About 300 boys and girls, representing 16 high schools from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County, vied at the 5th Regiment Armory last night in the Class 4A/3A Central Regionals for berths in the state championships in a couple of weeks.
As hard and as well as they competed, they ended up serving as a chorus line for a half-dozen of their teammates who put on spectacular performances.
Take Victor Thillet, a wisp of a lad from Old Mill, for instance.
The junior distance man, who has been running track for just two years, won the mile in 4: 38, the two-mile in 10: 14.5 and the 800 meters in 2: 05.4.
He was barely winded afterward. "I like to run with someone," he said, "but I can run against the clock, too. No matter what the race is, I like to run a 28- or 29-second last lap [200 meters]."
Few runners in the area can compete against that kind of kick.
Thillet's 30 points went a long way toward cinching the team title for Old Mill, which scored 104 points to 75.5 for runner-up Arundel and 60 for third-place Mervo.
Next, review Katie Sloan's evening. The senior from Glen Burnie did the mile/two-mile double, running 5: 31.7 and 11: 58.3, and helped out on the 4X800 relay, which got the meet off to a rip-roaring start.
Sloan did lose a race this indoor season, but it doesn't figure to hurt in her quest for a scholarship to a Division I school. Currently, a half-dozen schools are waiting for her to sign a letter of intent and her 3.7 GPA makes her look that much more the prize.
The efforts of Sloan, however, could not sidetrack Western from its appointed rounds of winning every team title it can lay its hands on. And after a while, winning comes easy with a Tia Burley in the ranks.
The senior won the 300 in 43.1, the 500 in 1: 23.3, the 800 in 2: 31.2 and did more than her share in the 3200-meter relay won by the Doves in 10: 36.8.
Western scored 115 points in front of a race for runner-up honors, Arundel (84) prevailing over Old Mill (79) and Glen Burnie (72).
Helping Burley and Western with second-place finishes were Toni Jefferson (300 and 55), Melinda McLaughlin (1,600) and Layla Acirfa (500).
Held to two individual medals, because that's all he ran, was Odell Taylor of Mervo, who buzzed the 300 in 37 seconds flat and the 500 in 1: 09.0.
Perhaps his best running of the evening came in the 4X400 relay which ended the program. Trailing by some eight yards when he got the baton for the anchor leg, Taylor instantly closed on his man, and waited. With about 150 yards to go, he took off and prevailed by about six yards.
Another outstanding performer was Jackie Allen of Old Mill, who captured the pole vault (8 feet) and the 55 dash (7.5), a strange combination indeed.
The first six finishers in the individual events and the first six teams in the relays qualify for the state title meet, also scheduled for the Armory Feb. 22-23-24.
Pub Date: 2/09/99