Those who subscribe to the old adage "one man does not a team make" may reconsider after watching Mervo senior James Carter this indoor track season.
Carter, the defending state champion in the high hurdles and 300-meter --, has made a believer out of Perry Hall veteran track coach Jerry Martin.
"My entire boys team can't beat James Carter at a state-level meet," said Martin. "He can win you 40 points, which is more than enough to beat most of the teams out there."
Carter, perhaps the most versatile athlete in the area, led Mervo to the team to city and region title during last year's indoor season and is poised to carry the Mustangs again this winter, running the 55 hurdles, 300 and a leg of both the 800 and 1,600 relays.
Junior Antoine Collins, the defending Baltimore City champion in the 800, returns for Mervo along with Tyree Byron, Kekoe Hayes and James Johnson.
Carver coach Walter Cole gives Mervo the "early edge" but if his squad, which is loaded with talented sprinters, can produce some distance people he believes the Bears will give Mervo a run at the city, region and state meets.
Senior Andre Falcon, a sprinter and relay specialist, and junior Bernard Williams, a sprinter and high jumper, are potential state champions in the 55 -- and senior Nkimo Arrington can run sprints, hurdles and has thrown the shot put 43 feet, 8 inches.
Carver's girls team isn't lacking sprinters either. Leslie Crawford, Tyrhonda Robinson and Keemani Haskins -- a freshman who ran for the Ed Waters Track Club last summer -- lead that unit.
A lack of depth may keep Western's girls from being a serious contender at regions and states, but a talented group of runners, including half-miler Elizabeth Johnson, sprinters Linaya DeShields, Crystal Richburg and Cornelya Mims, will make the Doves a force at this year's second annual Baltimore City Championships.
Northern third-year coach Ernest Jackson believes his boys and girls teams are both poised to dethrone defending city champs Mervo and Western. The Vikings' girls team returns Janel Stewart, the defending city champ in the 55 and 300 --es, and the boys squad boasts a number of talented runners and hurdlers.
With 24 boys and 15 girls, William Redmon has the largest team yet for City. The boys contingent is led by senior high jumper and hurdler Kevin Griffin, sprinter Damian Beane, Jason Brown (middle distance) and sophomore distance runner Rooti Lewis. City's girls expect to shine at the Class 2A regional and state meets with senior sprinters Marquita McKnight and Sharene Weekes and freshman Tiffany James.
Edmondson hasn't developed the numbers as some of its city opponents, but it will be well-represented by Romonte Carroll and Wayne Frazier in the boys 300, 500 and 800 and by Markiesha Colbert in the same events for the girls.
The move down from Class 3A to 2A should help Poly in the boys team competition at regions and states. But with only four girls on the team, the Engineers girls squad is going to have to aim for individual success.
On the boys side, Poly coach David Mack is expecting big things from senior co-captains Anthony Okoye and Dontae Young, hurdlers Robert Mercer and Wayne Weaver, shot putter Alan Brown and Brian Batson (800).
Northwestern's sophomore-laden teams may still be a year or two away from making a run at a postseason title but the mere presence of sophomores Dwayne Dacres, Brian Starks, Shawn Godfrey and Sonserray Davis -- and the return of junior Penlicia Stachell -- has Wildcats coach Leroy McKenzie excited.
Southwestern coach Sarah Heilbron is hoping some of her team's cross country success will carry over into the indoor season. Yvonne Brown, an All-City/County harrier, and Tiffany Bell are poised to lead the girls team while Chris Haley and Ricardo Thomas hope to make a name for Southwestern's boys contingent.
Walbrook's teams are both young and inexperienced but coach Johnny Brown expects senior Akeliah Sneed (800 and 1,600) to put the Warriors on the scoreboard at the District 9 meet.