The old saying "Less is more" ought to be the theme for the Loch Raven girls indoor track team.
The No. 9 Raiders are getting used to accomplishing more with nine girls than most teams accomplish with three or four times that many.
At the Baltimore County championships two weeks ago, the Raiders finished second behind a huge Hereford team, but they only lost 89-72. Hereford picked up 18 points in the pole vault and the Raiders have no pole vaulters.
"We don't have depth or a lot of backups," Raiders coach Adam Hittner said. "We just go with what we have and hope that works out."
It's working out pretty well for the Raiders, who also finished second in all three postseason meets a year ago - the counties, the Class 2A Central region and the Class 2A states - with only eight girls.
At the county meet last month, they had no hurdlers and no high jumpers. They entered 10 of 13 events and didn't win any, but they finished third or better in nine events and picked up fourth- and sixth-place points in the other one.
Hittner, who coaches with Matt Death, praised his team, led by seniors Kathryn Franke, Jamie Fahey and Anneve Waithe, for its work ethic.
"We train during any kind of weather outside," Fahey said. "When it was snowing, we were outside running and if we have off from school, we're out there practicing [without the coaches]. Basically, we never have a day off. At practice, we just keep running. We don't have that many breaks in between one interval and another. We keep plugging away."
The Raiders, scheduled to run in yesterday's regional meet and Monday's state finals, don't mind having a small team.
"It would be nice to have a few more to get those few extra points," Fahey said, "but I like my team the way it is. I know when we go out there, everybody's giving 100 percent."
Freshmen get a grip
Centennial wrestler Nathan Kraisser is one of several area freshmen making a big impact this season.
Facing two-time state champion Scott Mantua of River Hill on Friday, Kraisser wrestled up a weight class to 112 and handed the senior his first loss of the season, 4-3.
The final outcome hinged on a reverse in the final 10 seconds. Once Kraisser (27-1) was up 4-3, it was a matter of hanging on - which he did until just before the final bell, when Mantua was able to score one point for an escape.
During the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships last weekend, three freshmen won titles and one was a runner-up. The title-winning freshmen were: Eric Friedman (103) of St. Paul's, Tyler Goodwin (112) of Mount St. Joseph and Will Switzer (125) of Archbishop Spalding. The runner-up was Pete Galli (112) of St. Paul's.
John Carroll as dark horse
While the No. 2 St. Frances and No. 3 Calvert Hall basketball teams have clearly separated themselves from the MIAA A Conference pack, earning the top two spots in the league playoffs and a first-round bye, the team that might be best equipped to crash the championship game is No. 9 John Carroll.
The Patriots (22-8) have won eight straight games going into tonight's regular-season finale against Calvert Hall and are clinging to the third seed, which would give them the home court in Friday's opening round. Towson Catholic, Loyola and Mount St. Joseph also are in the postseason.
John Carroll has the inside-outside game to challenge the front-runners, and its quick guards can wreak havoc on defense. Senior forwards Isaiah Philmore and Wyatt Smith will have to be able to score down low and rebound, while guards Nick Faust, Raphael Jordan and Malcolm McMillan must play smart for the Patriots to make the strong playoff push.
Tonight's home game against Calvert Hall, with a chance at locking up the third seed, will indicate how formidable the Patriots might be.
A mix-up in the scoring inadvertently listed the incorrect winner of the shot put at the Baltimore City indoor track meet Jan. 26. Carver junior Bernard Brandford won the event.
Baltimore City officials confirmed that Brandford won with a throw of 40 feet, 9 1/2 inches. He originally was not listed among the six competitors who scored points for their teams.
It didn't affect the outcome of the meet, which Poly's boys won easily.