Aberdeen track and field coaches Lee Surkin and John Mobley want their team to compete in invitational meets to give them some tests before the postseason.
That's why Aberdeen went to the Freddie Hendricks Invitational at Mervo in Baltimore recently. The coaches were pleased that the girls finished third and the boys took fourth in the team competition.
"We take them to invitationals to get them competition," Surkin said. "What they learn from the competition is they can do the runs and do the throws and hang with the best."
The meet had tough teams from Maryland and Delaware. Poly won the boys competition with 87 points, while Glasgow (Del.) took second with 73 and Western Tech was third with 68. Aberdeen took fourth with 51.
The Eagles' Nigel Herouard won the triple jump with a personal best of 42 feet, 1 inch. He also ran on the 1,600-meter relay team that finished fifth. Wesley Jacobs gave Aberdeen a solid third-place effort in both the 800 and 600.
Derrick Bryant helped out with a second-place finish in the 400 hurdles, while Antoine Barfield took second in the discus with a personal best of 129-2 and fourth in the shot put. The Eagles also got a fourth-place finish in the 800 relay.
The girls took third with 54 points behind victorious Western (86) and Meade (60). Aberdeen's sprinters played a huge role, as the Eagles scored 22 of their points in the four relays.
The Eagles won the 800 relay, finished third in the 400, fourth in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200, racking up the majority of the points that kept them in the hunt for the top spot.
Stephanie Johnson finished fourth in the 100 and anchored two of the relays. Amanda Deller took second in the shot put and third in the discus, a week after setting a meet record with a personal best of 40-4 in the shot at the Pikesville Invitational.
"[Tough meets] build their confidence," Surkin said. "It builds their self-esteem to realize that when they're really pushed, they can do it. They begin to realize how good they really are, and it kind of brings to light the things coaches are saying about paying attention to details and how good they really are -- and that they don't know it yet."
Surkin and Mobley were hoping the Eagles would also do well at the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference divisional meet on Thursday, gaining confidence that would carry over to the regional and state meets next month.
Aberdeen is in a tough region and also will go against a number of talented teams in the Class 3A state meet.
"We call this the dress rehearsal," Surkin said. "We do everything to build their confidence up before the [bigger meets]."
Temporary fields -- County supervisor of athletics Ken Zorbach was happy at how much help Harford Community College has given local high schools with fields for games and practice. "If we didn't have them, I don't know what we'd be doing right now," Zorbach said. Edgewood will play some boys and girls lacrosse games at HCC on Thursday and April 30 because of the major construction going on at their school. They're building a new school on the site of where the athletic fields have been -- a project that won't be completed until 2010. Edgewood has some other of its teams playing in different locations like Magnolia Middle School. The Rams, at times, have to play "home" games at their opponents' site. Harford Tech has scheduled boys and girls lacrosse games at HCC, as well as softball and baseball at times due to the construction of athletic fields and a new track at that school, a project that should be completed by next spring.
John Carroll boys lacrosse -- The Patriots were scheduled to get started again late last week after a two-week break. The Patriots have outscored opponents 67-18 en route to a 5-0 start. They'll face long-time rival Park on Tuesday, as the schedule gets tougher.