Performer of the Year
Thema Napier, Long Reach, senior: She won two gold medals and two silver medals at the state Class 2A meet and posted the best time of any classification in the 800 (2: 16.03), as her team won the state championship by 21 points over runner-up Central. She also won the 300 hurdles (43.58), finished second in the 100 hurdles (14.75) and second on the 400 relay (48.61). The 300 hurdles and 800 were run about an hour apart, prompting Oakland Mills coach Sam Singleton to say of Napier: "You've got to be a cat of a different breed to run hurdles and then come back and run 800. That's pure guts, the kind of thing you can't coach." At last season's state meet, Napier won four Class 1A state gold medals. At this season's county meet, she won four gold medals in the 100 hurdles (14.4), 300 hurdles (44.5) and 800 (2: 24.4), as well as the 400 relay (45.7), to earn the meet's top honor, The Iron Woman Award. She ran 14.3 in a preliminary heat of the 110 hurdles, breaking a 12-year-old meet record and the county record. She has a full track scholarship to Maryland-College Park.
Coach of the Year
Joe Thomas, Long Reach: A year ago, Long Reach finished third in the Class 1A state meet and third at the county meet. This year, the Lightning won the county and the Class 2A state meets. The difference? "We had more field events this year," Thomas said. Thema Napier won both hurdles events, and Cynthia Nicholls won long jump and triple jump at this year's county meet. Neither won an individual event the year before. Of course, it helped that Teyarnte Carter was back, winning three individual sprint events. In eight seasons of outdoor coaching, six at Howard, Thomas' teams have won three state titles and been runner-up once. The 33-year-old Glenelg High and Western Maryland College graduate wrestled and ran track at Glenelg.
Julie Bergin, Wilde Lake, sophomore: She won the county high jump with an effort of 5 feet and also won the Class 3A East region title with a jump of 4-10.
Teyarnte Carter, Long Reach, sophomore: The only girls performer to win three individual gold medals at the state meet, Carter swept the Class 2A 100 (12: 39), 200 (25.06) and 400 (56.88). She won the same three events in Class 1A as a freshman. Unlike last year, when the Lightning won the 400 relay, she had to settle for a silver medal in that event. Carter won four gold medals at the county meet in the 100 (12.2), 200 (25.5) and 400 (57.9) and 400 relay (45.7).
Tenisha Chester, Atholton, senior: She won the county pole vault (9-6) and finished second in the high jump (5-0). At the state Class 2A meet, she finished second in the pole vault (10-0) and second in the high jump (5-3). She'll attend the University of Tennessee.
Amber Day, Oakland Mills, senior: She capped a long, excellent track career by winning the Class 1A 100 (12.47) and 400 (57.0) and finishing second in the 200 (25.27). At the county meet, she finished second in the 100 (12.4), 200 (26.1) and 400 (58.7). She'll attend the University of Minnesota ona track scholarship.
Rolanda Howard, Long Reach, freshman: She won the state Class 2A long jump (16-8 1/2 ), finished second on the 400 relay and sixth in the triple jump (34.02). At the county meet, she finished second in the triple jump (33-1) and third in the long jump (15-10 1/2 ).
Jennifer Johnson, Oakland Mills, senior: She won the Class 1A state triple jump (34-7 1/2 ) and finished third in the state long jump (16-2). At the county meet, she was second in the long jump (15-10 3/4 ) and fourth in the 100 hurdles (17.0). She'll attend the University of Pennsylvania.
Nasozi Kakembo, Hammond, freshman: She won the Class 1A state high jump (4-11) and finished fourth in the county high jump (4-6).
Lee McDuff, River Hill, freshman: She won the Class 2A state 3,200 (10: 59.48) and finished second in the 1,600 (5: 09.35). At the county meet, she won the 3,200 (11: 19.8) and the 1,600 (5: 17.7).
Cynthia Nicholls, Oakland Mills, sophomore: more: She won county titles in the long jump (17-1) and triple jump (33-5) and finished third in the state Class 1A long jump (16-5 1/2 ) and second on the 400 relay.
vTC Tia Richardson, Centennial, junior: She won the county shot put (36-7 3/4 ), was third in the state Class 2A shot put (36-6 3/4 ) and fourth in the state discus (108-11).
Lori Tvarkunas, Glenelg, junior: She won the state Class 1A pole vault (9-3) and finished sixth in the 300 hurdles (51.25). She was second in the county pole vault (9-0).
Tolika Wilson, Wilde Lake, junior: She won the county discus (102-1) and was second in the state Class 3A discus (106-5).
The Baltimore Sun 1998 All-Howard County track and field teams were selected by Rick Belz after consulting with The Sun staff and area coaches.
Athlete of the year luncheon
The 32nd annual Baltimore Sun High School Athlete of the Year Awards Luncheon will be held June 8 at Martin's West starting at 11: 30 a.m. Athletes selected during the 1997-98 school year are invited along with their coach and both parents or any two relatives. One male and one female will be chosen as Athletes of the Year and the winners will be announced at the luncheon. Information: Sam Davis, 410-332-6534.
Pub Date: 5/29/98