The Oakland Mills boys team and the Hammond girls team dominated the Howard County track and field championships yesterday at Oakland Mills High School.
Led by three gold medals and a silver from both Damon Ferguson and Xavier Brisco, and a gold, one Track and field
silver and two bronzes from C. J. Queen, the heavily favored Scorpions defeated Hammond, 166-105.5.
Ferguson won the 400-meter run (50.0 seconds) and the 100 run (10.8) and anchored the Scorpions' winning 4-by-100 relay team. He finished second in the 200 (22.6).
Brisco won the 800 (2:00.1) and anchored two winning relays, the 4-by-400 and 4-by-800. He also finished second in the 400 (50.4).
Queen won the 200 (22.6), finished third in the 400 (51.6) and third in the long jump (19-1) and ran on Oakland Mills' second-place 4-by-200 relay team.
Hammond's Robert Sharps won two golds and a silver to win the Iron Man Award, given to the meet's outstanding overall boys athlete.
By winning the 300 hurdles (40.05) and 110 hurdles (15.0), Sharps, who is headed to West Virginia on a full track scholarship, remained unbeaten in those events this season. He finished second in the triple jump (40-8).
"I was supposed to win the triple jump but was beaten by my own teammate [Kris Jefferson, 41-8]," said Sharps.
Jefferson also won the long jump (20-2 1/2 ) and finished third in the 110 hurdles (16.0) for his second-place team.
Most of the other events went as expected, with Edward Hogan of Glenelg winning the 3,200 run (9:49.8), Wade McHargue of Oakland Mills winning the shot put (49-8 1/4 ) and Bryan Townsend of Atholton capturing the 1,600 (4:33.1).
One pleasant surprise for Oakland Mills came in the pole vault, where Joss Paddock won with a personal-best jump of 13-1.
"Ryan Hughes taking second in the discus was also a surprise for us," Oakland Mills coach Sam Singleton said.
"And our freshman hurdler, Kyle Walker, got a fourth and a fifth for us.
"We kind of figured we would win it, but we weren't figuring to crush people. We took one-two-three in the 400 meters and one-two in the 200 meters mainly because we broke up some of our relay teams hoping to score more individual points."
A nagging back injury took its toll on one of the county's outstanding track performers, Omar El Sawi of Atholton.
If healthy, he would have been favored to win the pole vault, but he was unable to clear an 11-foot qualifying jump. He had jumped 13-6 1/2 this season. The meet record is 13-6.
The margin of victory for the Hammond girls was much closer than the boys but was still large -- 132-110 over runner-up Glenelg.
The girls championship was expected to be a close race among Hammond, Howard and Glenelg -- not a definitive victory for the Bears.
"Our girls all performed up to where we expected and we had some good surprises," Hammond girls coach Joe Russo said.
"Our shot-putters [Royette St. Jean and Tracie Baumgartner] finished higher than we expected."
St. Jean finished second (30-6 1/4 ) and Baumgartner third (29-11).
"Finishing one-two in the 100 meters and one-two-three in the 100 hurdles was also a surprise," Russo said.
"And then we won the 4-by-200 relay after Howard was disqualified."
Hammond carried only 10 girls on its team, but seven of those scored points for the Bears.
Hammond's Kisha Jett won four gold medals for the third straight year, as the junior dominated the 100 (12.0), 100 hurdles (15.3), 400 (60.6) and 200 (25.3).
Samantha Andersch of Hammond won the 3,200 (11:34.8) for the fourth straight year, but finished second to Glenelg's Kelly Pelovitz in the 1,600 and 800.
Pelovitz also anchored Glenelg's first-place 4-by-800 relay team with a strong 2:22 leg, and ran an equally impressive anchor on Glenelg's second-place 4-by-400 relay team.
Pelovitz's performance was so strong that she shared the Iron Woman Award with Jett, who has won it three straight years.
"Everyone came through for us today, especially Monica Stevens," Jett said. "And Samantha performed well for us, also."
Stevens finished a surprising second in the 100 hurdles (15.3) behind Jett, and was second in the 200 (27.5) behind Jett.
Debbie Snyder of Glenelg won gold medals in the shot put (34-10 1/2 ) and the discus (103-11) and teammate Marguerite Rupsis defended her title in the 300 hurdles (49.0).
Howard's Mona Jackson won the triple jump (34-8) and long jump (14-11 1/4 ), but the Lions finished third with 83 points.
Howard's 4-by-200 relay team was disqualified after winning -- a decision that cost the Lions 10 team points and left coach Joe Thomas convinced that a wrong decision had been made.
"I've got the race on tape," Thomas said. "It clearly shows that our girl never left her lane."
The meet had a guest of honor in Donna Neale, a former Oakland Mills runner who set a state record in the 800-meter run in 1982 of 2:11.0. That record still stands.