In a couple ways, the annual Pangaea International Track and Field Meet last night took on the look of a family affair.
That, despite the presence of hundreds of athletes from 42 high schools all over the state and more than a dozen from Kazan, Russia.
First, there was Glenelg's Lori Tvarkunas, who captured the girls' pole vault at 9 feet, 3 inches in a jump-off with Leonardtown's Marsh Day. Vaulting runs in her family, it seems.
Then, watching Joel Brown skim over the hurdles, which he did impressively while winning the 55-meter highs in 7.5 seconds, and you had to think of his school, Woodlawn -- and its track family.
Vaulting apparently comes naturally in the Tvarkunas household, with brother Pat, a junior at the University of South Carolina, also being a state champion and record holder in the event.
"I won the [outdoor] states last year with a height of 9-3," said Lori, "so I'm happy to equal that indoors this early."
A story goes with that win outdoors. After finishing second in the Howard County championships last spring, someone walked off with Lori's pole.
"I was a wreck," she said. "I wanted that pole back. It's my personal pole, and I rely on it, maybe more than I knew until someone took off with it."
A happy ending ensued when the pole was found and Lori matched her brother as a state champ.
"I didn't use that pole [last night]," she said, "but I felt secure, because it's over there in my bag. I don't know what I would have done otherwise."
As to Brown, the good ones out of Woodlawn show the same form, going back to Brown's coach, Mike Sye. He returned to the school to coach after he had been coached by Woodlawn's legendary hurdles mentor, now retired Dick Estes.
"I guess my time's OK," Brown said after winning last night, "but I can't say I'm happy with it. I've been working on my strength, and just now, I'm getting back to working over the hurdles."
Besides, a guy who runs 52 seconds over the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and is ranked No. 3 in that event nationally wasn't going to gush over a 7.5.
But Brown, said Sye, is carrying a workload that could be considered too heavy for two people.
"I'm busy, yes, but I'm not looking to load myself up," he said. "I just love all the activity. My academics are in pretty good order. I'm taking some honors courses, I'm treasurer of the class, and, whenever anybody asks me to join a club, I usually do, figuring I can help out."
Besides running in sectional and national meets last summer, Brown attended Outward Bound classes at Gilman and waited for college recruiters to get in touch. He was not disappointed.
"My goal is to run 50.9 in the 400-meter hurdles," Brown said.
Mervo's Odell Taylor repeated as 500-meter champion, bettering his time by a bunch, 1: 07.8 to last year's 1: 10.5.
Other strong performances in a meet still going strong at 11 p.m. included a 6.3-second 55-meter dash by Dwayne Vaughan, of Prince George's County's DuVal, equaling the meet record.
The squad from Montgomery County's Walter Johnson won the 3,200-meter relay by nearly 20 seconds in 10: 22.3.
Perry Hall's Randy Belt pole vaulted 12 feet and was awarded first place among the boys on fewer misses.
Another Walter Johnson performer, David Glynn, took the 1,500-meters in 4: 19.7, and North Hagerstown's Meagan Verdeyen won the girls shot put by more than 3 feet with a heave of 39-6 1/4 .
Patuxent-Calvert County's Terrence Brown had things his way in the high jump with a 6-3 leap easily beating the opposition.
Pub Date: 12/11/98