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Howard County indoor track preview

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Wilde Lake's boys and Long Reach's girls earned their first county indoor track titles last season. Don't be surprised if they win their second championships this season.

"I don't look for us to be as dominant as we were last year, but we're going to be real good," said Wilde Lake boys coach Charlie Shoemaker, whose team last season won the 2A-3A West regional and finished second in the Class 2A-3A state meet. "We have very good quality points, and we're fairly well-balanced. It's a very disciplined, dedicated team."

Wilde Lake won last season's Ivan Walker indoor county championship by 37 points over second-place Oakland Mills. Shoemaker expects this season's championship to be closer.

"I think it will be pretty tight. I think you'll see a closer score then last year," Shoemaker said.

River Hill, with its strong distance contingent, and Oakland Mills, led by Kyle Famer, are among the top boys' teams.

"We can be competitive in all events," said first-year River Hill coach Todd Wright. "We're very focused as a team, and that's nice to see."

Oakland Mills finished second in the county and second in both the Class 1A-2A Central regional and state meets. The Scorpions will be competitive again. "We're going to be very good in the regionals and states," said Oakland Mills boys coach Sam Singleton.

Atholton's boys team won the Class 1A-2A Central region and state meets last season, but graduation has hurt the Raiders' chances this season.

The top three girls' teams look to be Long Reach, River Hill and Glenelg.

"I think we'll be in it, but Long Reach and River Hill have to be considered favorites," said Glenelg girls coach Mike Selmer. "I hope we're close to them, and pushing them."

Long Reach's girls team won last season's county meet by 41 points over second-place Atholton. Thema Napier has graduated, but Teyarnte Carter returns to lead another strong Lightning team.

Long Reach's Joe Thomas, in his 10th season, is coaching indoors for the first time. He has won four outdoor county titles (three at Howard, one at Long Reach) and three outdoor state championships (two at Howard, one at Long Reach).

Thomas believes his team can repeat as county champions. "I have all the confidence in the word in my girls," Thomas said. "I truly believe they can."

River Hill coach Norm Belden has a good team also, led by sophomore distance runner Lee McDuff.

"We'll be a strong team," Belden said. "We're more balanced then we've ever been, and the girls have a strong work ethic."

Oakland Mills won the Class 1A-2A state championship last year, and coach Bryan Winfield said: "We're very young. We hope to do better as the season goes along. We'll do our best to defend our state title, but we'll have to continue to develop as a team. I'm optimistic."

Winfield also said that competing in such a competitive county will serve the Scorpions well when it comes to the regional and state meets. "I think our county will get us prepared for any competition after that."

Here is a look at all the teams:

Atholton

Girls coach Eddie Ivory calls senior Michelle Nelson "one of the top five sprinters in the state." Nelson will run the 55, 300 and the 800 and 1,600 relays. Sophomore Ashley Wall was fourth in the county in the high jump, and was a part of the 800 relay team that won county, regional and state titles. Senior Becky Peterson returns in the pole vault, and senior shot putter Amy Bejm is joined by her freshman sister, Jessica, who will do a little bit of everything (55, 500, relays and pole vault).

"We're a deep team," Ivory said. "The girls are very excited about this year because they think they'll have a chance in every meet. And that's the only way to look at it."

Christa Zitko takes over the boys team, led by state indoor and outdoor pole vault champion Tony Pesce. Junior Steven Miller, freshman Andrew Breen and sophomore Dennis Cook are the top distance runners, and senior Pat Snyder will throw the shot put.

Centennial

Sam Yurko takes over the boys team, and he said the Eagles "look pretty strong in the longer sprints and shorter distances." Leading the way will be junior Randy Van Allen (500, 800, mile relay), senior Matt Tinnirella (800, 1,600, mile relay), junior Shawn Spencer (800, 1,600, 3,200) and sophomore Collin Stumpf (300, 500, mile relay). Senior Tom Fisher will throw the shot put. Tinnirella and Fisher are captains.

Girls coach Carrie Brunskill is optimistic as she begins her third year. "I'm impressed with everyone I have," Brunskill said. "I'm excited." Junior Lori Fritz will compete in the 300 and 500, sophomore Marie Kilroy in the 1,600 and senior Amanda Kinsley in the pole vault. Two freshmen sprinters have looked good -- Julie Richter and Samantha Test.

Glenelg

Roger Volrath said his boys team will be "strong in middle distance and distance events." Sophomore Jon Goldsmith, who was second in the regional cross country meet and third in the Class 1A state meet, will run the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Junior Brian Selmer, who won the Central 1A regional cross country meet, will run the game events as Goldsmith. Selmer is the county 1,600 outdoor champion. Senior Tom Mazerski will run the 1,600 and 3,200, sophomore Phil Selmer will compete in the 400, mile relay and pole vault, and senior Sean Wright will go in the 3,200.

Mike Selmer's girls team finished third in the county last season, and the Gladiators will be competitive again. Leading the attack will be senior Blair Heinke and sophomore Alice March -- both competing in the 1,600, 3,200 and relays -- and seniors Kristin Smith (300, 500), Lori Tvarkunas (pole vault, hurdles) and Christa Vent (relays). Vent holds the school record in the high jump. Junior Melissa Wilder (55, 300, relays) is very fast, and Selmer said he is "hoping for a breakthrough year" from her.

Four freshmen who will contribute are: Sabrina Putro (shot put), Carrie Selmer (800, 1,600), Colleen Marland (800, 1,600) and Leandra Grimm (55, 300, relays).

Hammond

Coach Rich Menendez said his young boys team will be rebuilding this season. Senior P.J. Pfister will pole vault, and senior Dallas Greene will compete in the 55, 300, hurdles and relays. Others contributing will be junior Joe Blasi (mile, 2 miles, relays), junior Jeremy Miller (500, 800), senior Julius Gero (55, 300, relays) and senior Charles Austin (55, 300, relays).

Junior Meg Tilley (mile, 2 miles, relays) will lead Peter Di Marco's girls team. Tilley earned all-county indoor honors last season. Junior Cori McGrail and sophomore Lauren Palmer will throw the shot put, and senior Erika Dietsch will compete in the sprints.

Howard

Rick Gardner takes over the boys team. Sophomore Andy Rosebrough will run the mile, 2 miles and relays, and junior Gerald Smith the 55, 300 and relays. Others contributing will be junior Jose Monzon (55, 300, relays), junior Antuan Jones (55, 300, relays), senior Todd Goldfinger (mile, 2 miles) and junior Keenan Hall (high jump).

Tony Holland's girls team has five seniors and the rest sophomores and freshmen. Seniors Kristin Stickles (500, relays) and Amber Gissentaner (55, 300, relays) will be the captains. Sophomore Bridget Baker will run the mile, 2 miles and relays, and senior Tia Jeffrey the 300 and 500. Sophomore Stephanie Seiler will compete in the 55 and relays.

Long Reach

Leslie Thomas is looking for a strong "team effort" from her boys' squad this season. Leading the way will be junior Louis George (300, relays) and seniors Keith Loundermill (300, 500, relays), Myron Jones (55, relays) and Walter Bruton (55, relays).

Veteran outdoor coach Joe Thomas is directing an indoor team for the first time. "I'm treating it as a six-month season, not a three-month season, as far as our training goes," said Thomas.

He said the team is solid, but that "I don't know how much depth we have at this point." He added that his team's strengths are speed and jumping events.

Junior Teyarnte Carter will lead the Lightning. She earned the Iron Woman award at last season's county championship after winning the 55, 300, 500 and anchoring the second-place 800 relay team. Bolstering the Long Reach attack will be sophomore Rolanda Howard (55, 300, high jump, relays), junior Cynthia Nicholls (55, hurdles, high jump, relays), sophomore Anya Clarke (55, hurdles, relays), sophomore Kyra Van Echo (pole vault), senior Kerica Henlon (500, 800, relays) and senior Martine Moore (shot put).

Mount Hebron

Ken Smith takes over the boys team, and he's upbeat. "I think we'll do quite well," he said. "I think we'll surprise some people."

Sophomore Chris James and junior Tom Tittsworth will compete in the 300 and 500, and senior Clint Miller and junior Dave Maskeroni in the 800 and 1,600. All four will complete in relays.

Alana Walls is the new girls coach. She, too, has a good feeling about her squad.

"The girls look really good. They have a lot of natural ability," Walls said. "I can see some of them winning events in the county championship."

Junior Leigh Langmead will run in the 500 and 800 and also pole vault. Junior Kate Frande will compete in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Frande was second in the state in the Class 2A cross country championship, and earned all-county honors. Also contributing for the Vikings will be senior Shanti Powers (55, 300, hurdles, pole vault), sophomore Tara Lane (55, 300) and senior Sheri Hysan (800, 1,600, 3,200). Freshmen Heather Barnes and Lauren Reymann will both compete in the 55, 300 and 500.

"All the girls are working very hard," Walls said. "If they keep up with the positive attitude and stay motivated, there's no reason why they shouldn't win and get everything they want out of this season."

Oakland Mills

Sophomore Kyle Farmer (55, 300, 800, relays) will lead Sam Singleton's boys' team. At the Class 1A-2A state indoor meet last season, he finished second in the 55 dash and fourth in the 300. He was an All-Met selection in the outdoor season last year, winning four gold medals (100, 200, 400 and mile relay) as Oakland Mills won the Class 1A state title.

Junior Alex Bailey (1,600, 3,200, relays) was sixth in the 1,600 in last season's state indoor meet. Juniors Nick Fambro and Brandon Hammond will compete in the hurdles and relays, and senior Aharon McKoy in the shot put. Sophomores Gavin Holcomb and Nehemiah Spence will compete in the 55, 300 and relays.

Girls coach Bryan Winfield said competing in such a competitive county will serve the Scorpions well when it comes to the regional and state meets. "I think our county will get us prepared for any competition," Winfield said.

Leading the girls team will be junior Molly Sunderdick (high jump, 500, 800, relays), junior Danielle Stoddart (500, 800, relays), senior Sarah Condon (1,600, 3,200), sophomore Rachel Clinton (55, 300, hurdles), junior Nicole Petro (high jump, 1,600, 3,200), senior Lan Gardner (1,600, 3,200, relays) and sophomore Nicole Alpert (800, mile, relays). Gardner is recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and Winfield hopes to have her back by midseason.

River Hill

No boys team has a stronger distance group than the Hawks. Seniors Zach Heidepriem and Mike Prada lead the group, followed by juniors Steven Chu and Mike Styczynski and freshman Shane Stroup. Heidepriem was the boys cross county runner of the year, and Prada, Chu and Styczynski were all-county selections.

Sophomore Evan Prucha will compete in the hurdles as well as the high jump, and sophomore Jason Tyson will run the 55, 300, 500 and relays. Senior Tyler Young will compete in the pole vault and hurdles.

Sophomore Lee McDuff, the girls cross country Runner of the Year, will compete in the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and the 2-mile relay. Coach Norm Belden said McDuff will run in only two or three events at each meet.

McDuff was second last season in the state Class 2A-3A indoor 3,200 (11: 30.1), three seconds off the county record.

Belden called McDuff "a real asset, not just as a runner but for the rest of the team. They look up to her; her work ethic, her attitude."

Belden said that junior shot putter Courtney Savoy "wants to defend her title and is working toward that." Others contributing are freshman Krystal Jacobson (high jump, hurdles), senior Kelli Bloch (800, 1,600, 3,200, relays), senior Rasheida Washington (55, 300, 500, 800, relays) and sophomore Susan Wilson (300, 500, 800, mile, relays).

Wilde Lake

The Wildecats' boys team, coached by Charlie Shoemaker, has some outstanding talent. Seniors Nkem Ohia and Ben Coffman return after all-county performances last season. Ohia will run the 300, 500 and 800 and Coffman the 800, mile and 2 miles. Senior Andrew Sterling played basketball last season, but will run the 55, 300 and relays this winter. Seniors Todd Flemming (55, 300, relays), Matt Daddio (800, relays) and John Bash (relays) also will contribute. Junior Louis Echevaria will run in sprints, relays and also pole vault.

Shoemaker said he is focusing more on discipline this season, as far as the athletes making a commitment to the team.

Errik Henlon's girls squad also will be competitive. Senior Tolika Wilson will run relays, and junior Julie Bergin will high jump and run relays. Sophomore Rebecca Novinsky will go in the 300, 500, 800 and relays, and juniors Shayna Brause (pole vault, relays) and Ashley Etue (mile, relays) also will contribute.

Pub Date: 12/08/98

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