Ed Waters Track Club, sponsored by the city Department of Recreation and Parks, is playing host to next weekend's Mid-Atlantic AAU Regionals at Poly, an event that is expected to draw more than 2,500 athletes from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington and Virginia.
"It's a free event, and we'd like everyone to come out," said Ron Neal, one of Ed Waters' 12 coaches. "The track has been resurfaced, and this is a big event. You'll be supporting some of the most talented kids in Baltimore, and you'll see some of the nation's fastest from all around."
And some of the featured competitors will be the Ed Waters club's youngest.
Billy Lawal, the defending AAU long jump national champ for the 9-10 age group, is just seven inches shy of the national record (16-1 1/2 ), a mark his coaches expect him to pass before the season ends in August.
April Mullen leads the 9-10 girls and is unbeaten in the 800 and the 1,500. Brandy Preston (11-12) will be a top seed in the 100 and 200 and help the 400 relay.
The girls 13-14 400 relay has run a 49.8, among the nation's fastest times, and includes Tee Carter, Dana Jefferson, Toni Jefferson and Lakisha Alston.
"Of course we have a lot of kids from the surrounding area in the older age groups," said Neal. "All of our relay teams are doing well. Two weeks ago at the United States Track and Field Regionals, we qualified 23 of 27 relay teams -- more than ever."
In the 17-18 age group, the 1,600 relay team of Anthony Okoye (Poly) and All-Metros Damean Johnson (Carver), Garfield Thompson (Mervo) and James Carter (Mervo) has run a 3:15.7. Johnson, the city champ in the 400, and Carter, the 4A state champ in the 400, are the fastest of the four, with Johnson having run a 47.1 split.
Mervo's All-Metros Royston Lyttle (100 state champ) and Jason Panniell (300 hurdles state champ) have signed for full track scholarships at Coppin State.
The Ed Waters track club has participated in two major events, the AAU Regional for Marylanders in Frederick, and the U.S. Track and Field Regional over the last two weekends.
Today, the club is completing a three-day competition at Dunbar (Washington D.C.) in the National Age Group championships.
East routs West
The East Team, led by three players from city 4A champion Southern, routed the West Team, 13-0, in the first Baltimore City All-Star Baseball game.
Southern catcher Billy Thomas went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, and Southern pitchers James Benton (four strikeouts) and Ken Tolodziecki (three strikeouts) kept the opposition off balance.
Others playing well for the East Team, coached by Dunbar's Greg Branch, were Patterson's Willie McGirt (2-for-4, two RBIs), Lake Clifton's Andre Murray (2-for-4, two RBIs), Dunbar's Gary Smith (2-for-4, one RBI) and Patterson's Mike Burrows (1-for-4, one RBI).
"We had like 20 hits off of them," said Branch. "I had a Dream Team. We blew them right on out. It was great."
Charm City wins in Windy City
Charm City Baltimore won last month's Adidas Chicago Shootout, defeating Cleveland in the championship game.
John Hemsley (Southern-Balto.) and Tommy Polley (Dunbar), first-team All-Metro basketball selections last season, shared Most Valuable Player honors.
Patrick Ngongba (Calvert Hall) was named to the all-tournament team and Marlon Wise (Southern-Balto.) earned the Unsung Hero award.
Virgil Singleton (Edmondson), Damion Hocker (Lake Clifton), Daniel Whye (Mount St. Joseph), Fred Lewis (Towson Catholic), Kofi Pointer (Southern-Balto.), Dedric Galloway (Southern-Balto.) and Cornelius McMurray (Southern-Balto.) are also on the team.
Polley also was The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year, anchoring top-ranked Dunbar's football team through a 12-0 season and Baltimore City's first state title, the 2A version.
Frazier heading to Arizona
Reggie Frazier, a 6-foot-4 forward from Lake Clifton, will be heading to Arizona Western Junior College in Yuma, Ariz. Frazier, who was the Lakers' third-leading scorer last season, was a second-team All-Metro pick in his junior and senior seasons.