Howard, Hammond and Glenelg again look like the top girls outdoor track teams, with Centennial not far behind.
And Atholton and Oakland Mills hope to take great strides this season.
Howard won county, region and state titles last year but the loss of sprinters Jenny McClanahan and Diedre Presley to graduation will be hard to replace.
Sophomore sensation Mona Jackson and senior Camille Powell will be the top point-getters for the Lions.
As a freshman, Jackson won the state high jump at 5 feet, 1 inch, was second in the state triple jump at 35-1 3/4 and third in the state long jump at 15-5 1/2 . Her best high jump is 5-3 and best long jump is 16-0.
Powell won the state triple jump at 35-2 and will run distance events and the 300 hurdles.
The Lions also have senior sprinter Tori Mills, fourth in the state 200. She had the third-fastest 200 in the Baltimore area last season at 26.5. But Mills is nursing a pulled hamstring. She also runs the 100 and 400.
Senior Nicolle Showell is expected to score points in the 100 and 200 as well. She was fifth in both events at the county meet last season.
Sophomore Melissa Williamson should
add greatly to Howard's chances of repeating as county champ. She played softball last spring, but ran indoor track this winter and won the state high-jump title at 5-0.
Senior Laurine Sanders finished third in the state long jump at 15-3 last season, and she throws 30 feet in the shot put. She also hurdles.
Howard coach Joe Thomas also has junior Kim Taylor and sophomore Tracy Foster throwing shot, and Taylor looks strong in the discus.
Sophomore Rebecca Powell is a threat to score points in the 3,200.
Hammond finished second in the county last spring, but hopes to improve.
Junior Kisha Jett won the state 100, 200 and 400 for the second straight year. She may run the 100 hurdles this season instead of long jumping.
Senior Samantha Andersch is a three-time defending champion in the county 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Junior Melanie White is the returning county champion in the 100 hurdles and finished fourth in the high jump and triple jump.
Sophomore Monica Stevens will run the 200 and triple jump.
Seniors Tracy Baumgardner and Royette St. Jean will throw the shot and discus.
Hammond finished first in its region and fourth in the state last season. The
Bears never have won a state title but were runners-up twice.
Glenelg finished third in the county and fifth in the state last season, but is coming off a state indoor championship.
Junior Alisha Adams, injured last season, returns as a premier 1,600 and 3,200 runner.
She's joined by junior Erin Hemler and seniors Liz Pagel and Kelly Pelovitz in distance events.
Junior Mary Rose Rankin should help the Gladiators in the high, long and triple jumps.
Senior Debbie Snyder will be a top point-getter in the shot and discus. She was third in the state in both events last season.
Junior Marguerite Rupsis will run the hurdles along with sophomore Lindsey Rupp. Rupsis was second in the state intermediate hurdles last season.
Senior Cheryl Seymour will run the 400 and some relays have seniors Amy Ashby and Claudine Tiffault will run sprint events.
Centennial is rebuilding, but sixth-year coach Beth Brown is excited about the group's positive attitude.
:. "It's rare to get a team with this kind of
attitude and we've made a top-three finish our goal," Brown said.
Two of the top Eagles performers will be junior sprinter and jumper Jennifer McManus and senior hurdler and sprinter Wendy Johnston.
McManus finished fourth in the county high jump and long jump last season. Her 5-foot high jump was a school record. She finished second in the state indoor high jump at 4-10.
Johnston finished fourth in both the county 100 and 300 hurdles.
Brown is counting heavily on junior Allison Hoover in the 400 and 800.
Senior Ha Lam returns after finishing sixth in the regional 3,200.
Oakland Mills coach Ciarin Lesikar has reason to hope his team will make great strides toward being competitive among the county's top teams.
Junior Nina Tucker will run the 100, 200 and 400. Senior Kristi Avery will run the 400 and 800.
Senior Tyann Blissett may be the fastest sprinter in the county and junior Amanda Beckenstein is the fastest improving distance runner in the county.
Sophomore Lauren McHargue will throw discus and shot. Junior Nancy Brown will triple jump and junior Alisha Brown will run the 300 hurdles.
Lesikar has three newcomers he thinks may contribute, including freshmen sprint
ers Renita McCoy and Ginny Dye and junior sprinter Melissa Singleton.
Atholton has 32 girls on its team -- up from the 14 it had two years ago and the 18 it had last season.
"We're diversified but young," coach Graydon Webster said. "We have a lot of good freshmen."
Junior Gail Hodges provides experience in the 1,600 and 3,200. Junior Cathy Gardner returns to throw the shot and discus. Senior Cece Butler is a hurdler. And sophomore Ammera El Sawi looks strong in hurdles, sprints and jumps.
Mount Hebron had a nice turnout of 30 girls and is strong in distance running.
Junior distance runner Erin Gibbons and senior hurdler Bonnie Hoffman are the team's top performers.
Wilde Lake has 14 girls, its largest turnout in three years.
Coach Karen Sutkaytis has several promising freshmen and sophomores.
Sophomore Adele Chenier was fifth in the state 100 last season and will run the 200 and 400.
Freshman sprinter Tominka Howard and freshmen middle-distance runner Shanita Miller are both counted on for big things.
Sophomore Kristin Riismandel is a proven middle-distance runner, and junior Stephanie Sharps gives the Wildecats a good hurdler.