It was a case of good news, bad news when the athletes turned out for the new season of high school track and field in Harford County.
The good news: four of the county's tracks are being renovated. The bad news: all four tracks will be out of commission for most, if not all, of the season.
"We're road warriors this season," said Joppatowne boys coach Greg Komondor. "We have no track and no home meets."
Joppatowne's track, like those at Aberdeen, Fallston, and North Harford, is scheduled to be completed about May 1, weather permitting. That leaves just four tracks -- one of which has inadequate field event facilities -- suitable for competition among the county's 10 high schools.
Three of the teams are conducting workouts on the hard asphalt base from which the rubber surface has been scraped. Fallston is not doing so because of craters in its track; its team of 70 boys and 45 girls buses each day to C. Milton Wright High School for workouts.
The track situation is making for an unusual season.
One aspect of the new season is not unusual, however: C. Milton Wright is again the team to beat in the boys competition. Fallston is again the strongest among girls teams.
Fallston's girls have won eight of the past 10 Harford County championships.
"We return six of our top 10 scorers from last season, and a number of our first-year girls have a lot of potential," said Fallston coach Greg Thompson, who has three county champions back: Lacey Anzelc in the high jump, Amy Datsko in the 1,600 meters, and Meredith Fender in the 800.
It is unlikely that any of the girls teams will catch the Cougars, but several are showing early-season strength: C. Milton Wright, Bel Air, Edgewood, John Carroll, and North Harford.
North Harford started with 66 girls, a third of them newcomers. Bel Air drew 65 candidates, three-quarters of them freshmen and sophomores.
C. Milton Wright, 55 girls strong, returns outstanding distance runners in Kelly Coogan, who was clocked at 10 minutes, 56 seconds in the 3,200 in the indoor season, and Mary Beth Rollins, a county champ in the 1,600.
Edgewood's girls, always strong in sprints and field events, have several returnees from the team that was runner-up in last year's county meet. At John Carroll, multi-event standouts Mary Gast and Katie McEvoy lead a team that looks improved over last year.
"I've got a lot of depth and a lot of kids who are going to develop," said Bob Johnson, coach of the favored C. Milton Wright boys. "We've got most areas well-covered, and I don't see many weaknesses."
The Wright boys, county champions nine of the past 10 years, are loaded with talent, including county record-holders Terry Fisher and Eric Benjamin. Fisher tied the county pole vault record of 13 feet, 6 inches in a meet Wednesday. Benjamin set a county record in the 3,200 last May, the first new boys record in seven years.
Benjamin is one of four returning state champs in the county.
Also back are Aberdeen's Tommy Mims, who won the Class 2A long and triple jumps, Havre de Grace's Al Mann (the 200 in Class 1A), and Fallston's Matt Timm (the 800 in 3A).
If any boys team puts pressure on C. Milton Wright, it will be Fallston, Aberdeen or Edgewood.
Fallston, with the county's largest squad, has seven of its top 10 scorers back from last year.
Aberdeen is strong in the sprints, hurdles and jumps, and is led by returnees Cliff Simmons, Lauren Ringgold, Stefon Watson and Larry Watson. Edgewood returns some swift sprinters, led by Giovani Colon, and again is strong in the field events.
Harford Tech, another school without a track, has drawn larger numbers this season and returns state meet runner-up Paul Ledebur in the hurdles.
Pub Date: 4/03/97