown.
Instead, both will look to advance several athletes to the state meet.
Liberty's Julie Cox should be strong in the sprints on the girls side, while North Carroll's Will Lerp could do the same in the --es for the boys.
The same could be said of South Carroll in the Class 3A, Region III meet Saturday morning at Linganore High. Denine Henderson should do well in the jumping events.
In other sports this week:
* The South Carroll baseball team (17-1) will begin its run for a state title by playing host to a Class 3A Region III semifinal-round game on Friday.
The top-seeded Cavs are ranked sixth in the metro area by The Baltimore Sun and will see Centennial, Randallstown or Bladensburg in the opening round.
If the Cavs get by the first round, they will take on the winner of the Thomas Johnson-Atholton game on Saturday.
South Carroll coach Joe Foltz got some good news Monday when senior pitcher Mike Downs threw two effective innings against Westminster in the regular season finale. Downs has been struggling all season with an ailing back.
"We'll go with Charlie [Kuykendall] and Mike as long as we can in the regional playoffs, Hopefully, we can keep Joey [Goodwin] and Steve [Schulze] fresh for states but if we need to go to them [in regionals] we can," Foltz said.
In the Class 4A Region II semifinal, fourth-seeded Westminster visits No. 1 seed and undefeated Perry Hall on Friday.
Perry Hall, 14-0, is ranked second in the metro area by The Baltimore Sun. Westminster will probably look to senior pitcher Rob Ruhlman to try to shut down the Perry Hall attack.
"He's a competitor," Westminster coach Carl Rihard said.
"He's just coming off an injury and had a bad outing on Monday against South Carroll, but if he's healthy on Friday, he'll likely go. When we have to win a ballgame, we like to see him on the mound."
It looks like Francis Scott Key will qualify for the Class 1A Region I playoffs, but their seeding was still in question yesterday. Final pairings will be set tonight.
Chances are the Eagles will see Sparrows Point of Baltimore County in the first round on Friday.
* Three county softball teams have qualified for regional play on Thursday.
North Carroll is seeded second and will play host to third-seeded Southern (Garrett County), while fourth-seeded Liberty meets top-seeded Glenelg (Howard County).
The winners will meet in the regional finals on Saturday.
The Panthers (13-7) finished the second half of the regular season on a strong note and again look primed to make a solid run at another state title. A year ago, they captured the Class 3A title before moving to 2A this year.
The Lions (7-10) should have their hands full against Glenelg, which finished the regular season at 13-2.
Francis Scott Key, 11-5 entering its final regular season game against Middletown yesterday [after press time], also qualified for the regional playoffs on Thursday. Final pairings and an official time will be determined tonight.
* The District V Tennis Championships will take place this Friday and Saturday at Chesapeake High in Anne Arundel County.
Carroll will send its top three qualifiers from yesterday's county tournament in boys and girls singles, boys and girls doubles, and mixed doubles (See story, Page 13). Even though this will mark the second season in which three county competitors will advance instead of the previous limit of two, area coaches remain critical of the district system.
Tennis and golf are the only sports in the state that still compete by districts, taking into consideration only location -- not the size of the school.
"I don't think it's fair," said South Carroll coach Jim Carnes. "We're in the toughest district in the state already, and I don't think these kids should be playing kids from 4A schools."
Area coaches say they will continue to push for regional competitions, in which schools of equal size compete.
District V includes teams from Carroll, Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel counties. Schools of all classifications will compete together, and the top two finishers in each event will advance to the state tournament the following week at the University of Maryland at College Park.
& 3UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All times p.m. unless noted) Thursday
Softball: Class 2A Region I semifinals: Southern (Garrett County) North Carroll, 4; Liberty at Glenelg, 4; Class 1A Region II
semifinals: Francis Scott Key vs. opponent TBA
Baseball: Class 4A Region II semifinals: Westminster at Perry Hall, 4; Class 3A Region III semifinals: Opponent TBA at South Carroll, 4; Class 1A Region II semifinals: Francis Scott Key vs. opponent TBA
Tennis: District V tournament at Chesapeake High
Track: Class 4A, Region II championships at Westminster, 3; Francis Scott Key at Class 1A, Region II championships at Catoctin, 3:30
Baseball: Regional finals at the higher seeds, TBA
Softball: Regional finals at the higher seeds, TBA
Tennis: District V tournament at Chesapeake High
Track: South Carroll at Class 3A, Region III championships at Linganore, 10 a.m.; Liberty/North Carroll at Class 2A, Region I championships at North Hagerstown.