Oakland Mills sophomore Kyle Farmer missed two days of school last week with the flu. At yesterday's Class 1A-2A state meet, he got off to a poor start in the 55 and slipped around a turn in the 300.
Apparently, adversity agrees with him.
Farmer won both events, including the latter in a Class 1A state record time of 36.6 seconds, to lead the Scorpions to their first indoor track state championship since 1994 at the 5th Regiment Armory.
Despite his two solo efforts, however, Farmer saved his best for the final race of the evening, the 4 x 400 relay. Oakland Mills entered the event trailing by eight points and basically needing a win to claim the title.
Farmer, who ran the anchor leg, received the baton 15 yards behind before making his move with about 125 yards left, going on to win by 1.2 seconds.
It was enough to give Oakland Mills a 62-61 team victory over Middletown, and was just part of a banner day for Howard County teams, as Glenelg won the girls meet, beating out Fairmont Heights and Middletown for its first championship since 1993.
Farmer entered the meet with low expectations. By his second race, he had exceeded them all.
"I was just trying to come in and get some points and help our team win a state championship," said Farmer, who slipped coming out of the first turn in his record-setting 300. "I was able to get my balance back and pass the guy [in front of me]."
He then narrowly missed a state mark in the 55, winning in 6.5 after getting off to what he called a "bad start."
For Farmer, it was the second team state championship this school year after winning one with the Oakland Mills soccer team last fall.
Other top performers for Oakland Mills included Nicholas Fambro (fourth in high hurdles), Jeffrey Johnson (third in 55), Sergio Miranda (sixth in high jump), Aharon McCoy (fourth in shot put), Alex Bailey (sixth in 800) and the 4 x 200 (first) and 4 x 800 relay teams (third).
The Glenelg girls, who got points from all 12 athletes who qualified in regionals, had a more unlikely hero, as senior Blair Heinke won the 3,200 for her first ever win on varsity.
"My coach told me, when I had about 500 meters to go, that I had to catch the girl in front of me for our team to win," said Heinke, who also took fifth in the 1,600. "I really kicked it in for the last 400."
Heinke said the emotion of her teammates on the sidelines helped give her the extra drive at the end, as she passed Middletown's Kathy Harrigan with about 200 meters to go and won by 2.5 seconds.
"Sometimes you just let it go," said the senior, "but I wasn't going to let it go because everyone was so into it."
Said Glenelg coach Mike Selmer: 'I considered that the turning point [of the meet]."
Also helping the Gladiators were Lori Tvarkunas (fourth in high hurdles), Melissa Wilder (third in the 300), Kristin Smith (sixth in 300 and 500), Sabrina Putro (sixth in shot put) and the 4 x 200 (first) 4 x 400 (first) and 4 x 800 relay teams (second).
After losing the Howard County title to Long Reach recently, the win seemed especially sweet for the Gladiators, who had finished second, fourth and ninth the previous three years.
"All the girls did a tremendous job," said Selmer.
Other local winners included Atholton's Tony Peace (boys pole vault) and Michelle Nelson (girls 55), Hereford's Lindsay Clarke (girls 55 hurdles), Oakland Mills' Danielle Stoddart (girls 800) and 4 x 800 girls relay team, and Centennial freshman Lindsay Martin (girls high jump).
Pub Date: 2/24/99