Hammond or Oakland Mills should win the county boys outdoor track championship this season, but Howard and Centennial will put pressure on.
Hammond, the defending county champion, has two major scoring weapons in hurdler Robert Sharps and jumper Kris Jefferson. Both are seniors.
Sharps, seventh in 55-meter hurdles at the National High School Indoor championships, should win the 110 and 300 hurdles and will compete in the triple jump and on a relay team. At the states last season, Sharps won the 110, was second in the 300 and fourth in the triple jump.
Jefferson, fifth in the state long jump and triple jump last season, will tackle those events again as well as both hurdles events.
"We'll be strong in the hurdles, jumps and discus," coach Pete Hughes said.
Hammond's Lars Umnjem finished third in the county in the discus last season and teammate Ryan Pollock was fourth.
The Bears have a bunch of promising sprinters, including Kelvin Stevens, John White, Gregory St. Jean and Willie McGriff. McGriff, a transfer from Springbrook, is also a 40-feet-plus triple jumper.
John Bussiere finished fifth in the county 1,600 last season.
Jason Lapin, Sean Drinan and Jason Myatt are first-year high jumpers. And sophomore Anthony Montgomery is a promising hurdler.
"We're looking beyond the county and region and think we have a good chance at winning states," said Hughes.
Last season, Hammond finished second in the region and fourth at states. The Bears never have won a state title.
Oakland Mills will give Hammond strong competition all the way through the states. The Scorpions are coming off a tremendous indoor track season in which they won county, region and state titles by comfortable margins.
The Scorpions also beat Hammond while winning the regional outdoor title last season.
Oakland Mills' strengths will be in the --es, middle distance, relays and shot put.
Damon Ferguson, a junior, maybe the premier sprinter in the county and finished fourth at the indoor state meet in the 300. He'll run the 100, 200 and 400. He was sixth in the state 100 outdoors last season.
"He's legit," coach Sam Singleton said. Ferguson has run 10.7 in the 100, 21.0 in the 200 and 49.0 in the 400.
Juniors Eric Larsen and Xavier Briscoe and senior Josh Tripp give the Scorpions a trio of talented 800 runners. Greg Curtis, Mike Hart and Chris Killian are potential point-getters in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Wade McHargue, second in the state indoor shot at 51-10 1/2 , leads a trio of shot putters that includes Peter Goursis and Robert Healy. McHargue also throws the discus.
Joss Paddock is an 11-6 pole vaulter who'll score some points in that event.
Howard is coming off a state Class 3A indoor second-place finish and has picked up six basketball players to fortify its chances at an outdoor title.
"We're a possible contender because of our balance," coach Dave Glenn said. "We should finish in the top three for sure."
Basketball star Javier Michaux was a 6-4 high jumper in North Carolina. Basketball teammates Aaron Graf and Kevin Daniels will compete in the triple jump. Three other basketball players, Kirk Wise, Jamaal Tyler and Brian Bush, will compete in sprints along with returning sophomore Jason Stephens and first-year senior Stan Charity.
Senior Chris O'Gwin is running well in the 1,600 and 3,200. Senior Brad Subat is in the same events. Dave Kratz and Darold Demmon are two others who could score points in distance events.
Returning sophomores Shane Sanders, Jeremy Marsh and Jerreme Aldrich give the Lions experience in the hurdles.
And Jim McClellan, a junior who has jumped 12-0, should finish at least second in the pole vault.
The Lions have junior Matt Allen in the shot and discus.
Another team hoping to finish among the top three is Centennial.
A trio of junior high jumpers is the core of the team. James Koehler won the state indoor high jump at 6-4. Matt Kirkpatrick has jumped 6-4. And Todd Marks has done 5-10. Koehler also will triple jump and Kirkpatrick will long jump.
Seniors Nate Bucks and Mark James lead a talented bunch of distance runners that includes juniors Bob Van Allen, Tom Mazcko, Theron Sutton and Steve Olenick.
Senior Alex Gralia and junior Allen Alejandro should produce points in the pole vault. Gralia can triple jump and run the 400. Alejandro sprints and long jumps.
Others who will help include seniors Alex Stroup (hurdles, relays), Warren Grace (discus, 400, triple jump), Lawrence Holmes (pole vault), juniors Bill Parham (shot put) and Vince Gruff (sprints) and freshman Michael French (1,600).
"I'm excited about our numbers and potential," coach Al Dodds said. Centennial's indoor team finished third in the state, second in the region and fourth in the county.
Glenelg lacks the depth to win a county title but might do well in regional and state competition. The Gladiators will be led by senior Ed Hogan in the 1,600 and 3,200 and senior Travis Turner in the long jump and triple jump.
Other potential point-getters include junior Kris Edwards in the 3,200, sophomore Damani Mitchell in the high jump and junior Dan Valentine in the shot and discus.
Atholton has indoor state champion pole vaulter Omar El Sawi and middle-distance standout Bryan Townsend leading the largest team in the county. The Raiders have 60 team members.
Townsend, a senior, finished second in the state indoor 1,600 and third in the 800.
Adrian Valdez, a sophomore transfer from Louisiana, throws 120 feet in the discus. Senior Tony Kilgore should score points in the high jump as should junior Mike Strickland in the 800.
"We're young but have some superb sophomores," coach Chris Rohde said. "Distance running and field events are our %o strengths."
Mount Hebron is also young and has a promising turnout of 45.
Senior Jesse Barnes runs the 1,600 and 800, and senior Trevor Hariston the 100 and 200. Senior Wes Garrison will long jump and triple jump as will sophomore Leonard Frieson.
Wilde Lake is led by one of the county's top sprinters, senior Craig Butler.
Kris Paul, a senior transfer from Einstein, is strong in the 300
intermediate hurdles and is Wilde Lake's team captain.
Sophomores Tony Lewis and Andy Vanderwagon and junior Jay Green will compete in the discus and shot put.
Junior Jermaine Sutton is a sprinter, longer jumper and high jumper.
Sophomore Jeff Bird and freshman Faisal Hassan will run distance events for the Wildecats.
"Our program is just getting off the ground and we have 35 on the team," said first-year coach Charles Shoemaker, who also coached cross country and indoor track.