HAGERSTOWN -- Atholton boys coach Pat Saunderson set a simple goal for his team in the Class 3A West Region meet yesterday -- score in as many events as possible.
The Raiders, who moved up after winning the Class 2A state championship last winter, made their coach happy by scoring in all 13 events and breezing to a second straight region title at Hagerstown Junior College.
Atholton jumped to a big early lead and never was threatened. The Raiders scored 108 points, which gave them an easy victory over Richard Montgomery (79 points).
Scoring in every event certainly helped the Raiders, but winning five times aided their cause even more. Those 50 points alone would have put Atholton in fourth place.
Jared Howard won the 300 and 500 meters for Atholton. Cian Oatts captured the 55 dash, Zach Tropf took the 1,600 and the Raiders won the 800 relay with Oatts, Mario Dae, Ali Motamedamin and Max Clifford.
"We've got a good variety, and you can move things around a little," said Saunderson. "We scored the points."
Saunderson experimented with shifting people to new spots to gain points. Howard, for example, tried out the 300 (first place) and the 800 (third place) and scored 16 points.
"We had a great week of practice," said Howard. "This team has a lot of character, and [Saunderson] utilizes our versatility well."
Oatts and Tropf also showed some versatility. Tropf, in addition to winning the 1,600, finished fourth in the 800 and sixth in the 3,200. Oatts ran on the victorious 800 relay and the third-place 1,600 relay. The Raiders also got a second-place finish from Mike Eshoo in the pole vault with a personal record of 12 feet, 6 inches.
Centennial finished fourth with 48 points. Mike French captured the 3,200 and followed that with a strong second-place finish in the 800.
The Eagles also received a first-place finish from Tom O'Connor in the high jump (6-3). Mike Cochran came in second in the shot put (43-3.5) to give Centennial eight more points.
Frederick rolled to a similar victory on the girls' side, as its 92 points were more than enough to defeat second-place Howard (59).
Howard, however, used strong performances from Donna Mullings, Coleen Parker and Tominka Howard to beat Walter Johnson by 10 points.
Mullings (second in 55, third in 300 and fourth in 500), Parker (first in 500 and fourth in 300) and Howard (third in 500, fourth in fTC 55 and sixth in 300) combined for 43 of the team's points. The Lions' other first-place finish came in the 1,600 relay.
Centennial finished sixth with 28 points. The Eagles scored 16 points from relays, and the Mitroka sisters (Kristy in second and Kathy in fifth) helped score 10 more in the shot put.
Dana Strickland of Atholton also ran well, scoring 20 of her team's 25 points with a second-place finish in the 1,600 and a pair of third-places (800, 3,200).