Even on cloudy days, the sun continues to shine on the Old Mill boys track and field program.
Despite dreary skies that threatened to produce a thunderstorm, the No. 2 Patriots used their skills to capture the Class 4A East region championship at North County High School in Ferndale yesterday.
Old Mill, the Anne Arundel County titlist, posted 142 points to collect its third regional crown in the past four years and 19th since 1981. That history of success continues to be major motivation for the Patriots.
"The fact that we have that tradition on our side, that makes us raise our level of competition," said senior Kevin Barnes. "I don't want to sound cocky, but we're expected to [win]."
Barnes played a pivotal role in Old Mill's victory as he won the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches) and the long jump (20-8) and teamed with senior Devin Bradley, junior Ethan Burney and sophomore Ryan Callahan to claim the 400 relay (43 seconds).
Callahan also took the 200 (22.3) and joined Bradley, Burney and junior Kyle Rauser in winning the 800 relay (1:31.3).
Including victories from senior Anthony Littlejohn in the 800 (1:57.2) and 1,600 (4:30.6) and their 1,600-relay squad of seniors Darnell Dixon, David Price and Matt Taby and sophomore Steve Holmes, the Patriots qualified at least one representative in all 18 events for next weekend's Class 4A state championships at Morgan State.
"To win is nice, but we want to get people through to the state level," said coach Janet Liimatta, whose team is looking to end a 13-year drought in the state meet.
Thomas Stone of Charles County finished second with 83 points. Arundel was third with 74, courtesy of victories from senior Bryan Jones in the 110 high hurdles (14.1) and the 300 intermediate hurdles (39-flat)
The Broadneck girls team's quest for its first regional crown continues. The No. 2 and Anne Arundel County-champion Bruins registered just 80 points yesterday -- 56 fewer than champion Thomas Stone.
Though not having junior Emily Nagle -- who is out for the rest of the season with severe shin splints -- damaged Broadneck's chances, its inability to cultivate points in the field events hurt even worse.
The Bruins did not place in the top three in any of the six field events, with the vast majority of their points coming in the running events -- a fact that was not lost on coach Dana Dobbs.
"That's my personal mission," he said. "We need to be represented in the field events and not only represented but also represented well. I'm tired of giving away points."
There were moments of glory, though, including senior Lauren Centrowitz's victories in the 800 (2:15.7) and 1,600 (5:04.5).
No. 10 Meade placed third with 68 points, thanks to wins from senior Brittany Griffin in the 100 high hurdles (15.5) and the long jump (16-4).
"My times went down, and I'm excited about that," said Griffin, who will run at Delaware State next year. "I'm more confident going into states."
Arundel, which finished fourth with 60 points, boasted titlists in senior Darlene Matthews in the triple jump (33-3) and sophomore Marissa McPhail in the 3,200 (12:00.3).