Will the skies ever break while the Steve Duckworth relays are under way?
"Yeah, tomorrow," Glenelg coach Roger Volrath said.
That's not soon enough. For the 13th time in their 14-year history, the relays encountered hostile weather, Volrath said.
It wasn't a pleasant experience for the eight Howard County schools debuting in the 1993 outdoor track season yesterday at Glenelg. Carroll County's Liberty High also participated.
Burdened with rainy, cold and windy conditions, Atholton was the most successful, capturing four boys and four girls events. Oakland Mills' boys and Glenelg's girls, hot off Class 2A state indoor track championships, also won four events apiece. Team scores were not kept.
Overall, the boys and girls competed in 15 and 14 events, respectively. The boys had nine track and six field outings, and the girls had one fewer field event because they do not compete in the pole vault.
Atholton's boys took first in the 1,600-meter medley, discuss, triple jump and pole vault. The Raiders finished fifth in the state indoor meet, and coach Pat Saunderson is "optimistic about being at the top of the county" in 1993.
With long-distance runner Bryan Townsend, pole vaulter Omar El Sawi and sprinter Mike Strickland, "we've got a good combination of distance, sprint and field events for the first time in several years," Saunderson said.
Oakland Mills coach Sam Singleton said that his boys are realistically eyeing a state title. The Scorpions, with talented sprinters and long-distance runners, were tops in the 800, 1,600, 3,200 relay and hurdle sprint relay. Singleton said his team is looking ahead to Saturday's Gilman Relays, where "there should be some real good competition."
A strong Glenelg girls team won the discuss,1,600 relay, sprint medley and distance medley. Atholton's girls placed first in the 3,200 relay, hurdle sprint relay, high jump and triple jump. Howard's girls, state 3A champions last season, won one event.
"We'll be in the top three or four [in the state]," Glenelg girls coach Bill Godwin said. "We don't have a lot of depth, so if someone gets hurt, we're in a lot of trouble."
Poor weather made the relays so risky that Hammond and Howard pulled out early for fear of sickness or injury.
"We just look at this as a workout," Singleton said. "The weather's always ridiculous, if it's not raining then it's always snowing. It jeopardizes kids with injuries, and we just hope that everybody stays healthy."
Godwin said: "I don't think anybody approaches this meet as winning or losing, this just kicks off the track season. Every year, when we go home after this, we just sort of laugh at the weather."