With the Howard County track and field meet looming, coaches from Oakland Mills, Howard and Atholton were pleased to warm up against top-notch area competition at the 24th annual Anne Arundel County relays yesterday.
In all, 29 boys teams and 26 girls teams from seven counties competed at Annapolis High.
Oakland Mills placed seventh (boys, 30 points) and ninth (girls, 22); Howard was fourth (girls, 32) and tied for 19th (boys); and Atholton was 21st (boys) and 15th (girls). But mostly, the local trio primed for the county meet at Oakland Mills, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
Defending champ Old Mill again placed first in boys (63) and girls (81.5).
"Every invitational is a warm-up for postseason," Howard girls coach Joe Thomas said. "It exposes the girls to competition in the format of a county, regional or state meet. They get used to that."
The meet was staged on a clear, sunny day with a breeze that may have lowered times slightly. There were 16 running events and six field events.
Oakland Mills' boys, Class 2A-1A indoor champions and contenders for the Class 2A state title, had a "very good" afternoon, according to coach Sam Singleton, placing in five of their seven events.
Oakland Mills competed in seven boys events to "make sure they're rested and ready for next week," Singleton said.
The Scorpions finished third in the 800-meter relay with Brandy Walker, Mike Schmeckpeper, C. J. Queen and Damon Ferguson (1 minute, 30.6 seconds); fourth in the 400 (43.3) and 3,200
(8:19.4) relays and shot put (40.0 meters), and fifth in the 6,400 relay (19.30.7).
"Just about everybody ran their best time or threw their best distances," Singleton said. "Most of the schools here are 4A, so we did OK against the big boys. We're getting ready for the county."
The Scorpions girls placed fourth in the shuttle hurdle relay (1:16), the 3,200 relay (10:20) and the discus (65.21).
Howard fared impressively in the girls field events. Melissa Williamson, Mona Jackson and Lorraine Saunders placed second the high jump (4.40) and long jump (13.95), and Camille Powell joined Jackson and Williamson for a second in the triple jump (29.46). The Lions girls were third in the 1,600 relay and fourth in the sprint medley relay (1:57.3).
Atholton's boys and girls were weakened by the absence of 12 competitors, who instead attended a band and chorus gathering in Virginia Beach.
Most notably, the Raiders missed No. 2 pole vaulter Josh Potoco, No. 1 girls sprinter and jumper Andrea Comerer and No. 2 distance girl Gail Hodges.
Atholton finished fourth in the girls distance-medley relay (13:50.2) and fifth in the
girls triple jump (28.33).
Raiders boys coach Pat Saunderson took a relaxed attitude toward the invitational.
"We picked certain events to see what happens before counties," he said. "We're down here having fun on a Saturday. We heard the weather forecast and we said, 'We'll come.' "