GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR * Ciaran Lesikar, Oakland Mills -- Lesikar did not have a Kisha Jett (Hammond) or an Alicia Adams (Glenelg) in his track program. He did, however, have a huge shadow hovering over his athletes and a long dry spell to overcome.
The Oakland Mills girls had not won a county outdoor track and field title in 15 years and had finished fourth a year ago.
Before the county track and field championships at Oakland Mills in mid-May, Lesikar wrote in chalk on a classroom board "15 YEARS." The Scorpion girls heard his message and erased the burden by edging Glenelg for the county title, 115-102.
It was Oakland Mills' first county title since Sylvester Burke directed the Scorpions to three straight championships from 1977 to '79.
Oakland Mills was led by junior field star Lauren McHargue, who won both the county discus and shot put, junior Vicki Moore and senior Missy Singleton, the glue to the Scorpions' relay strength.
In the Class 2A South region, Oakland Mills finished second to Fairmont Heights of Prince George's County. At the state meet, the Scorpions finished fourth, 11 points behind third-place and county rival Hammond.
GIRLS PERFORMER OF THE YEAR * Kisha Jett, Hammond, Sr. -- The University of Florida-bound Jett closed out her stellar high school career with an exclamation mark at the county, regional and state championships.
At the county championships, Jett won the 100 (11.88 seconds) in meet-record time, as well as the 200 (25.2), 400 (58.4) and 100 hurdles (15.2). Her four first-place finishes brought her four-year total to 16. She also won an unprecedented fourth Ironwoman Award, given to the meet's best performance.
At the 2A South regionals, Jett set a county record in the 100 (11.5) and 100 hurdles (14.5), while capturing four first-place medals.
At the state championships, Jett closed out her high school career with three more individual first-place medals -- 100 hurdles (14.6), 100 (12.04) and 200 (24.34). She also set meet records during the semifinals in the 100 (11.74) and 200 (24.14).
Jett's state win total increased to 13.
Jett graduates with four county records: 100, 100 hurdles, 200 (23.6 set in '92) and long jump (18-3, set in '91).
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE * Alicia Adams, Glenelg, Sr. -- Adams finally captured her first two individual outdoor titles at the county championships to close out her outstanding high school career. She won the 3,200 in a personal-best time (11:49) and the 1,600 (5:16.8). She also finished second in the 800 (2:24.4). Adams was at her best at the county championships, however, in the 3,200 relay as she helped the Gladiators come from 11 seconds off the pace to win in a meet-record time of 10:04. Adams led Glenelg to a first-place finish in the 3,200 relay at the 2A state championships, winning in 9:54.6. She also finished fourth in the 1,600 (5:16.6) and the 1,600 relay (4:13.02).
* Adelle Chenier, Wilde Lake, Jr. -- Chenier helped produce over half of Wilde Lake's 43 points at the county championship by placing second in the 400 (1:00.1), third in the 200 (27.1) and 400 relay (51.5) and fourth in the 100 (13.1). In the Class 1A regional, Chenier finished second in the 200. But at the state 1A championships, she won two events. Chenier captured the 200 (26.46) for the 1A girls title. She also ran the second leg of the 400 relay as the Wildecats won in a school- and meet-record time of 50.1, faster than Oakland Mills' winning time in the 2A event.
* Mona Jackson, Howard, Jr. -- Despite a nagging left knee injury, Jackson established one county record and an area's best jump. Jackson's early season leap of 5-7 in the high jump remained the metro area's best. She also won the high jump at the county championship by clearing 5-6 for a meet record. At regionals, Jackson took first place with 5-4. In the long jump, Jackson won at the county meet with a mark of 15-10 1/2 . At the 3A state championships she finished second (17-4 3/4 ). It was the triple jump where Jackson excelled, setting a county record twice. During the regular season, she jumped 36-6 and later topped that at the regionals with a first-place mark of 36-7. Jackson finished second in the event at the state meet (35-7).
* Lauren McHargue, Oakland Mills, Jr. -- In helping the Scorpions to a county championship, McHargue captured the discus and shot put. Her winning discus throw (87-2) was eight feet further than her next closest competitor. Her shot toss went 30-0 1/2 . At the 2A regional, McHargue focused on the discus and won with a toss of 88-10. McHargue's streak of first-place finishes in the discus was extended at the state championships, where her throw of 95-02 gave her an individual title.
* Vicki Moore, Oakland Mills, Jr. -- Finishing second to Jett in the 200 (26.9) at the county championships makes Moore the favorite in the event for next year. While Moore also finished third in the 400 (1:01.6) at the county championships, it was Moore's running of the anchor leg in the 400 (50.8) and 1,600 (4:18.2) relays that brought two first-place finishes to the county-champion Scorpions. Moore did it again at the 2A state championship, crossing the finish line in the 400 relay for a team time of 50.17 that captured first place.
* Kim Morehouse, Howard, Sr. -- Morehouse improved the most during the season among the county's short-distance sprinters. Coming into the county championships with only the sixth-fastest time in the 100 (13.3), Morehouse finished on Jett's heels in second place in the event with a time of 12.81. Morehouse repeated her second-place finish at the Class 3A regional. At the state championships, Morehouse finished third (12.93), a half-second behind first-place winner Stacy Jordan from DuVal.
* Marguerite Rupsis, Glenelg, Sr. -- Rupsis captured three first-place medals at the county championships. Rupsis won the 800 (2:22.4), 300 hurdles (47.5) and ran the anchor leg of the
3,200 relay (10:04) to help set a meet record. At the state championship, Rupsis ran the anchor leg of the 3,200 relay (9:54.6) to bring home a first-place medal. She also finished second in the 300 hurdles (46.98) and 800 (2:19.1).
* Monica Stevens, Hammond, Jr. -- At the county championship, Stevens finished third in the 100 (16.1) and the 300 hurdles (48.4). She was, however, the anchor runner for the Golden Bears' victorious 800 relay team, crossing the line in 1:50.8. At the 2A state championships, she finished third in the 100 (15.8) and 100 hurdles (15.8) while again anchoring the 800 relay team's first-place finish (1:45.9).
* Dana Strickland, Atholton, Soph. -- Strickland's coach Gray Webster had hopes Strickland would be the runner to break former Atholton great Carolyn Forde's 12-year-old state record in the mile. While Walter Johnson sophomore Sally Glynn eclipsed the mark at this year's state championships with a time of 4:49.85 in the 3A final, Strickland merely continued her 2A winning ways. After capturing the 2A regional 1,600 (5:17.2), she placed first in Class 2A in the same event with a winning time of 5:13.7.
BOYS COACH OF THE YEAR * Sam Singleton, Oakland Mills -- The Oakland Mills boys track and field team entered the spring with heavy expectations, having just won the state 2A indoor title to go along with a chance to defend the state Class 2A outdoor crown.
Under Singleton's direction, the Scorpions exceeded even their own lofty goals of repeating as county and state champs by accomplishing the feats in record fashion.
Singleton employed his team's overall athletic depth to Oakland Mills' great advantage.
In setting a total-points record at the county championships at the Oakland Mills High track, the Scorpions used eight runners in winning three relay events (400, 800, 1,600).
Oakland Mills' 217 points, which shattered Centennial's 1980 mark of 175, was aided by the Scorpions having three top-five finishers in the 200, 400 (a 1-2-3 sweep) and 300 hurdles.
After winning the Class 2A South region by 105 points, Oakland Mills descended upon Western Maryland College in Westminster with hopes of eclipsing its own total-points record of 111 that was set last year.
Singleton's squad did just that, by finishing with 141 points, on the way to a second straight 2A title, the team's third in four years.
Oakland Mills set the state track and field points mark by winning 10 out of the 18 boys Class 2A events. The Scorpions often placed more than one athlete among the top three.
Singleton also coached the boys 3,600 relay team at the Penn Relays.
In setting a county record (7 minutes, 58.2 seconds), the Scorpions squad of Eric Larsen, Greg Curtis, Joel Hampshire and Xavier Brisco produced the best time of a high school team
from the continental United States.
BOYS PERFORMER OF THE YEAR * Damon Ferguson, Oakland Mills, Sr. -- Ferguson's progress on and off the track at Oakland Mills had a similar success, said Coach Singleton.
"He's done a 360-degree turnaround since starting the program two years ago," said Singleton. "Back then, Damon was in poor shape in that he had no stamina. He almost quit on me a couple times, but I told him to hang in there."
Ferguson heeded Singleton's advice and reaped dividends in track and with his studies.
"He became the hardest worker and one of the strongest kids in school," said Singleton, noting Ferguson's ability to bench-press pounds and squat 675.
Ferguson used his muscular 5-foot-8 frame to become the top sprinter in the county, region and state.
At the county championships, he won the Ironman Award for the meet's best male performance by winning the 100 (10.9 seconds), 200 (23.1) and 400 (50.0) individual events while anchoring the first-place 400 relay team (43.3). He helped total 40 of the Scorpions record-setting 217 points.
At the 2A regionals, Ferguson established a county record in the 100 (10.4), as well as winning the 200 (22.4), 400 (50.4) and the 1,600 relay (3.27.3).
Ferguson's dominance continued at the 2A state championship, where he won the 100 (11.1), 200 (22.5) and 400 (49.78) and anchored the 1,600 relay (3:22.52).
Ferguson's only struggle this season came early when a slight tear in his left hamstring forced him to the sidelines in April.
"He pulled it before the first meet at South River and I had to insist that he rest it for two weeks and do nothing but ice it down for 20 minutes each night and play Nintendo for athletic competition," Singleton said.
Ferguson's work in the classroom began to turn around as he became focused on his track goals. A former low-C student, Ferguson finished much of the last two academic years with a solid-B average.
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE * Xavier Brisco, Oakland Mills, Sr. -- Brisco was a member of the Scorpions' Penn Relay team that set a county record in the 3,600, as he ran the anchor leg. In his strength (the 800), Brisco won the county (1:57.1), region (1:59.7) and state (1:55.6) titles. At the county and state championships, he finished second to teammate Damon Ferguson. Brisco also helped anchor the Scorpions to county, region and state titles in the 1,600 and 3,600 relays.
* Greg Curtis, Oakland Mills, Jr. -- Curtis was a crucial member of the Scorpions' 3,600 relay team that established a county-record time of 7:58.2 at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. The Scorpion miler finally bested Centennial senior Kevin Hill in the 1,600 by four seconds at the Howard County championships, winning in 4:30.2. After winning the 1,600 and the 3,200 relay at the South Region (4:33.1), Curtis duplicated the winning performance at the state meet with winning times of 4:23.71 and 8:08.2, respectively. Curtis also finished third at the state meet in the 800 (1:58.9).
* Kevin Daniels, Howard, Sr. -- Daniels won the county triple jump title by leaping 40- 1/2 on his last attempt. During the season, Daniels often swept county opponents in all three field events. Although having cleared 6-4, Daniels' 6-2 mark at the county championships was good enough for a fifth-place tie. He was fourth in the county long jump (19-4). At regionals, Daniels finished second in the triple and long jump while placing third in the high jump. At the state meet, weather delays forced Daniels to depart early from competition and finish second in Class 3A with a mark of 6-0.
* Omar El Sawi, Atholton, Sr., -- The Raider senior captured the Howard County pole vaulting title by clearing 12 feet on a windy day last month. He set a then school record of 14-2 at the Atholton relays early in the season. El Sawi finished second in the 2A region to junior teammate Ed LeBard. El Sawi's 13-7 mark was second best to LeBard's county-record 14-4, which broke former Glenelg pole vaulter Chuck Browning's 1985 mark of 14-3.
* Leonard Frieson, Mount Hebron, Jr. -- Frieson scored all 34 of the Vikings' boys points at the county championships. He notched first-place victories in the long jump by leaping 19-10 1/4 on his final attempt and in the 110 hurdles (15.3). Frieson also captured the Class 3A region 110 hurdles (15.1), while finishing second in the 300 hurdles.
* Faisal Hasan, Wilde Lake, Soph. -- Hasan lived up to his top XTC billing by winning the state 1A title in the 1,600 (4:31.2). He also took first in the 1,600 (4:35.9) and the 3,200, while also finishing second in the 800 (2:05.3) at regionals. At the county championships, Hasan recorded a third-place finish in the mile (4:36.5) and a second in the two-mile (10:03.1).
* Kevin Hill, Centennial, Sr. -- Hill finished first in the 3,200 at the county championships, winning in 9:54.4. He finished second at the county meet in the 1,600 (4:34.0). In helping pace the Class 3A Eagles to an East Region title, Hill captured both the 1,600 (4:29.7) and 3,200 (9:59.6). At the state 3A meet, Hill led in the 3,200 until the bell lap, finishing third overall (9:37.4).
* James Koehler, Centennial, Sr. -- Koehler captured the county high-jump title in a tie-breaker with a leap of 6-2. Often competing against teammate and fellow senior Matt Kirkpatrick for top high-jump honors, Koehler remained healthy while Kirkpatrick battled nagging foot injuries. At the East Region showdown, Koehler finished first with a 6-4 leap. Conditions were not right for Koehler at the state meet, where his best jump of 6-0 left him shy of the top six.
* Jim McClellan, Howard, Sr. -- Lost in the buzz Atholton's El Sawi created in the pole vault, McClellan steadily improved after finishing out of the top three at the county championship because of injuries. He regrouped to win the region (12-0). At the state Class 3A championships, McClellan defended his top-seeding by capturing first with a vault of 13 feet. His best mark of the season was 13-3, which he cleared at his school's own meet.
* Kyle Walker, Oakland Mills, Soph. -- Walker dominated the county in the 110 hurdles, losing only in the county championship by a disqualification after knocking a hurdle into the next lane. He rebounded to win the county 300 hurdles (42.1), while finishing second in the long jump (19-6 1/2 ) and third in the triple jump. At regionals, Walker won the 110 hurdles (14.6), an event he also captured at the state championships (15.17). He was a member of the state champion 800 relay team (1:30.33).