Options to run with Track and field: Westminster sprinter Thea Bayly is so versatile that the Owls' coaches struggle to decide on which events to enter her.


Thea Bayly wants more this spring than last.

The Westminster sprinter had a strong season last spring, winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints at the Carroll County championship. She struggled, however, at a very strong region meet and didn't qualify for the state meet in any individual events.

But last year's difficulties created this spring's goals for her -- to // qualify for the state meet.

Bayly took the first steps toward that objective by once again sweeping the 100, 200 and 400 at last week's county meet, despite often running in a driving rainstorm at Western Maryland College.

The senior now wants to avoid a repeat of last year's failure to qualify for states. She had some bad luck, running into what may have been the state's strongest region in any class. Several solid runners from Montgomery and Frederick County made life difficult.

Bayly nearly qualified in the 400 but wound up participating as a relay runner.

The Owls are in a re-configured region this year. They're still in Class 4A but are going up against more Anne Arundel County schools, some of which they already know, having competed against them. That also should help Bayly.

"I just set my sights a little bit higher this year," said Bayly. "I want to have a great region meet, and my goal is to qualify for the states."

Bayly ran as part of the 400 relay last year in the state meet, and she's hopeful about qualifying in the individual events. She's also more versatile this year, having taken up the 300 intermediate hurdles since last spring. She worked hard on them last summer and fall and ran a 46.7 this season, one-tenth of a second off the school mark.

In fact, boys coach Jim Shank, who often works with Bayly and the other girls sprinters, said that despite the fact that she lacks experience in the 300 hurdles, that may be her best event.

"It's a combination of speed, endurance and hurdling technique," said Shank. "She's good at all three."

Bayly didn't compete in the 300 at the county meet -- it wasn't run because of heavy rain. But she was probably going to skip the event, anyway.

She's so versatile that Shank and girls coach Tom Fisher often have a difficult time deciding which events she competes in.

For example, when the Owls travel to North County for this week's regional meet, the coaches still must decide where she will run. Bayly will be in the maximum four events, but which ones?

She can do the 100, 200 and 400 in sprints. In addition, Bayly can run the 300 hurdles, plus relays, and even the long jump.

Shank said he and Fisher placed her in that event during the Blue Ridge Relays "on a whim," and she leaped 16 feet, 3 inches -- which would have given her second place at the county meet.

"That's the biggest problem with Thea -- where do we use her -- because we can use her in so many places," said Shank.

It's a nice problem.

Bayly, who will run and play soccer next year at Western Maryland College, displayed solid performances in all three events that she won at the county meet on Thursday in less-than-ideal conditions.

"I'd say she had a paramount day," said Fisher.

She would like to have a few more before the season is done, especially in the region and state meets.

"I was there [before at the states] to run relays and stuff and this year it's my goal to run individual events," said Bayly. "It's such a neat experience. It's my ultimate goal."

Pub Date: 5/12/98

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad