Just maybe the Westminster boys track and field team is a little stronger than even coach Jim Shank believed it would be.
The low-key Shank conceded he was impressed by the team's performance in the Westminster Invitational Friday night.
The Owls scored points in every event in the seven-team meet to finish first with 151 points.
Calvert Hall (123) was second followed by Howard (107 1/2 ), North Carroll and Frederick (45 points each), South Carroll (41 1/2 ), and Liberty (14).
In past seasons, Westminster has overwhelmed opponents in track events but has come up short in field events.
But Friday night, senior Mat Mathias and sophomore Jerry Webb came through in a big way for the Owls.
Mathias, a first-team All-Carroll defensive lineman last fall, took first place in the shot put with a toss of 46 feet, 3 inches, and Webb was first in the high jump with a mark of 5-8.
Webb had cleared 6 feet in an earlier dual meet against Old Mill.
Both Mathias and Webb are competing in track and field for the first time on the varsity.
"We can see improvement in our team each week," said Shank. "We're not weak in anything. We're well-balanced, but the main thing is the numbers we have. We had 68 come out for the team and we've added a few new people. Right now, it looks like a dogfight between us, Thomas Johnson and Linganore for the CMC title."
Westminster has won all seven Central Maryland Conference track and field championship meets since the league was formed.
The Owls are heavily favored to win their 17th straight county championship.
Westminster senior Nate Shank was one of the top point-scorers in the Westminster Invitational, running the third leg on the winning 1,600 relay team, finishing second in the 800 run (2 minutes, 5.1 seconds) and running the 800 leg on the second-place distance medley team.
"We're catching up to the schools that had indoor track," said the coach's son. "We're starting to compete with them. He [coach Shank] is working us hard and we're getting a lot more points in the field events than we expected."
Westminster junior Mike Recek played a major role in the Invitational victory, taking second in the two-mile run and running the mile on the distance medley team.
Joining Recek and Shank on the distance medley team were W. C. Knight and Will Woolford.
Woolford was also part of the winning 1,600 relay team, joining Shank, Jason Safley and Dante Partelow. Safley also took second in the 400 and fourth in the 200.
Doug Reese helped in the field events with a second-place showing in the pole vault, and Brett Freyman was second in the high jump.
For North Carroll, Jeff Williams led the way with firsts in the long jump and triple jump, and Eric Giffi was second in the long jump.
In the girls competition, Frederick (203 points) ran away with the team championship. Howard (129) was second. South Carroll took third (60), followed by Westminster (54), North Carroll (37) and Liberty (13).
Harris choses Fairmont State
Westminster High's Jed Harris, a two-time first-team All-Carroll County football selection, has decided to enroll at Fairmont (W.Va.) State College this fall.
Harris, a 6-3, 275-pound lineman, said he chose Division II Fairmont State because "they came up with a better deal as far as a scholarship is concerned, and it is closer to home than the other top schools on my list."
Harris said half of his expenses will be paid during his freshman year, with the amount of money increasing the next three years depending on how well he performs.
"I also like Fairmont because it is a small school and plays in the West Virginia Conference, which is a nice league," said Harris.
Doug Sams, head coach and offensive line coach at Fairmont, recruited Harris.
"He told me if I come in at 275, I'll make an impact my first year," said Harris, who plans to major in criminal justice and minor in education. "I'm going to play on the offensive line."
Harris was a first-team All-Carroll defensive lineman as a junior and a first-team offensive tackle as a senior.